Citations Infernales

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Citations Infernales

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Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2015, 2:32 pm

"He was forty, which is the most frightening age in life. You don't feel sorry for the old, because they are old already; you don't feel sorry for the dead, because they are dead already. But you do feel sorry for those approaching old age, those approaching death. Forty! At fairgrounds you see rollercoasters dashing up a steep slope followed by a steep drop and then another ascent. At the top of the slop, or rather just before the top, the vehicle has used up all the energy acquired in the descent and it slows down and hesitates as if the top were unattainable, as if it were terrified of the approaching plunge. The man approaching forty is in a similar state of hesitation and uncertainty; his pace slackens, he is paralyzed by the approaching summit and the descent he cannot see but knows lies just ahead."

- Pitigrilli (Cocaine).

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2015, 3:07 pm


I still lived, and sat there in the sun,
Too depressed to savor my melancholia.
I wore a cardboard crown. I held
A sceptre with a star on top.

I was on a hill, looking over at a mountain.
The sky was bald blue above.
Pine needles made
Something softer than a breast beneath the fits-all royal hose.

I was like an inmate at Charenton
Dully propped up on a throne outdoors, playing
“Fatigue of the Brave”—fatigue such as of a fireman holding
A still warm baby, waiting for the body bag.

Professional depression,
In an age of revolutionary fire
And having to grow up. The king did not wish to—
Still declined to be beheaded at forty-three.

But that I was depressed,
I had diagnosed the depression thus:
Ambivalence at a standstill—
Party-favor crown, real-life guillotine.

I still lived. I sat there in the sun:
Just water and salt conducting a weak current
Between the scent of pine and the foot smell
Of weeds reeking in the hot sun.

The children’s party crown I wore
Dazzled my thinning hair like a halo.
The crown was crenellated like a castle wall.
A leper begged outside the wall.

In an upper gallery of the castle,
A young woman curtsied to the king and said: “Sire,
You are a beautiful day outside.”
The king stuck his stick down her throat to shut her up.

Children, of all things bad, the best is to kill a king.
Next best: to kill yourself out of death.
Next best: to grovel and beg. I took for my own motto
I rot before I ripen.

- Frederick Seidel

heinäkuu 10, 2015, 2:11 pm

"Knowledge is the plague of life, and consciousness, an open wound in its heart." -- E. M. Cioran from On the Heights of Despair

heinäkuu 10, 2015, 2:18 pm

>2 Randy_Hierodule:

I took for my own motto
I rot before I ripen.

I just read this week someone quoting that line, but can't recall if it was here on LT or in a book. If I recall correctly, one character was discussing another, recently dead. How timely to read this today!

heinäkuu 10, 2015, 3:09 pm

I know that one of the posters here, veilofisis, has that quote on her page. It was that which put me on to Seidel, with whom I was unfamiliar.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 10, 2015, 3:51 pm

>4 elenchus: I saw it too, e..., dunno where

heinäkuu 10, 2015, 5:14 pm

For those who like their bon mots infused with noir and ennui, check out The Dark Side: Thoughts on the Futility of Life from the Ancient Greeks to the Present by Alan R. Pratt

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 10, 2015, 10:50 pm

" 'Abnormal," he replied, "sounds a dreadful accusation, but what does it mean? What it only means, as Dr. Johnson would have said, 'above or below mediocrity.'"

"My sun is gone down in the day time".

From An Evil Motherhood, Walt Ruding




heinäkuu 12, 2015, 7:40 pm

8. That was very interesting. Thank you.

A reference was made to "Our Lady of Sighs" at the beginning of a chapter, which led me in search of this essay of de Quincey's.

Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow by Thomas De Quincey

Horror movie fans will be interested to know that this essay was the inspiration for a trilogy of films by Dario Argento; "Suspiria, Inferno, and Our Lady of Tears".

heinäkuu 12, 2015, 11:45 pm

"It was amazing, even, to think that the only thing left to people in their despair was reading." -- Submission by Michel Houellebecq

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 21, 2015, 9:25 am

"There was no such thing as love without jealousy; only women and pimps maintained the opposite."

"Jealousy is the emotion that causes a man to feel that, having been admitted to a woman's bed, only he has a right to return to it."

