“The smoothness, the tumescence, the milky flow of feminine nudity anticipate a sensation of liquid outpour, which itself opens onto death like a window onto a courtyard.”
Georges Bataille, Eroticism.
The Twins, di Duccio (~1450AD)
From The Wreck of the Deutschland where Hopkins talks about the sinking of the Deutschland in a storm…
And they could not and fell to the deck”
Best biography I’ve read in a long while—about Fear-God Barebone. I quote it in its entirety, from the second paragraph:
…he probably had an older brother called Fear-God (who is known to have been a minor poet), but this can not be confirmed because the parish of Charwelton registers for that period no longer exist.
(Thanks to a Brad discussion on Preacher names.)
27 July. The attacks. Yesterday a walk with the dog in the evening. Tvrz Sedlec. The row of cherry trees where the woods end; it gives one almost the same sense of seclusion as a room. The man and woman returning from the fields. The girl in the stable door of the dilapidated farmyard seems almost at odds with her big breasts; an innocently attentive animal gaze. The man with glasses who is pulling the heavy cartload of fodder; elderly, hunchbacked, but erect because of his exertions; high boots; the woman with the sickle,now at his side and now behind him.
Kafka’s Diaries, 1923
- Laszlo Krasznahorkai
This is the Constable painting that Knausgaard remembers made him weep in My Struggle Part One. You wonder how Knausgaard manages to keep you enthralled when reading the book because the content is sometimes mundane—stuff like a banal night-out as a teen in much detail. But something else is alive. There is some kind of beautiful energy below the surface of the thing. I was thinking about this exquisite quality in his work when I stumbled upon a blog by some ex-students of Sebald where they share some notes. Some very strong parallels here:
- Fiction should have a ghostlike presence in it somewhere, something omniscient. It makes it a different reality.
- Writing is about discovering things hitherto unseen. Otherwise there’s no point to the process.
- Meteorology is not superfluous to the story. Don’t have an aversion to noticing the weather.
- You need acute, merciless observation.
This is the outfit of a young female Siberian Shaman from the early 20th century.
In reviewing Shamanism by Eliade, Ted Hughes notes ‘The Shaman’s business is usually to guide some soul to the underworld or bring back a sick man’s lost soul, or deliver sacrifices to the dead, or ask the spirits the reason for an epidemic, or the whereabouts of game or a man lost. The structure of these spirit realms is universally fairly consistent, and familiar figures recur as consistently: the freezing river, the clashing rocks, the dog in the cave-entrance, the queen of animals, the holy mountain, and so on.’
So on? Ted—carry the fuck on!
“The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it. Indeed the Shakers believed their furniture was designed by angels – and Blake believed his ideas for poems and engraving came from heavenly spirits.”
Thomas Merton in his Introduction to Religion in Wood: A Book of Shaker Furniture by Edward & Faith Andrews