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Current research interests: realism in literature - experimental literature - irrationalism
Currently reading: Notes from Underground (1864) - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
2006, July 14; 19:05 ::: La Mer (1946) - Charles Trenet
La Mer (1946) - Charles Trenet [MP3]
"La mer" (Eng: the sea) is perhaps Charles Trenet's best known work outside the French-speaking world, with over 400 recorded versions. For example, it was translated into English as "Beyond the Sea" (sometimes known as "Sailing") which was a hit for Bobby Darin in the early 1960s and later George Benson in the mid-1980s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Mer_%28song%29 [Jul 2006]
See also: 1946 - French music
2006, July 14; 19:05 ::: Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1987) - George Lakoff
In search of reading material.
Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1987) - George Lakoff [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Connected to: Prototype Theory - Image schema - Dyirbal language - Construction grammar - Grammatical gender - List of animals (Borges) - Psycholinguistics - Metaphor - Framing (communication theory) - Cognitive rhetoric - Conceptual blending - Laws of Form --via here.
See also: categories - George Lakoff
2006, July 14; 19:05 ::: Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (1979) - Susan Griffin
In search of embodied philosophy.
Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (1979) - Susan Griffin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Susan Griffin (b. 1943) is the eco-feminist author of The Book of the Courtesans: A Catalogue of Their Virtues (2001); Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her; Pornography and Silence; and A Chorus of Stones; Unremembered Country (1987); The Eros of Everyday Life (1995); What Her Body Thought: A Journey into the Shadows (1999); Bending Home: Selected New Poems, 1967-1998 (1998). She received a MacArthur grant for Peace and International Cooperation, an NEA Fellowship, and an Emmy Award for the play Voices. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Griffin [Jul 2006]
Tip of the hat to Robin Turner.
See also: embodied philosophy - feminism - women - nature
2006, July 14; 19:05 ::: Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words : English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese (1997) - Anna Wierzbicka
Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words : English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese (1997) - Anna Wierzbicka [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
This book develops the dual themes that languages can differ widely in their vocabularies, and are also sensitive indices to the cultures to which they belong. Wierzbicka seeks to demonstrate that every language has "key concepts," expressed in "key words," which reflect the core values of a given culture. She shows that cultures can be revealingly studied, compared, and explained to outsiders through their key concepts, and that the analytical framework necessary for this purpose is provided by the "natural semantic metalanguage," based on lexical universals, that the author and colleagues have developed on the basis of wide-ranging cross-linguistic investigations. Appealing to anthropologists, psychologists, and philosophers as well as linguists, this book demonstrates that cultural patterns can be studied in a verifiable, rigorous, and non-speculative way, on the basis of empirical evidence and in a coherent theoretical framework.
Anna Wierzbicka (b. 1938) was born in Poland and is a linguist at the Australian National University. She is primarily known for her work in semantics, pragmatics, and cross-cultural linguistics and especially for the Natural Semantic Metalanguage. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Wierzbicka [Jul 2006]
Tip of the hat to Robin Turner.
See also: keyword - linguistics - semantics
2006, July 14; 19:05 ::: Girish on the long take
In search of realism in film.
In one of the more interesting film blogs, Girish Shambu has a piece on long takes, which has been of interest to me since seeing Russian Ark. From the intro:
"Some of my favorite filmmakers both past and present — Renoir, Hou — use long takes, so I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time reflecting on this valuable stylistic device."
Girish then moves on to introducing positions of established film theorists, emphasizing the long take's relation to realism in cinema:"The first great champion of the long take was André Bazin. To him, film was the “art of reality.” He once wrote: “All the arts depend on the presence of man; only photography lets us delight in his absence.” What he meant was that by not interposing oneself between the camera and the subject, the filmmaker had the potential to truly capture reality. As V.F. Perkins put it: “[A] sonnet or a sonata created a world which might reflect the subjective vision of its maker; film recorded the world which existed objectively.”
