One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"The Agonies of Art"

To Louise Colet


     I am hideously worried, mortally depressed. My accursed Bovary is torturing me and driving me mad. Last Sunday Bouilhet raised some objections to one of my characters and to the plan. I can do nothing about it: though there is some truth in what he says, I feel the opposite is true also. Ah, I am very tired and very discouraged! You call me Master. What a wretched Master!
     No -- perhaps the whole thing hasn't had enough spadework, for distinctions between thought and style are a sophism. Everything depends on the conception. So much the worse! I am going to push on, and as fast as I can, in order to have a complete picture. There are moments when all this makes me want to croak. Ah! I'll be well acquainted with them, the agonies of Art!


*Footnote on the phrase "the agonies of Art" (by the translator, Francis Steegmuller):
1. Such, at least, would seem to be the least inadequate translation of Flaubert's famous phrase "les affres de l'Art." 

 **When asked (I asked), Google translates the whole phrase as "the throes of Art." Just putting in les affres gives "the horrors."

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