Archive for August, 2015

August 28, 2015

Whitman was the self without objectification (true); Flaubert was the objectification without the self (very true); Joyce was the self, in history, through literature (true again); Proust was the self, as memory, and through literature (quite so); Kafka was the self, as dream, and through literature (yes); Beckett was the self, as daydream, in the present, and through history, as well as literature, (yes — of course yes.)


August 28, 2015

Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.

[…] Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher

Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand (Give me a condor’s quill)

August 23, 2015

One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan? Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor’s quill! Give me Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms! For in the mere act of penning my thoughts of this Leviathan, they weary me, and make me faint with their outreaching comprehensiveness of sweep, as if to include the whole circle of the sciences, and all the generations of whales, and men, and mastodons, past, present, and to come, with all the revolving panoramas of empire on earth, and throughout the whole universe, not excluding its suburbs. Such, and so magnifying, is the virtue of a large and liberal theme! We expand to its bulk. To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.

chirography. Moby Dick, chapter 104.


August 22, 2015

For anyone interested in the Sorrentino Concordance, this is a list of the “citations” I made for each of the chapter titles. I made one for each title heading. So, if the concordance says that the Pearl Homburg appears in the “Pearl Homburg” chapter, there will be a link there to the citation below for both the chapters titled “Pearl Homburg”. I did it this way because I didn’t have the text to link to, and because this could be useful in making comparisons between chapters of the same name. (Do chapters of the same name feature themes of the same type? etc.) Note: a lot of these citations served mainly as placeholders and could use a little work.


(1.1) IN THE BEDROOM (2.18)
(1.2.)…….. SUCCESS ……..(2.8)
(1.3)….. BORN AGAIN …..(2.13)
(1.4)……….. LOVERS*……..(2.4)
(1.5)….ANOTHER STORY….(2.3)
(1.7)PAIR OF DEUCES(2.5)
(1.8)….. IN DREAMS*…….(2.11)
(1.9)……ON THE ROOF…..(2.16)
(1.10)A FAMILIAR*WOMAN(2.15)
(1.11)…. IN THE DINER ….(2.23)
(1.12) …….HAPPY DAYS……. (2.1)
(1.14). ROCKEFELLER C.. (2.19)
(1.16). SMALL ADVENTURE. (1.9)
(1.17)..AN. S.ADVENTURE..(2.20)
(1.18)….. COLD SUPPER (2.6)
(1.19) P.G. HOMBURG (2.10)
(1.20) AN APARTMENT (2.7)
(1.21) SAT. AFTERNOON (2.21)
(1.22) …. THE JUNGLE ….(2.17)
(1.23)…….. SNOW …………(2.25)
(1.24)………… RAIN …………(2.25)
(1.25)……The ALPINE…… (2.22)
(1.26) …… A WAKE …… (2.26)

Dan Green’s remarks about Sorrentino (which inspired the concordance) can be found here. I also came upon this essay online by Joseph Conte, which drops the interesting hint that the fifty-two chapters strongly suggest a deck of cards (cards also being prominently featured in Strange Commonplace) a cut deck, you could even say. That idea has made me wonder if the chapters can be further grouped into suits of four — but I haven’t tried looking yet.

assorted amheric

August 20, 2015

sebaga — friction
etelle-medo — the usual
arb — friday
bado nahoo? — is it empty?

sahan — plate
shuka — fork
imagay — take care
mnalbat — maybe

alle mar — where’s the honey?
boona beza — too much coffee
ferung megib — white food
kolf –key
metallo — I’ll be back.

Iliad 111-112

August 10, 2015

U 111-112

ὣς εἰπὼν ἔμπνευσε μένος μέγα ποιμένι λαῶν,
βῆ δὲ διὰ προμάχων κεκορυθμένος αἴθοπι χαλκῷ.


As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his people, and he strode in full armor among the ranks of the foremost fighters.

This is Apollo breathing courage into Aeneas. A more literal translation might, I think, be:

So speaking he inspired the shepherd of the people with great might then helmeted in gleaming bronze he strode among the foremost fighters .

AgainSo saying he breathed great might into the shepherd of the host, and he strode amid the foremost fighters, harnessed in flaming bronze.

August 7, 2015

unmew / mew / mews — Keats (Endymion):

………… But let a portion of ethereal dew
………… Fall on my head, and presently unmew
………… My soul

August 2, 2015

Terrorists don’t think like army generals; they think like theatre producers…. (guardian).. this struck me as an important distinction but I can’t say why exactly, even excluding the idea of terrorism. — That is, how do generals think versus theater producers? (I suppose one creates a result –the bridge is taken– whereas the other creates an effect — it is “just like” the bridge has been taken.) And by (theatrically) beheading a number of people, it is “just like” the theater producers have achieved a tactical objective, “just like” they’ve landed a significant military blow.

Moderation as Fear

August 2, 2015

La modération est une crainte de tomber dans l’envie et dans le mépris que méritent ceux qui s’enivrent de leur bonheur ; c’est une vaine ostentation de la force de notre esprit ; et enfin la modération des hommes dans leur plus haute élévation est un désir de paraître plus grands que leur fortune.

Moderation is a fear of falling into the envy and contempt that those who are drunk on their happiness merit; it’s a vain ostentation of the force of our spirit; and, finally, the moderation of men in their most high elevation is a desire to appear still greater than their fortune.


to translate this with extreme liberty (my reading of it more than my translation) … moderation is a fear of being held in contempt as one who can’t control himself; moderation is a vain ostentation (for of course one can control oneself — but so what); and, in short, people prefer to present themselves as moderate than to, the appearances be damned, satisfy their desires.

August 1, 2015

The exchange between India and Bangladesh means that the world will not only lose one of its most unique borders, but it will also lose the only third-order enclave in the world – an enclave surrounded by an enclave surrounded by an enclave surrounded by another state. [POST]


El Salvador’s murder rate is among the highest in the world. Last month, a record 677 murders took place in the relatively small Central American country, making it the deadliest month since the nation’s brutal civil war ended in the early 1990s. During the first six months of 2015, there were 2,965 murders, up from 1,840 for the same period in 2014.… [POST]