For Bazin, silent movies contained two streams. The first—best exemplified by the Russian school, most prominently Eisenstein—employed the power of cutting, resulting in images that didn’t speak for themselves through the reality they captured and showed, but instead were made to speak what the filmmaker wanted them to say. The second stream consisted primarily of Stroheim, Murnau, Flaherty and Dreyer: “here the image counts in the first place not for what it adds to reality, but for what it reveals of reality.”
Bazin believed that the long take was ideally suited to capture the rhythms and complexities of reality, while preserving its unity in space and time. Chopping up an action or event with cuts was to disrupt this unity and undermine cinema’s ability to be faithful to reality. Thus, it was important to him that Flaherty showed the length of time that Nanook waited to capture the seal. Using cuts to compress this event would not give an authentic sense of the activity of the seal hunt."
All this makes me wonder if there are any parallels between realism in literature and realism in film. [Jul 2006]
See also: shot (film) - film theory - realism - film technique
2006, July 13; 19:05 ::: Mudam
In search of musea.
Mudam is the short name of the Musée d'art moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Modern art museum Grand-Duc Jean) in the city of Luxembourg in Luxembourg.
This museum was inaugurated the 1st of July, 2006, in assistance of Grand Duke Jean, to whom the building is dedicated, and opened to the public the day after. The building was designed by Ieoh Ming Pei and the museum is directed by Marie-Claude Beaud.
The Collections of the museum includes works by many artists and designers such as Alvar Aalto, Marina Abramovic, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Pierre Bismuth, Sophie Calle, Hussein Chalayan, Claude Closky, James Coleman, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Mark Dean, Stan Douglas, Jan Fabre, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Roland Fischer, Günther Förg, Gilbert & George, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Hirschhorn, Fabrice Hybert, William Kentridge, Mark Lewis, Richard Long, Michel Majerus, Christian Marclay, Martin Margiela, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Albert Oehlen, Blinky Palermo, Philippe Parreno, Grayson Perry, Fiona Rae, Pipilotti Rist, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Scheibitz, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudam [Jul 2006]
See also: contemporary art - modern art - museum
2006, July 13; 19:05 ::: More Encores: Christian Marclay Plays With the Records Of... (1989) - Christian Marclay
More Encores: Christian Marclay Plays With the Records Of... (1989) - Christian Marclay [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Originally released in 1989 on 10" vinyl on No Man's Land records, available as CD since 1997 on Chris Cutler's Recommended Records label.
In praise of the Maria Callas track.
Tip of the hat to Klara.
See also: 1989 - Christian Marclay
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: David Denby interviewed by Ron Hogan
On Great Books:
"For a working journalist," says New York film critic David Denby, "the function of criticism is to see what life there is in any given work, to describe it, evoke it, sometimes evaluate it and grade it." In Great Books, Denby applies this principle to some of the most highly regarded books in Western culture, as taught in Columbia College's renowned Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization courses. He discusses with Beatrice the thrills and the hardships of revisiting classic literature after more than thirty years, and the complicated role that the canon fulfills in our society.
RH: What gave you the idea of going back and taking these courses again?
