Saturday, December 29, 2018


In Drawn and Quartered by E.M. Cioran, I noticed the the paragraph
The real writer writes about beings, things, events, he does not write about writing, he uses words but does not linger over them, making them the object of his ruminations. He will be anything and everything except an anatomist of the Word. Dissection of language is the fad of those who, having nothing to say, confine themselves to saying.
 That recalls Flann O'Brien, who wrote
Yes. Twenty years ago, most of us were tortured by the inadequacy of even the most civilized, the most elaborate, the most highly developed languages to the exigencies of human thought,  to the nuances of inter-psychic communion, to the the expression of the silent agonised pathologies of the post-Versailles epoch....
As far as I remember, I founded the Rathmines branch of the Gaelic league. Having nothing to say, I thought at that time that it was important to revive a distant language in which nothing could be said.
Yet is Cioran correct? The dangers of Alexandrianism lie on one side, yes. But on the other side there lie the dangers of too much trust in words and language to do what one counts on them to do, the possibility of thinking that one is writing something original when one is repeating the gestures of a writer of fifty or a hundred years ago.

Drawn and Quartered, I will add, has the wonderful paragraph
"A taste for the extraordinary is characteristic of mediocrity." (Diderot) . . . And we are still amazed that the Enlightenment had no understanding of Shakespeare.

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