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Showing posts from October, 2006

Inconsistent information

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The logic exam in Bari didn't go too badly after all... which made me think that logic in itself is a bit like walking: not so natural for our species, but doable and doable rather well, if the right circumstances arise. Even the best of us seem to be prone to lapses. Take Yourcenar 's famous Oeuvre au Noir (Paris: Gallimard, 1968). Within thirty pages or so one of the characters, Dolet, dies twice, and of different deaths, if I'm not mistaken. On p. 151 we read (apologies for the missing accents): "Dolet ... mon libraire ... il n'ent pas l'occasion d'essayer de ma dragee, s'etant fait depecher a Venise dans une ruelle obscure par le meme spadassin qui l'avait manque en France. " But on p. 185: "Depuis qu' Etienne Dolet, san premier libraire, avait ete etrangle et gete au feu pour opinions subversives, Zenon n'avait plus publie en France." Tzt... tzt... tzt... it looks like Mdme Yourcenar will not pass the logic test eithe

Buzzati: Waiting for some news

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To some, paradise, should there be one, is the ultimate library (recall the library scenes from Wim Wenders's Der Himmel ueber Berlin ?). Perennially at the end of a never-ending afternoon, when honey light, warm and thick, percolates through its windows, the lamps already on but still almost unnecessary, the scent of books, leather and wood, a fireplace, angelic librarians silently walking among the shelves... In this library, there are millions of texts, and each of them is worth reading. There is no hurry, no shortage of copies, no lack of comfortable space, no noise nor vandalism. We read and re-read them, we sail across this sea with favorable, gentle winds, following footnotes and curious associations, exploring islands, joining paths unsuspected, diving in corners unexplored. And then, meeting occasionally but purposefully, drinking and eating and listening, we converse (not talk, not chat), lightly but not frivolously, about them with other readers, enthralled by semantic

Cocteau and his missed bit of information

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I just realised it has been many weeks since I last wrote an entry... too much traveling since I came back from Chicago (UK - Italy - Sweden - Italy - Spain - Spain again - Italy - UK - Italy), too much work. The usual life of a godless monk. I recently read in Cocteau's The difficulty of Being ( La difficulte d'etre ) that he most admired two heroines: Antigone and Joan of Arc . I can only sympathize, but Cocteau does not expand on this, so one is left wondering why such an interesting choice. These are two extraordinary embodiments of the Normative. Antigone and Joan of Arc are, in different contexts, but to the same degree, the implementation of the ultimate pereat mundus . It is as if Cocteau were saying that he was fascinated by the goddess of Duty. And yet... , and yet... When Cocteau revisited Greek mythology with his surrealist taste, he opted for Orpheus ( The Orphic Trilogy is a collection of three films in Jean Cocteau's Ĺ“uvre: Blood of a Poet , Orphee , a