DD: One reason was that my wife and I were reading the various arguments in the culture wars in the late '80s, early '90s and finding them very unsatisfactory. From the generally academic left, one heard that Western classics empowered white males and disempowered everybody else, because they did not represent African-Americans and women and other groups, being written mostly by Dead White European Males (which I think is a ridiculous phrase for anyone to use). From the right, people like William Bennett and Lynn Cheney, one was hearing the normal platitudes about the value of the humanities in anyone's life, but also a rather patriotic conception of the canon, as if it could be used to repel communism or relativism or anything else we allegedly disapprove of, like the classics were some part of the national defense. --http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/denby/ [Jul 2006]
On contemporary cinema:DD: I don't like the division of culture into high and low. I think movies are capable of great artistic triumph, though it's happening less and less. It's not that there aren't any great movies. There are, like Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies, but the respect for art films and foreign films and documentaries in our culture has collapsed. It was expected at one time that a movie did more than simply pass two hours, that they could have real artistic power and even change your life. Anybody who states those ideas now comes across as naive. Film's become an entirely commercial operation...there's still some serious film criticism, but you need a film culture to write about, and if you're disgusted by commercial American cinema, where do you go? There are independent films, but there's no New Wave or movement to get behind. I wish there were, or that many independent films were not as timid and conformist as they are, but they want to find a niche in the marketplace, too, and you can't blame them for that, really. --http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/denby/ [Jul 2006]
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Denby_%28film_critic%29 [Jul 2006]
See also: culture war - film criticism - Western canon
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: No Exit (1944) - Jean-Paul Sartre
No Exit (1944) - Jean-Paul Sartre [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The play from whence came the phrase: "L'enfer c'est les autres," or "hell is other people". I want to add to his phrase that hell is not so much other people, but in particular needing other people.No Exit is an existentialist play by Jean-Paul Sartre, originally published in French in 1944 as Huis clos. English translations have also been performed under the titles In Camera, No Way Out, and Dead End. The play features only four characters (one of whom, the Valet, appears for only a very limited time), and one set. No Exit is the source of the famous Sartrean maxim, "Hell is other people". It has been adapted in cinema many times, notably in 1954 by Jacqueline Audry. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Exit [Jul 2006]
See also: Hell is other people
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: Noir fiction and high modernism
René Dietrich connects noir and modernism at Crimeculture.com and invokes Lee Horsley:The noir genre, both in its cinematic and in its literary form, has often been discussed in connection with modernism. Horsley examines noir as a popular modernism sharing the thematic concerns, such as anxiety and alienation, with high modernism, but lacking the latter’s display of “formal complexity and […] aesthetic self-consciousness” (Horsley 3). Similarly, James Naremore, in More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts, understands noir as a marriage between “Modernism and Blood Melodrama” (40). And in his analysis of pre- and post-war crime fiction from 1995, Pulp Culture, Woody Haut argues that the context of mass production and popular culture associated with literary and cinematic noir, “indicates a class-based separation” from high modernism including both the writers and the audience” (3). Situated between high modernism and popular culture, noir claims a specific position for itself. Lee Horsley maintains that in opposition to other manifestations of popular culture, noir lacks their affirmative view and “optimistic thrust” and instead pessimistically expresses the discontents and ambivalences of modernity (Horsley 3). The typical noir protagonist finds himself vulnerable and unstable in a society based on nothing but false appearances and in a universe governed by random brutality. An example of this precarious condition of modern existence is described in Dashiell Hammett’s famous Flitcraft-story (The Maltese Falcon, Ch. 7, 442-45) the “best-known parable of ordinary life disrupted” in noir fiction (Horsley 16). --http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/Articles-Summer05/ReneDietrich.html [Jul 2006]
See also: Lee Horsley - noir - high modernism
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: The Holy Sinner (1951) - Thomas Mann
The Holy Sinner (1951) - Thomas Mann [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
And since I've never read any Thomas Mann (see previous post), and although I know him from the Faust story, I'd like to start with this shorter book. Mainly because it's shorter and because I think it will please me thematically.Paul Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate, lauded principally for a series of highly symbolic and often ironic epic novels and mid-length stories, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and intellectual. He is noted for his analysis and critique of the European and German soul in the beginning of the 20th century, using modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas Mann