"Blessed are the bored, because they leave without complaint."

"Honesty, duty, brotherhood and altruism are like supernatural phenomena: everyone describes them but nobody has seen them; when you get closer, either they don't happen or there's a trick behind it...".

"Mysticism was merely virility in a state of liquidation; sperm that had gone bad."


Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 21, 2015, 9:29 am

“That's what hell must be like, small chat to the babbling of Lethe about the good old days when we wished we were dead.”

- Samuel Beckett

heinäkuu 21, 2015, 9:56 am

>11 Randy_Hierodule: when you get closer, either they don't happen or there's a trick behind it...".

That's a great line, I've heard something like it and wonder now if Pitigrilli's entered the cultural consciousness or if he merely rephrased it.

heinäkuu 22, 2015, 12:59 pm

"LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient."

- Ambrose Bierce


heinäkuu 22, 2015, 1:03 pm

Layla and Majnun beg to differ.

The whole "the West invented romantic love" idea is a pile of manure.

heinäkuu 22, 2015, 4:40 pm

I agree, mad love. But did Bierce consider the civilizations of the east barbarous? And the lovers in that poem, as with Heloise and Abelard, were incurable perhaps because they were never manacled in wedlock?

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 22, 2015, 5:40 pm

Well, it's all satirical of course, but even so, I'm guessing that "barbarous nations", damned with faint praise of their simplicity (more cliché), belongs to the totally trad Eurocentric scheme within which it's hard to imagine illiterate 6th century Arab nomads representing any sort of "civilization" to anyone. (IIRC that's the earliest more or less certain dating of the legend--it could be older.)

I'm sure Bierce wouldn't have needed much persuading that people everywhere in every time felt the same emotions, and that by "love" he actually means the codified expression and performance of a lovers' relationship specific to his time.

Although--to ramble on--I for one can't see what's wrong with art imitating life and vice versa. If a book or a suggestion or a potion makes you fall in love with someone, so what?

People fetishise "nature". It's not real.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2015, 10:33 am

La vida es sueno. 1001 tales, and no master text, as a comparatively recent cynic more or less said (I think ...).

Well, there were (and are, here and there) those unlettered bands of hooksh, but there were also the (over)refined courts of the beys, sultans and caliphs that AB would hardly have considered more barbarous than the United States or Europe of the time ... but yes, the whole noble (vanquished and enslaved) savage fairy story.

I think of The Devil's Dictionary alongside Bouvard and Pecuchet's "Dictionary of Received Ideas" - cataloging "realities" of the times (y todos los tiempos el tiempo) as articles of "kitsch", culturally ambient, reified and ridiculous.

heinäkuu 23, 2015, 11:14 am

Layla and Majnun were nomadic shepherds, tho', not courtiers or urbanites. And I think the story dates much older than 1001 compilations--part of pre-Islamic oral poetry which, btw, has a marked interest in romantic love. (In my limited experience, Arabs are still the most "romantic" of people, in the sense of "how much insanity are you liable to commit when in love").

Nice parallel to Flaubert, I think both were written in a similar spirit. Are there other? Maybe the aphorists--La Rochefoucauld, Lichtenberg... Leopardi in his many bad moods...

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 28, 2015, 7:06 pm

(On the basis of my limited experience, I am inclined to reverently and warily concur with your parenthetical capture).

As Vilnius has replaced Lenin with Zappa, I think Tunis should at least complement if not replace Khaldun with Nefzawi.

I had a list somewhere once of lists found in novels regarding received ideas... will have to dig that up.

heinäkuu 23, 2015, 2:15 pm

"Every existence is a theft practiced upon other existences."

- Remy de Gourmont

heinäkuu 23, 2015, 2:16 pm

"The look of the world's a lie, a face made up
O'er graves and fiery depths; and nothing's true
But what is horrible."

- Thomas Lovell Beddoes

heinäkuu 23, 2015, 2:20 pm

“The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.”

