Thursday, February 20, 2014

Imagine a literature of power without force

   The suggestion has
   been reported many
   times. But who can
   ever have prepared
   for freckles to be
   hot in monochrome? 
   The effect recalls
   Homer's imagery in
   the Iliad, and one
   can never think of
   its power, without
   Simone Weil's per-
   ception of its or-
   igin in force. The
   discovery of power
   in other means has
   the same parentage
   but is less common.

       The great and characteristic
       point with him was the per-
       fect separateness of his sen-
       sibility. He never saw him-
       self as part of a whole; only 
       as the clear-cut, sharp-edged,
       isolated individual, rejoicing
       or raging, as the case might 
       be, but needing in any case 
       absolutely to affirm himself.

       All this to Rowland was ancient
       history, but his perception of
       it stirred within him afresh at
       the sight of Roderick's sense
       of having been betrayed.

Roderick Hudson
Harper & Brothers, 1960©


  1. "Roderick Hudson" appeared as a serial in The Atlantic. Amazing to consider this to have been his answer to the question of whether to risk his work in the perishable medium; but at the same time, its subscription base meant that it would be seen by persons who didn't directly "demand" to read it. Something about blogging with imagery involves this cultivation of a subscriber base, of persons who don't directly demand to read the text. The cultivation is not for the base, it's for the communication, and for the projection of a frame a little richer than book covers, for those who chance to read. This, thank you for suggesting, and for nudging one to appreciate, I do think he would approve.