See also: German literature
"Franz Kafka or Thomas Mann?" asks Georg Lukács And he is supposed to have answered according to Hans Kellner: "Are these both bourgeois writers, escaping reality through the formal (Kafka) or thematic (Mann) devices of modernism? Yes and no, says Lukács. Mann is different, and better, for political reasons". --Hans Kellner via http://www.uta.edu/english/rcct/5360hanscrit.html
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: Franz Kafka or Thomas Mann? (1947) - Georg Lukács
This is confirmed by Esther Leslie who notes: "Lukács plumps for the panoramic and clear-headed bourgeois realist Mann over Kafka's chronicling of alienation, confusion and modern bureaucracy-inspired horror." --http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2816 [Jul 2006]
Along the same lines Aaron Greenberg says: "Marxist critic and member of the Frankfurt School for Social Research, Georg Lukacs recognized something similar in his groundbreaking 1947, essay Franz Kafka or Thomas Mann? "Traditional bourgeois culture proceeded on the assumption that ideas were not relevant to social or political problems." The disconnect remains and allows those who procure Big Ideas (novelists) to ignore politics without consequence."" --http://www.lefthook.org/Culture/Greenberg041605.html [Jul 2006]
See also: Franz Kafka - 1947 - Georg Lukács
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: A fatherless, bookish girl
In 1948, at the age of fifteen, Sontag, browsing at a newsstand just off Hollywood Boulevard, bought her first copy of Partisan Review. A fatherless, bookish girl, stranded amid the driver’s-ed and typing classes of North Hollywood High, she was happy only in the company of a few like-minded students or at home, listening to music or reading Thomas Mann and German philosophy—“sipping at a hundred straws,” she later wrote. Partisan Review, which was then at its peak, was more or less the house organ for the New York intellectuals, celebrants of high modernism, which, as they understood it, was marked by something unprecedented: an obsession with the physical means of making art (tone rows, dance movement, densely packed clusters of imagery), and by a formalism so radical that it carried art to the border of metaphysics. As a teen-ager, Sontag absorbed the doctrines and the canons. But by the time she came to write for Partisan, in the early sixties, the New York group believed that, with some exceptions—Balanchine’s plotless ballets, the Abstract Expressionist painters—the great, long moment of high modernism was over. --David Denby via http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/050912crat_atlarge [Jul 2006]
See also: Susan Sontag
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: Camilo José Cela on hidden truths"Through the process of thought man begins to discover hidden truth in the world, he can aim to create his own different world in whatever terms he wishes through the medium of the fable. Thus truth, thought, freedom and fable are interlinked in a complicated and on occasion suspect relationship. It is like a dark passageway with several side-turnings going off in the wrong direction; a labyrinth with no way out. But the element of risk has always been the best justification for embarking on an adventure." (Camilo José Cela from Nobel Lecture, 1989)
Via the ever excellent Kirjasto site.
See also: secret history - hidden - truths
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: Taxonomies of film critics
Michael Smith of CultureSpace has an interesting piece on the film criticism of Susan Sontag in which he mentions an essay by Sontag on science fiction films The Imagination of Disaster.
Girish has a piece on Manny Farber's Termite Art vs. White Elephant Art and a piece on the taxonomies of film critics, which may have been inspired by this senses of cinema piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum on the work of Raymond Durgnat.
From the Rosenbaum piece:Many (if not all) critics tend to fall into two categories, which might be called the Big Game Hunters and the Explorers. The Big Game (read: masterpiece) Hunters are basically out for trophies to possess, stuff, and hang on their walls; the Explorers usually poke around simply to see what they find. The Hunters are a relatively Apollonian group – disciplined, academic and generally traditional in their aesthetic values: immediate examples that come to mind are Robin Wood, (2) James Agee, William Pechter, Stanley Kauffmann, Dwight Macdonald, John Simon, and historians like Georges Sadoul, Jean Mitry and Lewis Jacobs. The Explorers, a more Dionysian group, are relatively cranky, kinky and eclectic: Jean-Luc Godard, Manny Farber, Robert Warshow and Raymond Durgnat are four eminent examples. --http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/02/20/durgnat_rosenbaum.html [Jul 2006]
See also: film criticism - taxonomy
2006, July 12; 19:05 ::: Continental philosophy
There is a need to actively demand and create a separate space for work of a European origin not covered by most UK philosophy departments, though I think the problem is more serious still: the rise and rise of post-analytic philosophy of many kinds (influenced by Cavell, Mulhall, McDowell, Brandom, Wittgenstein etc.) seems to want to assimilate all 'our' philosophers and interests (Hegel, phenomenology, existentialism, aesthetic thinkers, etc., a certain kind of Kant, the novel, art) into a horrible melange of reactionary, institutionalised, anti-thought, wishy-washy rubbish. I preferred it when they just hated us.