- Bede

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2015, 2:45 pm

9: Missed this one. Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow is excerpted from Suspiria de Profundis, the follow-on to "Opium Eater". I love Thomas de Quincey and need to go back to that book. Somewhere in it, I think where the author is recalling an event from his childhood - standing at his sister's deathbed - he coins the term "involute" to apply to a sort of transformative epiphany from the deeps of the unconscious... Paul West uses the term as well in his poetic memoir, Oxford Days.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2015, 4:48 pm

I am reading the remarkable Suspiria de Profundis currently. It's a pity only nine of the thirty two essays have survived to us, the others having been burned up in a fire. I will certainly watch for the term "involute" as I read.

Of the many memorable passages, this one burns in my mind today.

"Pain driven to agony, or grief driven to frenzy, is essential to the ventilation of profound natures."

Paul West is unknown to me. I will investigate.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 23, 2015, 5:38 pm

Paul West is heavy on style and can be a little intoxicated with vocabulary (he was interviewed in the same issue of the Dalkey Archive journal as as Alexander Theroux), but I enjoyed the more straightforward Oxford Days - which West presents as a sort of "involute" experience in his life. He talks of the Sitwells and I can't recall whether or not that is where I first heard of the expatriate cad, Julian Osgood Field, (Aut Diabolus Aut Nihil) whose intrigues once landed a Sitwell in jail.

heinäkuu 27, 2015, 11:31 am


What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

- C.P. Cavafy

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

heinäkuu 28, 2015, 11:15 am

“The universe appears to me like an immense, inexorable torture-garden…Passions, greed, hatred, and lies; social institutions, justice, love, glory, heroism, and religion: these are its monstrous flowers and its hideous instruments of eternal human suffering.” -- The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau

heinäkuu 28, 2015, 3:42 pm

>27 Randy_Hierodule: reminds me of the opposing shore or The desert of the tartars, a film I just watched by Zurlini.

>28 kswolff: right on, Mirbeau

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 28, 2015, 4:45 pm

Tros: Yes on both counts. I'm assuming the film is based on the novel by Dino Buzzati - I should score a copy.

heinäkuu 28, 2015, 7:02 pm

10: To reading, Samuel Beckett:

“All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.”

heinäkuu 30, 2015, 5:47 pm

"Only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built." -- Bertrand Russell

"Liberty, n. One of imagination's most precious possessions." -- Ambrose Bierce

"Nothing we can do outrages Nature directly. Our acts of destruction give her new vigour and feed her energy, but none of our wreckings can weaken her power." -- Justine by DAF Sade

heinäkuu 31, 2015, 1:38 pm

>30 Randy_Hierodule: si amigo, it's based on The Tartar Steppe, reviews look interesting

heinäkuu 31, 2015, 1:43 pm

I enjoyed it very much - you were right on with comparing it to The Opposing Shore.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 31, 2015, 5:33 pm

"Why is it not permitted us to conform our existence according to our dreams, and to live forever in ourselves alone?"

- Gabriele D'Annunzio

elokuu 1, 2015, 9:04 am

"Their love had behind it a long past. It dragged behind it, through the years, an immense and obscure net, full of dead things."

- Gabriele D'Annunzio

elokuu 1, 2015, 10:49 pm

"Leiblitz had taught him the arithmetical method of reducing the sensation of time to an evanescent progression: he applied it to life. To live and not to know that one is alive, there was an ideal his road to which was too often barred by his duplicitous, but pitiless, senses." - 'Sixtine' R. Gourmont

syyskuu 10, 2015, 2:31 pm

Seppuku... Defenestration, or a quivering handful of pills... a shotgun blast, - what is the distinction, other than a splash of vomit or a ceiling cerebral, spiked with teeth? It is "the difference between a tribute of admiration from an artist and a receipt from a tradesman":

“Threnody Upon A Decadent Art”, Joseph Wood Krutch

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 10, 2015, 6:31 pm

38. "Christianity, teaching that life is but a vale of tears, has done it's best to make it such."

A delightful essay. Verily, "our utilitarianism has destroyed all the fine arts".

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 10, 2015, 7:02 pm

39: That essay can be found in the readily available and charmingly titled anthology, The Bachelor's Companion, a Smart Set Collection.

