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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Marz-upon A Time...

I really need to curb my sweet tooth, it's getting a little ridiculous.

Can I tell you how much I love literary crossover? Will you let me? Well...

In The Possibility of An Island, Houellebecq writes:

It was recommended to humans, wherever possible, that they end up with a complete life story, before they died, in accordance with the belief, widespread at the time, that the last moments of life might be accompanied by some kind of revelation. The example cited most often was that of Marcel Proust, whose first reflex upon sensing death's approach was to rush to the manuscript of Remembrance of Things Past in order to note his impressions of dying... Very few, in practice, had this courage (Houellebecq, 63).

Yesterday, while doing my obligatory evening workday wrap-up putz on the Internet I found this supplemental reading blog (to In Search of Lost Time) titled The Cork-Lined Room. How felicitous it was to discover the blog as the group was discussing, in its most current posts, Proust's thoughts on growing old! Dennis Abrams quotes the following passage:

And now I began to understand what old age was — old age, which perhaps of all the realities is the one of which we preserve for longest in our life a purely abstract conception, looking at calendars, dating our letters, seeing our friends marry and then in their turn the children of our friends, and yet, either from fear or from sloth, not understanding what all this means, until the day when we behold an unknown silhouette, like that of M. d’Argencourt, which teaches us that we are living in a new world; until the day when a grandson of a woman we once knew, a young man whom instinctively we treat as a contemporary of ours, smiles as though we were making fun of him because to him it seems that we are old enough to be his grandfather — and I began to understand too what death meant and love and the joys of the spiritual life, the usefulness of suffering, a vocation, etc. For if names had lost most of their individuality for me, words on the other hand now began to reveal their full significance. The beauty of images is situated in front of things, that of ideas behind them. So that the first sort of beauty ceases to astonish us as soon as we have reached the things themselves, but the second is something that we understand only when we have passed beyond them (Proust, Time Regained).

This blog is really great. Abrams provides such insight and links to very interesting sources like this article I read yesterday on consciousness as explained by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

To wrap the whole crossover thing up... I happened to read (and then re-read!) The Paris Review's interview with Jean Cocteau in 1963 about two days ago, which was conducted just months before Cocteau's passing. Here, he briefly reminisces on his acquaintance with Marcel, as he calls him, as well as Picasso... But it's moving to read his reflections; they're a mini journey of a man's life which "bridged two epochs (Proust and Rostand to Picasso and Stravinsky)". William Fifield really steered this interview toward a compendious outcome. Much like Cocteau quotes Madame Colette for saying poets don't have to read each other, rather they can just feel each other, I very much perceived the deep level of sensitivity and perspicacity that accompanied his responses and observations.

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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