Blanchot (commenting on Priam's supplication of Achilles) says the choice in Homer is violence or speech. In Vergil, in the modern state, our choice is only violence or the silence, whether of Dido or Ajax, imposed upon us by our isolation within the emptiness of our dreams (Milton).
We has them. I want a cheezburger, and I can has cheezburger, but I don't want to want one.
Plays have to end, but no one so well as Shakespeare understood how to use them to offer the hospitality of time, the interim of friendship.
Eros, Dantesque and Freudian
When I was younger, in college and grad school, I'd read that someone my current age had won the lottery, and it just seemed so pointless. What would they do with twenty years of money coming in that could possibly make their, or anyone's, life better?
Literary Need, IV: Love's Characters
The topic of our attachment to words is allegorical of our attachments to ourselves and to other persons.
Acquired tastes and the pleasures of imitation
I've been thinking about Pierre Bourdieu and also about what I think are common and reductive misreadings of Bourdieu. Bourdieu says two things which will often strike people as incompatible enough that they pay attention only to the first, to wit: That acquired tastes provide those who acquire them symbolic capital.
Narrative IV: A post which is a crypto-commentary on Kafka's Parable on Parables
Algernon. Do you really keep a diary? I’d give anything to look at it. May I? Cecily. Oh no. [Puts her hand over it.] You see, it is simply a very young girl’s record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.
Miéville, Marvell, two Melvilles, and others (Narrative III -- the ordering of preferences)
I love this moment in China Miéville's The City & the City: The narrator (for this is an I-book), Inspector Tyador Borlu, is a noir cop in a fictional Balkan capital, Corwi is his assistant, and in their language aj Tyrko means Turkish-style.
Quotation out of context (2) -- Synecdochic quotations: "Beauty, force, and vehemence of impression"
You know how people will sometimes hum a phrase or say a word or two that haunts them, as though just that phrase, just those words, could mean everything? It's the literary equivalent of the magical name of the beloved. I need only think: Belinda or Geoffrey
How can you use the market place to predict future classics? How could you even bet on the literary future? EBay has found a way -- a really interesting one. The futures markets tell us that Darren Shan (author of the young adult series Cirque du Freak) is more than twice as valuable as of today than New Yorker darling David Mitchell. But Ken Follett is a cut above that.How do I know?