Here's what's in the pantry:

Orphant Annie / Thyra Samter Winslow --
The Sensible Convict / William Rose Benet --
How The Lost Causes Were Removed From Valhalla / Lord Dunsany --
Notes On The American Gentlewomen / Thomas Beer --
How I Discovered Bernard Shaw / Frank Harris --
Ophelia / Elinor Wylie --
The End Of Ilsa Menteith / Lilith Benda --
Narcissus / Robert Bridges --
Benediction / F. Scott Fitzgerald --
The Three Hermits / W. B. Yeats --
Ballade Of Youth To Swinburne / Orrick Johns --
From The Memoirs Of A Private Detective / Dashiell Hammett --
Summer Rain / Amy Lowell --
Los Angeles-The Chemically Pure / Willard Huntington Wright --
Afterwards / Charles Hanson Towne --
A Shepherdess Of Fauns / F. Tennyson Jesse --
Over The Telephone / Aldous Huxley --
The Great Woods / Arthur Davison Ficke --
On Cornell / Hendrik Willem Van Loon --
Carnival / Robert Hillyer --
I'm A Stranger Here Myself / Sinclair Lewis --
Spoof River Anthology / Gordon Seagrove --
The Mowers / D. H. Lawrence --
Such A Pretty Little Picture / Dorothy Parker --
The Morals Of The Mormons / Louis Shewin --
The Shadow / Witter Bynner --
Some Ladies And Jurgen / James Branch Cabell --
Crepe De Chine / James Stephens --
Bagatelle / Edwin Markham --
The Eternal Masculine / Leonora Speyer --
Whitemail / Joyce Kilmer --
The Rabbit-Hutch / George Sterling --
Threnody Upon A Decadent Art / Joseph Wood Krutch --
The Commonsense Of Monsieur Lebel / Achmed Abdullah --
Caste / Burton Rascoe --
Summer Thunder / Stephen V. Benet --
Model Ballad Of The Cook And The Clairvoyant / Guy Wetmore Carryl --
To A Broadway Hotel / Christopher Morley --
Blissful Interlude / Myron Brinig --
Maxims Of Methuselah / Gelett Burgess --
Donkies / Leonid Andreyev --
The Man Who Understood Women / Elsie McCormick --
A Flood / George Moore --
Freedom / Margaret Wilddemer --
An Epilogue To Love / Arthur Symons --
"All For One And One For All: / Dorothy Canfield --
Rose Garland / Richard Le Gallienne --
Resurrection / Theresa Helburn --
One Day More / Joseph Conrad --
Kisses In The Train / D. H. Lawrence --
Fifty Years Spent / Struthers Burt --
Autumn In The Subway / J. Thorne Smith, Jr. --
The Story Ashland Told At Dinner / Ludwig Lewisohn --
A Song / Lizette Woodworth Reese --
Drought / Lizette Woodworth Reese --
Earth And Sea / Oliver Gogarty --
The Fruit Of Misadventure / Waldo Frank --
Fire Is Out In Acheron / Maxwell Anderson --
Humoresque In Ham / Ben Hecht --
Repetition Generale / George Jean Nathan --
Reveil / Donn Bryne --
The Secret Of Success / Donald Ogden Steward --
The Renunciatory Gesture / Mabel McElliott --
The Peripatetic Prince / John Reed --
The Treasure / C. Y. Harrison --
The Girl Who Couldn't Go Wrong / Albert Payson Terbune --
Lilith / Louis Untermeyer --
Saturday Night Blues / Catherine Brody --
The Lotos And The Bottle / O. Henry --
A Declaration / Jim Tully --
Sonnet / Ben Ray Redman --
The Green Elephant / Dashiell Hammett --
An Incident Of The Cosmos / P. Y. Anderson --
Rum, Reading And Rebellion / John Macy --
Miss Thompson / W. Somerset Maugham --
Rope / Charles McArthur --
And Minstrels Flown With Pride / John McClure --
Little Girl / Lee Pape --
The Long Voyage Home --
Eugene G. O'Neill --
The Whole Art Of The Wooden Leg / Laurence Stallings --
The Blue Sphere / Theodore Dreiser --
The Death Of Sir Launcelot / Edgar Lee Masters --
Just Him And Her / Ruth Suckow --
Slapdasher The Artist / Felix Riesenberg --
The Kingdom Of Thule / Donn Byrne --
The Heart Of A Tenor --
Frank Wedekind --
The Boarding House / James Joyce --
Transvaluation / Orrick Johns --
The Sentimentalist / Sara Teasdale --
Tearsqueezer / Barry Benefield --
The Rural Soul / Thomas Beer --
The History of a Prodigy / Lewis Mumford --
The Regenerate / Mazo de la Roche --
Ghosts / Edgar Saltus --
At Tio Juan / Mary Austin --
Jessica Screams / Floyd Dell --
The Dead Are Silent / Arthur Schnitzler --
A Dead One / Witter Bynner --
Report Of A Sunday Evening Talk At A Sanatorium For Female Alcoholics / Christopher Morley --
Not Guilty / Llewelyn Powys --
Wow / W. B. Seabrook --The Merry-Go-Round / Julia M. Peterkin --
Ashes To Ashes / Nunnally Johnson --
Paris After 8:15 / George Jean Nathan --
The Parasite / George Bronson-Howard --
Sun Magic / Thomas Moult --
Rubies In Crystal / Grace H. Flandrau --
Silence / Babbette Deutsch --
Reflections / W.L. Werner --
His Stenographer / Harriet Monroe --
Aesthetic Jurisprudence / George Jean Nathan

