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Thread: Quotes from books that have lit you up

  1. #31
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    Too many to mention right now, but I'm reading Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet' right now (which is unexpectedly hilarious in places, as well as more expectedly being very good):

    "To keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your while development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to question that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.”

    "Perhaps many things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.”

  2. #32
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    Rilke meant so much to me as an adolescent im scared to read him as an adult.
    im sure he's right about almost everything though. it's just the level of earnestness
    and the language its couched in im wary of. like you say, theres an impulse to laughter.

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  4. #33
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    i never read rilke because Adorno categorised him as the literary end of authentic jargon. and authenticity is the enemy of what constitutes good literature for me. i don't think authenticity and purism are necessarily the same thing...

    Was teddy wrong?

  5. #34
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    i've got no idea what that could possibly mean and the idea of letting adorno tell you what poetry to read is as crazy as letting him tell you what jazz records to listen to!

    it takes about 2 minutes to read the first duino elegy and get a feel for the project. i don't think it helps to frame it political terms particularly, certainly not straightaway in any case.

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  7. #35
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    yes, but adorno was protesting against shitty german jazz and probably state mandated nazi swing. cos it wasn't all degenerate music in those days, as long as the culture industry could function, black music could be utterly divested of its signifiers and serve strictly utilitarian ends.

    whereas with literature i always took him to be more grounded in the tradition. everything he says about heidegger is correct, for instance. a philosophy of thinking and not theorising, and of fetishising specific temporary configurations in the absolute whole, without thinking about the absolute is reactionary and fascistic. you can't just surrender everything to the moment, and posit the subject as essentially static. then that creates precisely what is jargon, the ability to take normal every day language we talk in, and emphasise meanings which are buried in it, which express forms of cultural exclusion, of an inhibition of play, of a re-segmentation of fictive categories.

    I'll read the elegies though.
    Last edited by thirdform; 22-10-2018 at 11:46 AM.

  8. #36
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    poetry is the master discourse. philosophy is secondary discourse.

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  10. #37
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    i'd actually say music is the master discourse that unites poetry and philosophy. only through the universalness and tangibility of sound can you even begin to conceptualise higher cosmic dimensions. it's like an alchemical process, it burns off the excess but leaves a high note. those high arp strings in jazz funk or the high end percussive trickery of dub for instance. incidentally this is also why dub isn't merely echo but a total reconfiguration of how we approach space.

  11. #38
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    see 'cultural cowardice' thread.

  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Rilke meant so much to me as an adolescent im scared to read him as an adult.
    im sure he's right about almost everything though. it's just the level of earnestness
    and the language its couched in im wary of. like you say, theres an impulse to laughter.
    "You must pardon me, dear Sir, for waiting until today to gratefully remember your letter of February 24. I have been unwell all this time, not really sick, but oppressed by an influenza-like debility, which has made me incapable of doing anything."

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  14. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    "You must pardon me, dear Sir, for waiting until today to gratefully remember your letter of February 24. I have been unwell all this time, not really sick, but oppressed by an influenza-like debility, which has made me incapable of doing anything."
    a truly delicate flower.

  15. #41
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    The Hellfire Sermon in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man put the fear of God in me, felt like I should drop everything and run to the nearest church.

  16. #42
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    Noted this with interest in Ezra Pound's Paris Review interview:

    "Technique is the test of sincerity. If a thing isn’t worth getting the technique to say, it is of inferior value. All that must be regarded as exercise."

  17. #43
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    Hopefully not making this a thread in which I just record vaguely interesting stuff from books. But OTOH, why not?

    In Martin Gayford's 'The Yellow House', Gauguin describing the Third Republic as a "trompe-l'œil" republic.

    And Van Gogh accidentally (through sloppy French) describing the sun, not as 'sulphur' but as 'suffering'.

  18. #44
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    Not a quote but I want to share this.

    Nearing 40

    Insomniac since four, hearing this narrow,

    rigidly metred, early-rising rain

    recounting, as its coolness numbs the marrow,

    that I am nearing forty, nearer the weak

    vision thickening to a frosted pane,

    nearer the day when I may judge my work

    by the bleak modesty of middle age

    as a false dawn, fireless and average,

    which would be just, because your life bled for

    the household truth, the style past metaphor

    that finds its parallel however wretched

    in simple, shining lines, in pages stretched

    plain as a bleaching bedsheet under a guttering

    rainspout; glad for the sputter

    of occasional insight,

    you who foresaw

    ambition as a searing meteor

    will fumble a damp match and, smiling, settle

    for the dry wheezing of a dented kettle,

    for vision narrower than a louvre’s gap,

    then, watching your leaves thin, recall how deep

    prodigious cynicism plants its seed,

    gauges our seasons by this year’s end rain

    which, as greenhorns at school, we’d

    call conventional for convectional;

    or you will rise and set your lines to work

    with sadder joy but steadier elation,

    until the night when you can really sleep,

    measuring how imagination

    ebbs, conventional as any water clerk

    who weighs the force of lightly falling rain,

    which, as the new moon moves it, does its work

    even when it seems to weep.

    Derek Walcott

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