Archive for November, 2019

Turn aside from the somewhat narrow path of poetry and take the still narrower one of knight-errantry

November 29, 2019

“I do not know whether I have told you already,” said Don Quixote, as he took leave of Don Lorenzo, “but if so I tell you again that, if you would spare yourself fatigue and toil in reaching the inaccessible summit of the temple of fame, all you need do is turn aside from the somewhat narrow path of poetry and take the still narrower one of knight-errantry. It is wide enough, however, to make you an emperor in the twinkling of an eye.” (Don Quixote, Book 2 chapter 18. Revised Ormsby translation.)


-No sé si he dicho a vuesa merced otra vez, y si lo he dicho lo vuelvo a decir, que cuando vuesa merced quisiere ahorrar caminos y trabajos para llegar a la inacesible cumbre del templo de la Fama, no tiene que hacer otra cosa sino dejar a una parte la senda de la poesía, algo estrecha, y tomar la estrechísima de la andante caballería, bastante para hacerle emperador en daca las pajas. [here]

November 29, 2019

ngrams: garbage can,recycling bin,bottled water ; dump,dumpster,landfill

November 28, 2019

” L’opium est la seule substance végétale qui nous communiqué l’etat végétal. Par lui nous avons une idee de cette autre vitesse des plantes.” (Cocteau as quoted by Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave.)

More Ngrams: nuclear power,solar energy

November 25, 2019

This is kind of interesting: nuclear is more associated with the word ‘power’ than with the word ‘energy’ (here) and solar more associated with the word ‘energy’ than with the word ‘power’ (here), though I suppose it is in part explained by the fact that we use ‘nuclear power’ to denote both energy derived from nuclear reactions and countries possessed of nuclear armaments, while there is no corresponding tic in usage in the case of solar that I can think of.

But what might be the reason for the huge divergence in mentions of power and energy circa 1980? –power over energy with respect to nuclear and energy over power with respect to solar? The oil crisis must be involved but I can’t think of why. Wind power,wind energy occurrences are also elevated in 1980 but there isn’t the same divergence between the two. Nor does power,energy tell us much: ‘energy’ reached its apex during the crisis, while ‘power’ was drifting towards its lows.

Tables with legs in the air

November 25, 2019

An interesting insight of Matisse found in Danchev’s Cezanne, a Life:

“The life of the artist is often a trial to the wife of the artist as Matisse himself remarked: ‘As for me, I remain an old fool, as Madame Paul Cezanne called her husband. They tell me that Madame Pissarro said the same of her husband. These women of humble origins had served their husbands according to their lights, judging their heroes as if they were simple carpenters who had taken it into their heads to make tables with legs in the air.’ Matisse was right. Even the humble and colossal Pissarro was accused of being a pie-in-the-sky fantasist by the long-suffering stout-hearted Julie. Hortense was in good company, company not confined to women of humble origins.“

Nora Barnacle, maybe, of a similar stripe.

French and English Proust Passages

November 22, 2019

Grouping of the passages from La Reserche I looked into —

On Art, Writing

Pouvoir être éclaircie, elle qu’on vit dans les ténèbres
Une Patrie Inconnue
Si l’art n’est que cela, il n’est pas plus réel que la vie
Ce milieu que nous ne voyons pas
Le gisement lui-même
(Knowledge and Art)

On Behavior / General

les autruches humaines
Le ton dubitatif pour les résolutions irrévocables
Water Lily passage (stupidity multiplier)
,,,parce que nous mourons nous-mêmes
Ces hécatombes de régiments anéantis
le défilé d’une armée compacte
Une sanglante barrière

Ngrams: creepy,creeped out, et al.

November 18, 2019

ngrams viewer: creeped out ; creeped out, creeps me out, creeped me out ; creepy, spooky ; creepy, spooky, scary ; creepy , spooky, scary, weird ; creepy, spooky, scary, weird, bizarre ; creepy, spooky, scary,weird, bizarre, strange; creepy man, creepy woman, creepy dude, creepy person (Maybe interesting, ngrams returns no results for creepy animals of various sorts. Creepy spider ; creepy spider, creepy insect; creepy spider, creepy insect, creepy bug. creepy, creeped out).

WOW: creepy guy is way more popular than creepy man and creepy dude: creepy dude,creepy guy,creepy man. Creepy gal ‘is not found’ but creepy boy is: creepy boy,creepy man.

November 16, 2019

“Je n’étais pas un seul homme, mais le défilé heure par heure d’une armée compacte où il y avait, selon le moment, des passionnés, des indifférents, des jaloux — des jaloux dont pas un n’était jaloux de la même femme.” [Albertine Disparue 92]

“Les changements de l’atmosphère en provoquent d’autres dans l’homme intérieur, réveillent des « moi » oubliés, contrarient l’assoupissement de l’habitude, redonnent de la force à tels souvenirs, à telles souffrances.” [Albertine Disparue 93]

November 15, 2019

Was trying to remember the exact wording and provenance of this phrase through much of today:

I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

Here. Given the current political situation, it is refreshing, too, to find a distinction made between official duty and personal wish, particularly in a case where the latter is of a more generous kind than the former.

November 13, 2019

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November 11, 2019

Written on the Wind, with its sports cars and oil rigs and derricks, reminds me very much of similar scenes from La Dolce Vita, made some four years later –the scene where Marcello and his girlfriend have a spat in the industrial park. (Oil rig replica conclusion of this movie also striking.)