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, March 29, 2015

Cioran: A Final Word from "Drawn and Quartered"

Will read his Short History of Decay next. Have already started. Earlier Cioran. Let's compare.


A final word (the final words) from Drawn and Quartered:

Novalis says; (sic) "It depends on us to make the world accord with our will." This is precisely the contrary of everything we can think and feel at the end of a life, and, with all the more reason, at the end of history . . .

"An Iron Bird Sailing Past Death"

These were the only words that were in my Stats' "Search Word(s)" this morning: You might know who that led them to (more exactly, the quote is: "a big iron bird..."). Anyway, a nice phrase, seemingly apropos, though I'm not sure it's in sync with Cioran.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cioran: His Aphoristic Self

     Perhaps we should publish only our first drafts, before we ourselves know what we are trying to say.
     Only unfinished -- because unfinishable -- works prompt us to speculate about the essence of art.
     What cannot be translated into mystical language does not deserve to be experienced.
     L. wants to know if I have a suicide line, but I hide my hands, and rather than show them to him, I shall always wear gloves in his presence.
     A book should open old wounds, even inflict new ones. A book should be a danger

Cioran: Is Consciousness a Curse?

Speaking of plants and animals...

Jealous of their unconsciousness, basis of their salvation, we would be as they are, and furious at being unable to become so, we meditate their ruin, we strive to interest them in our misfortunes in order to revenge ourselves upon them. It is the animals we resent most of all: what would we not give to strip them of their silence, to convert them to language, to inflict upon them the abjection of speech! The charm of a life without reflexion, of existence as such being forbidden to us, we cannot bear that others should delight in it.

Cioran: The Self-Made Apocalypse

It may be at hand, the day when, no longer able to endure that mass of fear we have accumulated, we shall collapse beneath the burden with which it overwhelms us. This time the fire from heaven will be our fire, and to escape it we shall rush to the depths of the earth, far from a world we ourselves have spoiled and disfigured. And we shall sojourn beneath the dead and envy their repose and their beatitude, those carefree skulls forever on vacation, those calmed and modest skeletons, freed at last from the impertinences of the blood and the claims of the flesh.

I Can't Resist the Urge: Marking the Day

Head cold. Slept past 6 but still tramped around the lagoon. Dragged. Squinted. Soaked in the cool morning air. Found these next to the john next to Marine Stadium.


Who will make the last mark(s) and how will we ever know?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

From Cioran's "Drawn and Quartered"

A reading period in which I'm jumping from book to book. Lots of starts, few finishes. Just the way it is: work and restless sleep. Sometimes the way we come to a writer is as interesting as the writer him/herself. Or at least both are interesting. So it is with Cioran. Found him in a circuitous way. Settled first on Drawn and Quartered.


Despite everything, man pulverized his last prejudice, and his last belief; when he finally  brings himself to do so, dazzled and destroyed by his own audacity, he will find himself naked facing the abyss that follows upon the disappearance of all dogmas, and of all taboos.

E. M. Cioran (1911 - 1995)

Emil Michel Cioran (Romanian pronunciation: [eˈmil t͡ʃoˈran]; 8 April 1911 – 20 June 1995) was a Romanian philosopher and essayist, who published works in both Romanian and French. Cioran was born in Rășinari, Sibiu County, which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. His first French book, A Short History of Decay, was awarded the prestigious Rivarol Prize in 1950. It was the only book for which he accepted an award given to him, claiming that it would have been insolent of him to refuse it. The Latin Quarter of Paris was his permanent residence and he lived much of his life in isolation with his partner Simone Boué.

[From Wikipedia:]

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Augenrund 3.14.15

It only seemed fitting. Happy Pi Day: 3.14.15.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

More from Vigoleis...

Slow-going but only because it's long and I'm too busy at work. I read in snatches: coffee houses, restrooms, between classes, before bed.


Another excerpt:

The scene had something of the atmosphere of a burial service, complete with weeping in the congregation. Julietta wept for joy over the symbolic promotion of her papa.  Pilar wept for reasons we shall leave unexamined here. Beatrice and Zwingli behaved like Protestants at a Catholic mass: they were decorous but uninvolved in the liturgy. And I? My eyes, too, remained dry, but I felt my chest starting to expand and was suddenly seized by the impulse to deliver a short speech, something I hadn't dared to do since I committed an oratorical faux pas at my parents' silver wedding anniversary dinner. Here I could make the attempt without causing misunderstandings about my actual intent, unlike on that earlier occasion when, as a growing young man making his first Faustian pilgrimage through Western intellectual history, I had recently arrived at Spengler's morphological theory of the destiny of civilizations. Here in the little bedchamber I was understood well enough, in spite of my stammering and slips of the tongue, precisely because my tiny Spanish vocabulary was unequal to the task.

City Lights

Kind of a cruise for landlubbers: The Queen Mary. No need to exercise my sea legs. We dined at the Chelsea Chowder House (nice but pricey) and watched the city lights turn on. Took the self-guided tour of the boat ex post facto.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

From "The Island of Second Sight"

Found Thelen's Quixotic book via Celan. An excerpt:

     In the summer of the year 1601, Archduke Albrecht of Austria, the Spanish viceroy in the Netherlands, took up the siege of the city of Ostende. Isabella, who as daughter of Philip II of Spain had presented the Netherlands to her consort Albrecht as a dowry, vowed never to changer her chemise until the city had surrendered to the Spanish army. Albrecht's incentive to bring the siege to a rapid and victorious end was therefore very great, but the princess had underestimated the power of the Ostenders to hold out. The siege ended on the 20th of September, 1604 A.D., with a Spanish victory. Princess Isabella had thus worn her blouse for more than three years, offering proof of her patriotism and moral rectitude. There were solemn fanfares as she publicly dipped her blouse in a washtub. It turned the suds an inky color that today bears her name: a brownish-whitish-yellow tint like café-au-lait, known as "Isabella."
     Surely no one will doubt the truth of this traditional account, insofar as the precise coloration is concerned. I myself regard the background circumstances also as authentic. Who might ever have profited f rom inventing such a story? Or perhaps "legend corrects history," as Pascoaes says. I can only agree with him.
     Historical authenticity on the one hand, with its dry and rarefied scholarly mission, or on the other hand, legend as leaven for poetic truth: both impulses have combined most effectively here to help describe -- but my reader will have guessed what I was getting at -- Zwingli's shirt. It was "Isabella" shade from top to bottom, save for blackish areas on collar and underarms. Had Zwingli, too, taken a vow? Had he pledge himself to someone in eternal grubbiness? Was he besieging something or someone, or was he perhaps himself under a state of siege? The subsequent course of events will provide historical answers to all these questions. 

Albert Vigoleis Thelen (1903 - 1989)

Albert Vigoleis Thelen (28 September 1903 in Süchteln, Lower Rhine region, Germany - 9 April 1989 in Dülken, Germany) was a German author and translator (from Portuguese).


Thelen's main work, The Island of Second Sight, which has been praised by many as one of the great achievements in German literature of the 20th century, appeared in 1953. It was soon translated into Spanish and French, later also into Dutch. Not until 2010 when it was published by Galileo Publishing in Cambridge, through the efforts of Isabelle Weiss, was it made available to English readers.[2] The award winning translation by Donald O. White won the 2013 PEN Translation Prize.

[From Wikipedia:]