We need to preserve and take a stand on the profound, potentially revolutionary, aspects of Continental Philosophy, and not allow ourselves to be swept up in the misapprehension that these people (those who 'graciously' deign to incorporate a little non-analytic philosophy into their work) are doing what we do. They are not.
Furthermore, we need to affirm the lineages of Continental thought that directly impinge on typically 'analytic' interests: the various scientific, rationalist, and mathematical strands of French and German thought (Cavaillès, Koyré, Bachelard, Canguilhem, Foucault, Badiou, Cassirer), as well as the scientifically-informed and philosophically radical (Deleuze and Guattari, Lyotard), not to mention those that muddy the analytic/continental divide until it is revealed as the sorry fiction it always was: The Marburg School and other neo/post-Kantians. We have more than enough material to demonstrate the lame, yet pernicious, influence of the institutional anti-thinkers...and if you think I'm exaggerating, you should take a look at the composition of philosophy departments these days - all the places where Continental Philosophy once had a hold have been taken over by these meretricious zombies. We shouldn't have to flee to other disciplines - but we definitely need much more organisation. --infinite thought via http://www.cinestatic.com/infinitethought/2005/03/new-continental-philosophy-blog.asp [Jul 2006]
Also by infinite thought, an interesting comparison of G.W.F. Hegel and Gerard Depardieu and comments on the humaneness of New York. [Jul 2006]
See also: continental philosophy
2006, July 10; 19:05 ::: Bachelard and Sloterdijk
Excerpts from Bettina Funcke in Bookforum in conversation with Peter Sloterdijk:The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk achieved much acclaim (and a wide readership) in the United States during the heyday of critical theory with the translation of his Critique of Cynical Reason (University of Minnesota Press, 1988), in which he introduced a multifaceted style of writing, freely engaging with philosophy, history, anthropology, fiction, poetry, literary theory, and colloquial language.
Due to the vicissitudes of critical-theory reception in the United States, Sloterdijk's work came to be viewed as an '80s period piece.
In Germany, however, Sloterdijk is one of the most prominent public intellectuals and has distinguished himself by pushing the boundaries of the traditional forum of the philosopher–and thus its very definition–by turning not only to the traditional academic stage but also to that of the mass media. This was a risky move, for in doing so he courted marginality from both sectors.
He reaches a wide audience through his talk show on German TV. In order to restore the relevance of leftist critical thought, Sloterdijk has specifically attacked contemporary issues–issues different from those facing earlier thinkers such as those of the Frankfurt School. Last year, the Spheres trilogy, Sloterdijk's most ambitious project to date (and about 2,500 pages long), was completed after seven years of writing. Still, despite the singular impact of the book in Europe, Sloterdijk remains under-recognized in the States: Spheres has yet to be translated into English.
Bettina Funcke: Until the publication of your trilogy, the image of the sphere was hardly present in contemporary theoretical discourse. I'm wondering how you came across this metaphor, which has gained such importance for your thinking in recent years. Which authors or texts do you refer to?
Peter Sloterdijk: A given culture never possesses a complete vocabulary for itself. The current language games only ever emphasize select topics and leave other phenomena unaddressed.
Until recently, there was a voluntary spatial blindness—because to the extent that temporal problems were seen as progressive and cool, the questions of space were thought to be old-fashioned and conservative, a matter for old men and shabby imperialists. Even the fascinating, novel chapters on space in Deleuze and Guattari's Thousand Plateaus couldn't change the situation, since they arrived too early for the chronophilic, or time-worshipping, zeitgeist of those days. The same goes for programmatic propositions in late Foucault—according to whom we again enter an age of space—which in their time were still unable to usher in a transition.
