Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The irrelevant I: Yet another installment of Make It New, Already!

“Musil once thought he might construct a person from nothing but quotations”. Thomas Mann (of his Lotte in Weimar): “He said it was a rich fabric of references, much of which is compilation and appropriation, exploiting of sources”. The last word should go to Virginia Woolf, the secret heroine of this book, the control in this sample of beings, who once wanted to learn German, the most natural reader and writer of all those on display, a Bloomsbury visitor to Berlin once (Vita’s Harold was at the embassy), a lover of moths, married (like Juers) to a publisher: “Virginia thought the first person singular – the I – was now irrelevant, without audience or echo. This signified a kind of death. Paris fell. I have my morphia in my pocket, she wrote. And wondered, if this was the end, whether she should be reading Shakespeare. The corn was flowing with poppies in it, and she thought it might be her last walk. People were killed in night raids on the English coast. We pour to the edge of a precipice . . . .

-- quoted in Michael Hofmann's TLS review of Evelyn Juers' House of Exile: The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger-Mann

5 comments:

Jordan said...

We are reading the same newspapers at the same time.

Here's hoping the newspapers don't all evaporate.

Anonymous said...

the best thing in the TLS recently was Hugo Williams' note on Ian Hamilton (p.16, April 17/09),

specifically the story from one of Hamilton's USA pobiz-crawls wherein he encountered

"a certain professor who had gone on about the work of Clayton Eshleman. "Just a tremendous poet", he said. Surprised by this, Ian asked for the title of a good poem by Eshleman. "Oh, I don't know", said the professor. "Taken as a whole [italics], you see. Just a tremendous poet [italics]." Ian insisted on knowing the name of a single decent poem so he'd be able to understand what the professor was talking about. "Oh for God's sake", the man said. "What is this anthologist's [italics] approach to literature?"

Jordan said...

Speaking of all the newspapers, what'd you think of Arlen Specter's NYRB call to roll back the abuses of the past eight years.

Don Share said...

Jordan, yep, same newspapers! And I'm very worried about them, too. I did see the Arlen Specter piece - whod'a thunk he'd write for the NYRB! Here's a link:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22656

Anon., usu. I take Hugo Wms. w/a grain of American salt, but this is a funny, and telling bit.

Thanks, guys!

Ms Baroque said...

Don, this is a great quote - it reads like a spoof...!