Delicately whipped by each other, all these minds were frothing. Only some intense souls—I could count three or four in the room—sat silent, some with heads lowered, some with eyes fixed dreamily on the rings of a hand that lay extended on their knee. Perhaps they were trying to corporalize their daydreams, which is as difficult as to spiritualize one’s sensations.Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, Beneath the Cards of a Game of Whist (1874)
I have need of angels. Enough hell has swallowed me for too many years. But finally understand this—I have burned up one hundred thousand human lives already, from the strength of my pain.Antonin Artaud (via tristealven)
Rhythm is perhaps the most primal of all things known to us. It is basic in poetry and music mutually, their melodies depending on a variation of tone quality and of pitch respectively [ … ] the rhythm set in a line of poetry connotes its symphony, which, had we a little more skill, we could score for orchestra.
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I have in my translations tried to bring over the qualities of Guido’s rhythm, not line for line, but to embody in the whole of my English some trace of that power which implies the man. The science of the music of words and the knowledge of their magical powers has fallen away since men invoked Mithra by a sequence of pure vowel sounds. That there might be less interposed between the reader and Guido, it was my first intention to print only his poems and an unrhymed gloss. This has not been practicable. I cannot trust the reader to read the Italian for the music after he has read the English for the sense.Ezra Pound, Introduction to Translations of the Poems of Guido Cavalconti (1910)
People will not see that a revolution cannot be ‘made’ except by an accelerated relearning.
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As dadaists, we demanded that we had to seek out and prepare the young man with all his virtues and defects, with all his good and evil, with all his cynical and ecstatic aspects; we had to be independent of any morality and yet proceed from the one moral premise that the whole man could be elevated (and not only a part of the man who is agreeable to being educated; who advances society; or who fits into the existing system).Hugo Ball, Flight Out of Time (1916)
College life these days looks rather less fraught. Theory is on the curriculum, to be sure. But the position you take on it no longer has any connection with your place in the world. Talk about the textual topography of the soul can be handy for seminars on Wuthering Heights, but even the most radically decentred subject must pay back their student loan. So theory won – because nowadays everyone “does” it. But theory lost – because nobody now does any more than “do” it. Like feigning Leavisian aliveness to the felt textures of the organic community, theory has become just another one of those things you affect to believe in in order to make a grade.Gary Gutting, review of “Thinking the Impossible” in The Observer (via alanreedwrite)
Now, Alcide,” said Gamiani. “Since the pattern of our pleasures seems to require an element of the intellect, and not simply the satisfaction of desire, I believe it is time you told us something of your education sentimental.Alfred de Musset, Two Nights of Excess, 1833 (via discursivelacerations)
Ideality is death, to be sure, but to be dead—this is the whole question of dissemination—is that to be dead or to be dead? The ever so slight difference of stress, conceptually imperceptible, the inner fragility of each attribute produces the oscillation between the presence of being as death and the death of being as presence.Jacques Derrida, Glas (1974)
INTERVIEWER:Another critic has written that your “worlds are static. They may become tense with obsession, but they do not break apart like the worlds of everyday reality.” Do you agree? Is there a static quality in your view of things?
NABOKOV:Whose “reality”? “Everyday” where? Let me suggest that the very term “everyday reality” is utterly static since it presupposes a situation that is permanently observable, essentially objective, and universally known. I suspect you have invented that expert on “everyday reality.” Neither exists.
Finally, there is an avant-garde negation of the spectacle, a negation which is often unconscious of its basis but which is the only ‘original’ aspect of present-day culture.
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The supersession of leisure through the development of an activity of free creation-consumption can only be understood in relation to the dissolution of the traditional arts—with their transformation into superior modes of action which do not reject or abolish art, but fulfill it. That is how art will be superseded, conserved, and surmounted within a more complex activity. Its traditional elements may still be partially present, but transformed, integrated and modified by the totality.
Previous avant-garde movements presented themselves by declaring the excellence of their methods and principles, which were to be immediately judged on the basis of their works. The SI is the first artistic organisation to base itself upon the radical inadequacy of all permissible works; and whose significance, and whose success or failure, will be able to be judged only with the revolutionary praxis of its time.Attila Kotányi, The Use of Free Time (1960)
Wherefore waving my charging so many Coaches, so many hundreds of men and women of the greater rank, in the open streets, with my hand stretched out, my hat cock’t up, staring at them as if I would look through them, gnashing with my teeth at some of them, and day and night with a huge loud voice proclaiming the day of the Lord throughout London and Southwark, and leaving divers other exploits, &c. [ … ] Besides that notorious business with the Gypseys and Gaolbirds (mine own brethren and sisters, flesh of my flesh, and as good as the greatest Lord in England) at the prison in Southwark neer S. Georges Church.Abiezer Coppe, Some Sweet Sips of some Spirituall Wine, A Fiery Flying Roll (1649)