syyskuu 11, 2015, 4:38 pm

Thanks! I just grabbed a copy for next to nothing. Quite an interesting list of contributors, even Seabrook! I see Burton Rascoe was an editor. I can hardly wait!

syyskuu 11, 2015, 5:33 pm

Another interesting anthology to track down is Americana Esoterica, edited by Wood krutch's pal Mark's brother, Carl Van Doren:

Prelude / Orrick Johns -- Strange waters / George Sterling -- The unsociable cat / Clement Wood -- The Don Juan of Pentonville / John Cournos -- Dusie / Djuna Barnes -- The wife of Paul / John Russell --The edge of doom / Ethel M. Kelley -- One Sunday evening / Dana Burnet -- The man who wouldn't marry / James Oppenheim --The courtesan / Ralcy Husted Bell -- Erring Geraldine /Orrick Johns -- Business / Nathan Asch --The generous gesture / John Cournos --Elagabalus / Louis Richard Thomas --Honeymoon / Clement Wood --Distinguished air / Robert McAlmon.

(Burton Rascoe also contributed the introduction to the 1923 edition of Arthur Hornblow's translation of The Triumph of Death.)

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 11, 2015, 7:05 pm

My first encounter with Burton Rascoe was his translation of Mademoiselle de Maupin by Theophile Gautier, including his very memorable discourse on the friendly enemy relationship between Gautier and Baudelaire in the introduction. I've been a big fan ever since.

I also just ordered a cheap copy of modern library edition of The Triumph of Death. I'm hoping it's the Hornblow translation with the Burton Rascoe introduction.

I will check on Americana Esoterica presently.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 14, 2015, 8:52 pm

Hard on Amado Nervo's "El Diamante del Inquietud" (I wonder why not a pearl. Or carbuncle. In any case, the devil knows where all the gems and tumors lie hid and their worth):

John Davidson from his introduction to Fleet Street and Other Poems:

"The time has come to make an end. There are several motives. I find my pension is not enough; I have therefore still to turn aside and attempt things for which people will pay. My health also counts. Asthma and other annoyances I have tolerated for years; but I cannot put up with cancer.

I thought this might be my last book, and intended five poems…. I should have concluded the volume with a second Testament in my own person, insisting that men should no longer degrade
themselves under such appellations as Christian, Mohammedan, Agnostic, Monist, etc. Men are the Universe become conscious; the simplest man should consider himself too great to be called after any name."

