Tuesday, 27 May 2008
A new book reveals that a lot of Proust's translations of Ruskin were actually done by his mum. Proust's command of English was nowhere near as good as Mrs Proust's so she did them for him and he just polished them up a bit.
"Can you even begin to imagine what the living conditions are like in some of those tenement blocks above the Paris Arcades? A consumptive is spitting blood and choking to death in a first floor flat below the glass roof of the Passage Des Panoramas. The window open, a dust saturated with stale cigarette smoke and cold sweat gradually seeps into the room. The sick man complains that he is suffocating and begs for fresh air; someone runs to open the window - but immediately slams it shut. The only way you could begin to help someone in such a condition would be by taking them as far away as possible from the stench of the arcades."
He told me of the dinner he had given for Marcel Proust and James Joyce, who met each other then for the first and only time. "To keep the conversation going," said Fargue, "was like lifting a dead weight. And i had even taken the precaution of inviting two beautiful women, to soften the force of the collision. But this did not prevent Joyce from vowing, as he took his leave, that he would never again enter a room where he might risk encountering Proust."
"No sooner do you arrive in Paris than you feel rewarded. The resolve not to write about it is futile. You reconstruct the preceding day just like children who reconstruct the table full of presents on Christmas Day. This, too, is a way of expressing your gratitude."
Monday, 26 May 2008
Sunday, 18 May 2008
The time traveling Benjamin finds himself in the 1980's, in rural China, where he meets a beautiful young woman, who tells him her tragic story:-
1. There is no success without recognition
Case 32 - The mill wheel in the hot-air balloon of the church. The red currant.
Case 40 - Lying in the forest stream of the blessing is homologous with sleeping in the bed of the church - the blue rocky pinnacle bathed in light.
From 'Body, Brain, Soul, God' by Madman Carl Gehrmann.
Case 1 - The broken reed is raised up again
Case 7 - Stimulation of the nubes - the starting point for perfecting the form of blueberry - stimulation of the mother of God centers - forget me not - the water level of the day of the lord.
Case 13 - Effect of sweaty feet on the sexual and respiratory systems - a cure implies the harmonious unfolding of the stocking centers - the well of the sacraments.
More Mad Books Tomorrow.....
Thursday, 15 May 2008
What caused so much concern amongst Salech's editors was the fact that for the vast majority of the issue, absolutely nothing happened. Benjamin goes to work, comes home. The issue is filled with the minutiae of daily office work. There was speculation that Salech was working out some of his own personal demons but no rational explanation has ever being found.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Schreber asserts that:
"Only God might approach corpses without danger"
That most people are "casually improvised men"
He talks about "Miracle Dolls" and people who have been "Magicked away"
He is keen on the "Shouting Miracle" which seems to be basically shouting alot to try to make yourself feel better about stuff.
More Mad Books with Walter
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
"Western literature has rarely seen a more radical attempt at self-absorption. Proust's writing has, as its centre a solitude which pulls the world down into it's vortex with the force of a maelstrom. And the over loud and inconceivably hollow chatter which comes roaring out of Proust's novels is the sound of a society plunging into the abyss of this solitude."
Monday, 12 May 2008
Proust sent a letter late one night to one of the women in his social circle:-
Friday, 9 May 2008
"A saying of Casanova's. "She knew," Casanova says of a procuress, "that I would not have the strength to leave without giving her something." A strange statement. What strength was needed to cheat the procuress of her reward? Or, more precisely, what is the weakness on which she can always rely? It is shame. The procuress is venal - in contrast to the customer employing her services, who is ashamed. Filled with shame, he seeks a hiding place and finds one in the most hidden place of all: in money. Insolence throws the first coin down on the table. Shame follows it up with a hundred, in order to cloak it."
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
After completing studies at the University of Frankfurt, Walter planned to emigrate to Palestine in 1924 with his friend Gershom Scholem but was prevented by a love affair with Asja a Latvian actress and Comintern stringer. Lacis whisked him off to the Italian island of Capri, a cult center from the time of the Emperor Tiberius, then used as a Comintern training base; the heretofore apolitical Benjamin wrote Scholem from Capri, that he had found ``an existential liberation and an intensive insight into the actuality of radical communism.''
Later Asja took Benjamin to Moscow for further revolutionary indoctrination, where he met playwright Bertolt Brecht with whom he would begin a long collaboration; soon thereafter, after things with Asja faded out, Benjamin began serious experimentation
Monday, 5 May 2008
Friday, 2 May 2008
He touched on the subject a number of times, but never wrote the big essay he had planned. Prostitutes and Books keep on reoccurring throughout his work, and not least in The Arcades Project, where Prostitutes have a large chapter all to themselves.
It seems Benjamin was fascinated by women of the street, and indeed, it is rumoured that his first sexual encounter was with a Berlin Prostitute.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Lao-tse: "Well now, disciple Kafka, the organisations, the leaseholds and other economics forms in which you live make you uneasy?"
Lao-tse: "You can't cope with them anymore?"
Lao-tse: "A stock certificate worries you?"
Lao-tse: "And now you are looking for a leader to hold on to, disciple Kafka."