As I began [the Spheres trilogy] in 1990, while a fellow at Bard College, in New York, I had only a vague premonition of this topological turn within cultural theory. Only now, after the completion of the trilogy, do I see more clearly how my work is connected with that of numerous colleagues around the world, such as Homi Bhabha, Arjun Appadurai, and Edward S. Casey. Even Ilya Kabakov's installation art and the work of architects like Frei Otto, Grimshaw and Partners, or Rem Koolhaas, belong to the circle of theoretical relations.
Incidentally, I also owe something to Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space, although later I quite stubbornly departed from his promptings. --http://www.bookforum.com/archive/feb_05/funcke.html [Jul 2006]
See also: Peter Sloterdijk - Gaston Bachelard
2006, July 10; 19:05 ::: The Poetics of Space (1957) - Gaston Bachelard
The Bookworm (c. 1850) - Carl Spitzweg
Image sourced here.
I've stopped reading mid-book Paris Spleen and re-started in Gaston Bachelard's 1957 The Poetics of Space, which is by all accounts a marvelous book and - like so much French philosophy - reads as prose poetry. So here I am, in the middle of the chapter on shells, and I find a reference to Marie Bonaparte's study of Poe, in which she connects him with vagina dentata, which is the Freudian metaphor for castration anxiety. Here is the book and a little bio on Marie Bonaparte:
Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe: a Psychoanalytic Interpretation (1949) - Marie Bonaparte [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Princess Marie Bonaparte (July 2, 1882-September 21, 1962) was a French psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis, and enabled Freud's escape from Nazi Germany. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Bonaparte [Jul 2006]
Coming back to Bachelard, here are the chapters of The Poetics of Space :
- The House. From Cellar to Garret. The Significance of the Hut.
- House and Universe.
- Drawers, Chests and Wardrobes
- Intimate Immensity
- The Dialectics of Outside and Inside
- The Phenomenology of Roundness
And some comments by hermitary.com
Understanding the psychology of the hut as dwelling and daydream is the strength of Gaston Bachelard's book, although that is only one chapter. The whole book is a somewhat abstract exercise in the phenomenology of the dwelling. It suggests why we seek the hut as psychological necessity. At the same time, Bachelard provides a dizzying presentation of almost surreal perspectives on models of dwellings, or enclosures of space, as the contents show:Bachelard's premise is that the house is defined by the imagination. It is not mere shelter but a refuge from society.
[...] Bachelard uses the physical characteristics of the house in his phenomenological "topoanalysis" to show the house as metaphor for the self, with its "nooks and corners of solitude." Verticality reflects levels of self-consciousness from dark subconscious cellar to light-infused but ignored attic, to the weather-meeting, acclimatizing roof. --http://www.hermitary.com/bookreviews/hermithut.html [Jul 2006]
Bachelard reminds me of Robert Fludd, the Poetics of Space is the ars memoriae of Fludd in reverse.
Ars Memoriae: The Theatre (1619) - Robert Fludd
Image sourced here.
See also: castration anxiety - Edgar Allan Poe - 1949 - Gaston Bachelard
2006, July 10; 19:05 ::: Art poétique (1882) - Paul Verlaine
Paul Verlaine in a café
"Music above all else" wrote Verlaine in 1874
De la musique avant toute chose,
Et pour cela préfère l'Impair
Plus vague et plus soluble dans l'air,
Sans rien en lui qui pèse ou qui pose.
Il faut aussi que tu n'ailles point
Choisir tes mots sans quelque méprise :
Rien de plus cher que la chanson grise
Où l'Indécis au Précis se joint.
C'est des beaux yeux derrière des voiles,
C'est le grand jour tremblant de midi,
C'est, par un ciel d'automne attiédi,
Le bleu fouillis des claires étoiles !
Car nous voulons la Nuance encor,
Pas la Couleur, rien que la nuance !
Oh ! la nuance seule fiance
Le rêve au rêve et la flûte au cor !
Fuis du plus loin la Pointe assassine,
L'Esprit cruel et le Rire impur,
Qui font pleurer les yeux de l'Azur,
Et tout cet ail de basse cuisine !