J. D.

syyskuu 21, 2015, 8:53 pm

“Every day you amass knowledge in a frantic race against death that death must win.” -- Derek Raymond

syyskuu 22, 2015, 5:20 pm

>38 Randy_Hierodule: Because only page headings showed for me in that link, here's another:

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 22, 2015, 5:25 pm

> 39 Excellent job, Mr X!

syyskuu 23, 2015, 1:43 pm

"TICK, n. A parasite insect that can host viruses or bacteria that can often inflict painful neurological damage on humans; also, a single unit of change in a stock price. When markets are open for trading, those two meanings of the word may be indistinguishable." -- The Devil's Financial Dictionary by Jason Zweig

“Gold, yellow, glittering, precious gold!
Thus much of this, will make black white; foul, fair;
Wrong, right; base, noble; old, young; coward, valiant.
... What this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides;
Pluck stout men’s pillows from below their heads;
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions; bless the accurs’d;
Make the hoar leprosy ador’d; place thieves,
And give them title, knee and approbation,
With senators on the bench; this is it,
That makes the wappen’d widow wed again:
... Come damned earth,
Though common whore of mankind.”
(Shakespeare: Timon of Athens.)

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 7, 2015, 10:08 am

I'd like this on my marble vanity plate:

And strange, mad sins, pale with their own delight,
And funeral chord, and hope, and drugs and wine,
The burning sun, the enchantment of the night,
The flashing of the sea- have all been mine.

(from "Chant du Marais", in The Flute of Sardonyx, by Edmund John).

In the same collection as the verse above, is one of the best poems of decadence I have had the pleasure to read (I say the pleasure, because while in decadence, Francis Saltus, for example, is about as flagrantly decadent as they come, his abilities cannot match - or guide - his passion): "Salome". In John's poem is the match of Moreau's strange and beautiful painting (the poem was attacked as immoral and necrophiliac - and John was forced to revise it for later editions).

And now, Marin Marais:

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 7, 2015, 4:43 pm

49. Thank you for this rare gem. Even the revised second issue is scarce. However, it is perusable at the link below.;view=2up;seq=1;skin=mob...

P.S. I am really enjoying the Hornblow translation of The Triumph of Death.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 7, 2015, 5:20 pm

- I managed to grab a copy, after having consulted what scant little is on the web (...assuming the outrageous incident is Salome's lips pressed to those of the baptist's severed nib). Symphonie Symbolique is valuable for the Stella Langdale illustrations as for the literature. John's three collections of verse are available in reprint editions and a genre-lized anthology.

If I weren't so lazy, I'd transcribe some of the F. Saltus poems in "Flasks and Flagons". He tackles everything from absinthe and arak to water and coffee (Bass Ale should jump on this guy - he hails their currently degraded beverage by name).

I'm glad you like The Triumph of Death. I liked it enough to hunt down two other titles (after consulting Henry James ;).

lokakuu 8, 2015, 9:36 pm

The Langdale illustrations are wonderful. I will look for Symphonie Symbolique. Thank you for the information.

As for Salome, who can blame her, John the Baptist has the most nibble worthy nib in both testaments.

I am somewhat familiar with Edgar Saltus, but was unaware of his half brother Francis. The Bass Ale poem is certainly a great advertisement. I wish it were really that good. Perhaps it was better a century ago. Personally, I don't usually drink English Ale, but when I do I drink Samuel Smith's.

Bass's Ale

Whene'er thy foaming beads attract my lips,
A rapid vision passes o'er my mind
Of strong Cunarders, battling with the wind,

And cosy cabins, and the roll of ships.

I hear the tempest lash the sails like whips,
I see the rigid bow its pathway find
Deep in the night, leaving in sheen behind

A snaky trail of phosphorescent tips.

Or, when thy vigor to the lees I drain,
I, from the belfry of St. Paul's behold
Gigantic London in gray winter hours.
Waiting for drowsy dawn to come again,

While the great sun, veiled in a fog of gold,
Bursts in red glory on her haughty Towers!

Full text of Flasks and Flagons:

The table of contents reads like a bartender's guide. I presume Francis perished from some liver ailment.

lokakuu 10, 2015, 6:45 pm

"Honoria, you see, is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge. A beastly thing to face over the breakfast table. Brainy, moreover." -- Carry On, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

"A sort of gulpy, gurgly, plobby, squishy, wofflesome sound, like a thousand eager men drinking soup in a foreign restaurant." -- Blandings Castle

"Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance." -- Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

lokakuu 17, 2015, 12:38 pm

He invented the music of pigs
and the fire of bitterness,
he spoke of the wind
and of the wedding of the dead.
He wouldn't give me a scrap of bacon
for all my despair.

