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Previously: Why I Hate the Huffington Post (Part 1)
“All advertising ages into sinister indictments of our culture.”
-Guy Davenport (“Civilization and its Opposite in the 1940s,” from The Hunter Gracchus: And Other Papers on Literature and Art)
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John Harbison - Scene II: Circe (from Ulysses)
“Within the forest glades they found the house of Circe, built of polished stone in a place of wide outlook, and round about it were mountain wolves and lions, whom Circe herself had bewitched; for she gave them evil drugs. Yet these beasts did not rush upon my men, but pranced about them fawningly, wagging their long tails. And as when hounds fawn around their master as he comes from a feast, for he ever brings them bits to soothe their temper, so about them fawned the stout-clawed wolves and lions; but they were seized with fear, as they saw the dread monsters. So they stood in the gateway of the fair-tressed goddess, and within they heard Circe singing with sweet voice, as she went to and fro before a great imperishable web, such as is the handiwork of goddesses, finely-woven and beautiful, and glorious.”
-Homer (The Odyssey Book 10: 210-224, trans. A.T. Murray)
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Pavel Tchelitchew - Cache Cache [Hide and Seek] (1940-42)
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
-T.S. Eliot (“Little Gidding,” from The Four Quartets)
Chekhov told me once, “You know, I recently visited Tolstoy in Gaspra. He was bedridden due to illness. Among other things, he spoke about me and my works. Finally, when I was about to say goodbye he took my hand and said, ‘Kiss me goodbye.’ While I bent over him and he was kissing me, he whispered in my ear in a still energetic, old man’s voice, ‘You know, I hate your plays. Shakespeare was a bad writer, and I consider your plays even worse than his.’”
-Peter Gnedich, “Memories,” from The Book of Life (1922)
(quoted in Memories of Chekhov, ed. Sekirin)
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Lacquer flakes, bone-dust and water
made this vermilion color;
And fearful, ancient stains
bloomed on this bronze arrowhead.
Its white feathers and gold rings
have now gone with the rain,
Leaving only this angular wolf's tooth.
Riding the plain with a pair of horses,
I found it, east of the courier station,
among the weeds.
The long wind shortened the day,
while a few stars shivered,
And damp clouds like black banners
were hoisted in the night.
Thin demons and ghosts sang
to the left and the right.
I offered them pressed mutton and cream,
And crickets were silent, wild geese ill and reeds turned red.
The spirit of the whirlwind spat emerald fire
to bid me farewell.
I stowed it away with my tears.
Its point, crimson and crooked,
once bit into flesh.
In various districts, young riders ask me
Why I don't sell it to buy firewood.
-Li He (790-816 AD) [trans. A.C. Graham]
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The High Llamas - “Barny Mix” (from Beet Maize & Corn)
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