Prends l'éloquence et tords-lui son cou !
Tu feras bien, en train d'énergie,
De rendre un peu la Rime assagie.
Si l'on n'y veille, elle ira jusqu'où ?
O qui dira les torts de la Rime ?
Quel enfant sourd ou quel nègre fou
Nous a forgé ce bijou d'un sou
Qui sonne creux et faux sous la lime ?
De la musique encore et toujours !
Que ton vers soit la chose envolée
Qu'on sent qui fuit d'une âme en allée
Vers d'autres cieux à d'autres amours.
Que ton vers soit la bonne aventure
Eparse au vent crispé du matin
Qui va fleurant la menthe et le thym...
Et tout le reste est littérature.
Written in 1874, first published in Paris-Moderne in 1882. It was later collected in 1884 in Jadis et Naguère, this poem is considered to be somewhat of a symbolist manifesto.
In the words of EB:In his famous manifesto poem, L'Art poétique (The Art of Poetry), written in 1874 and collected in Jadis et Naguère (1885; “Yesteryear and Yesterday”) he created the blend of musicality, physical atmospherics, and sense of psychological distortion that constitute his greatest poetic achievement. In so doing, he used lines with an odd number of syllables (vers impair), ambiguous syntax, and unusual collocations of abstract and concrete concepts in a way that radically advanced the technical range of French verse. --[source] [Jul 2006]
A translation by Henri Dorra in Symbolist Art Theories: A Critical Anthology (1995)
Let music come first,
And for this I choose an odd meter,
Vaguer and more evanescent,
Weightless and unaffected.
And you must not
Select your words without some vagueness:
Nothing is more precious than the gray song
That joins the uncertain to the precise. [more]
Since the first stanza of this poem speaks abuot writing poetry, this poem could be viewed as metapoetry.
See also: 1882 - 1874 - 1884 - poète maudit - poetry - Paul Verlaine
2006, July 10; 19:05 ::: 20 Jazz Funk Greats
20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979) - Throbbing Gristle [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
20 Jazz Funk Greats is the third full-length album by industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle. It is considered to be the group's most accessible release. It is also the title of a rather excellent MP3 blog. [Jul 2006]
See also: industrial music - jazz funk
2006, July 10; 19:05 ::: Exiled in Paris (1994) - James Campbell
Exiled in Paris (1994) - James Campbell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Exiled in Paris is a 1994 (reprinted 2001) book by James Campbell, a Scottish cultural historian specialising in studies of the Beats and post-war Paris. He is the former editor of the Edinburgh Review and writes for the Times Literary Supplement. The book itself is a study of the Left Bank cafe society in post-war Paris, particularly the influence of American expatriates, as demonstrated by its sub-heading "Richard Wright, LOLITA, Boris Vian and others on the Left Bank 1946-1960".
The time frame of the book's scope, 1946-1960, mirrors that of Richard Wright's arrival in Paris from the US until his death. This begins with the arrival of Wright at Gertrude Stein's Paris apartment, effectively handing the baton over from the pre-war artist-led bohemian Paris of Stein, Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller to the more literary-focused cafe society. As the title suggests, it also covers Boris Vian and Nabokov. It ranges through the existentialism of Albert Camus, Simone De Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, African American writers such as James Baldwin and Chester Himes, as well as Frantz Fanon and Sadegh Hedayat. The book also considers the operation run by Maurice Girodias at the Olympia Press, particularly the contribution of Alexander Trocchi to its output and the influence of Trocchi's own Merlin, which included Samuel Beckett and Jean Paul Sartre as contributors. The book ends by assessing the arrival of the Beat Hotel on the scene, which saw the familiar ensemble of Beat writers including Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs in Paris. The last vestige of this era can be found at Shakespeare and Company.
In the UK, the book was issued as Paris Interzone, a reference to William Burroughs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exiled_in_Paris [Jul 2006]
See also: American literature - expatriate - French literature
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