-- "My Great-Grandfather Was a Lardseller," On Earth and in Hell by Thomas Bernhard

marraskuu 20, 2015, 4:08 pm

“It took only three or four years for the place to acquire the garish veneer within that's become its distinguishing mark: not the place's deathless overall wino-dive griminess, not the long procession of compact neon beer signs dangling like corrupt flags or coats of nauseous arms above the narrow public walkway behind the bar stools, not the blunt, ribbed, white tunnel-roof of canvas overhead outside with its ugly “CBGB and OMFUG” logo, … No, it would be a separate consequence of Hilly's stunning and consequential inertia that would ultimately proclaim his physical domain most perfectly – namely, his lack of interest in removing any defacement of the club's interior.” -- Richard Hell from Massive Pissed Love

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 14, 2015, 2:43 pm

Le blues infernal....

"One grows tired of the commonplace, the imagination becomes vexed, and the slenderness of our means, the weakness of our faculties, the corruption of our souls lead us to these abominations."

- Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 15, 2015, 11:13 am

Happy holidays, from Guy Debord:

"The epoch which displays its time to itself as essentially the sudden return of multiple festivities is also an epoch without festivals. What was, in cyclical time, the moment of a community's participation in the luxurious expenditure of life is impossible for the society without community or luxury. When its vulgarized pseudo-festivals, parodies of the dialogue and the gift, incite a surplus of economic expenditure, they lead only to deception always compensated by the promise of a new deception. In the spectacle, the lower the use value of modern survival-time, the more highly it is exalted. The reality of time has been replaced by the advertisement of time."

joulukuu 15, 2015, 9:51 am

"Down with a world in which the guarantee that we will not die of starvation has been purchased with the guarantee that we will die of boredom.”

― Raoul Vaneigem, Revolution of Everyday Life

joulukuu 15, 2015, 10:56 pm

"Morgan Wilberforce is disobedient, headstrong, reckless, sexually immoral, a hard drinker and smoker, and nowhere near as clever as he imagines." -- H.S. Cross

joulukuu 16, 2015, 4:09 am

57 - thanks for uploading that photo from the last Chapel convention, Ben. What a week that was.

joulukuu 16, 2015, 10:29 am

God bless us, every one! And a spectacular holiday season to all.

tammikuu 22, 2016, 6:20 pm

"Commend me to God in your prayers and I will remember you as well as myself in mine, hoping that He will free us and preserve us in our perilous calling from the terrors of the law."

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, from "Rinconete and Cortadillo" in Exemplary Novels

helmikuu 1, 2016, 11:06 pm

"I was busy reading and writing when a great number of these men burst into my chamber, armed with ignorance blunt as a whip, and hatred sharp as a knife." -- Danilo Kis

helmikuu 3, 2016, 12:49 pm

"Nothing is to be expected from the workman whose tools are for ever to be sought." - Samuel Johnson

helmikuu 19, 2016, 5:58 pm



I am the Empire in the last of its decline,
That sees the tall, fair-haired Barbarians pass,—the while
Composing indolent acrostics, in a style
Of gold, with languid sunshine dancing in each line.

The solitary soul is heart-sick with a vile
Ennui. Down yon, they say, War's torches bloody shine.
Alas, to be so faint of will, one must resign
The chance of brave adventure in the splendid file,—

Of death, perchance! Alas, so lagging in desire!
Ah, all is drunk! Bathyllus, hast done laughing, pray?
Ah, all is drunk,—all eaten! Nothing more to say!

Alone, a vapid verse one tosses in the fire;
Alone, a somewhat thievish slave neglecting one;
Alone, a vague disgust of all beneath the sun!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 2016, 8:44 pm

Fucking with hypochondriacs. From the Tibetan Book of the Dead:

General Consolidated Rite for Averting Death:

In cases when the indication of protruding ankle bones appears, one should face westwards towards the sun when it is close to setting, and remove one's clothes. Then placing a dog's tail under you and some excrement in a heap in front, one should eat a mouthful and bark like a dog. This rite should be repeated three times.

AND if that doesn't kill you:

From Natural Liberation through Recognition of the Visual Indications and Signs of Death, section 8, Tibetan Book of the Dead:

Examination of the Signs of Death which Occur in Dreams:

If one dreams between dawn and daybreak that:
One is riding a cat or a white monkey with a red face,
While moving further and further toward the east,
It is said that this is a sign of death....

Further more, if one dreams of eating faeces,
Or of wearing black clothes of yak hair, while plunging downwards,
Or of copulating repeatedly with a black figure or animal,
These are also signs which are indicative of death.


One should examine, on the morning of the first day of the month,
The flow of ones semen or menstrual blood.

(various hideously nasty colors and the augury derived therefrom)....

If its natural whiteness in undiminished,
This indicates that there is no obstacle to life,
And the semen should be inhaled through the nose,
While it is still warm.

Furthermore, if semen flows without any blissful sensation,
And is interspersed with quicksilver-like globules, the size of
sesame seeds,
It is said that one will die immediately.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 3, 2016, 9:46 pm

Oh dear Jesus on the half shell: where is the spark?

Spanish 101, 4th class (I missed 2). We were asked to write a few physically descriptive sentences on the board about the person depicted (it was Mother Teresa). I wrote:

"Ella es bonita como las estrellas, pero ella es gris et pequena como una ardilla. Sus garras son rojas y humedas de sangre."

The little abuela profesora told me she liked the first part, explaining that it was romantic, but strange. But the last bit: "This is a lady - she has claws, like a bear? No. I reject it"

And she erased it.

"Is it grammatically correct?"


"I'm Catholic. I get a pass".

I fielded my colleagues' questions:

"Is that right?"

("Yes. I check my facts").

"How can you say she is beautiful like the stars?"

("The stars are the complexion of God")

maaliskuu 3, 2016, 10:47 pm


Oh to be in that class...

A+, Ben.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 14, 2016, 2:14 pm

I don't know whether an elegy counts, but this contends in power with Auden's thing about dismissing the stars ("his sweet yodel"). Gilgamesh, on the death of Enkidu:

"May the ploughman mourn you in his furrow,
When he extols your name with his sweet yodel!".

maaliskuu 14, 2016, 11:48 am

The Ravaged Villa, by Herman Melville

In shards the sylvan vases lie,
Their links of dance undone,
And brambles wither by the brim,
Choked fountain of the sun!
The spider in the laurel spins,
The weed exiles the flower:
And, flung to kiln, Apollo's bust
Makes lime for Mammon's tower.

From the anthology Confucius to Cummings by Ezra Pound.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 14, 2016, 10:28 am

From "Liv" (1894), by Sigbjørn Obstfelder:

" 'Would you believe in God, if you could?'

What could I answer? Who was God? A concept. A feverish fantasy. A hallucination for pious virgins in old paintings."


And a daily affirmation for the maladjusted (those who clearly aren't very picky in selecting an escort): "Human joy is a whore filling the atmosphere with the stench of her cheap perfume."

lokakuu 15, 2016, 11:58 am

"People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point." -- George Carlin

"Moral responsibility is what is lacking in a man when he demands it of a woman." -- Karl Kraus

lokakuu 25, 2016, 8:18 pm

"In this tangled jungle known as American culture, the hothouse of every sweet and seductive florum, an imperium of desire and appetite, a fierce threshing ground of the human, an induction center in the art and practice of amnesia -- and always everywhere violence, violence -- in this unlikely place and time, there exists a community of believers.
"That in itself is astonishing, since the culture is a primary, massive, militarized, antihuman disbeliever."

-- Wisdom: The Feminine Face of God by Daniel Berrigan, SJ

marraskuu 26, 2016, 10:59 pm

Bambi: Who said 'Lawks-a-lordy, my bottom's on fire'?
(Kendal Mintcake buzzes in)
Kendal Mintcake: Lenin!
Bambi: Yes, well I can accept that, though the exact answer was Joan of Arc. Well done, Footlights, five points. And what is the chemical equation for...
(Ms. Money-Sterling buzzes in)
Ms. Money-Sterling: I've got a Porsche. Hee hee!
Bambi: (pause) Yes, well that's not exactly what I've got written on the card, but I knew your father, so Footlights lead by 25 points.
Ms. Money-Sterling: Daddy sends hugs. Hee hee!

-- Bambi (2.1), The Young Ones

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