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Produced with Robert Linsley

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Among the greatest discoveries human reason has made in recent times is, in my opinion, the art of reviewing books without having read them.

Zouzou took up a position close to the net, while I resigned that place to my partner, a girl with a yellowish complexion and green eyes, and kept to the back of the court in concentrated alertness. Zouzou's partner, the small cousin, served first, hard. Springing toward the ball, I managed, with beginner's luck, to return it with great speed and precision, so that Zouzou remarked: "Well, now!" After that I was guilty of a lot of nonsense -- energetic leaping back and forth to conceal my total lack of skill -- and this benefitted our opponents; in a spirit of sheer bravado I also made sport of the game, seeming to take nothing seriously, and played jokes and tricks with the bouncing ball which aroused as much merriment in the onlookers as my hopeless errors. All this did not prevent my occasionally performing feats of pure genius which contrasted bafflingly with my obvious lack of skill and made the latter look like simple carelessness or an attempt to conceal my true abilities. Now and then I astonished the gallery by serves of uncanny speed, by returning a volley, by repeated impossible gets -- all of which I owed to the physical inspiration of Zouzou's presence. I can still see myself receiving a deep forehand drive, one leg extended, the other knee bent, which must have made a very handsome picture, for it earned me applause from the gallery; I see myself leaping incredibly high, to the accompaniment of bravos and hand-clapping, to smash back a ball that had gone way over my partner's head -- and there were other wild and inspired triumphs as well.

There is really nothing easier than running an elevator; it can be mastered in almost no time. As I was very pleased with myself in my handsome livery and as many a glance from those members of the beau monde who rode up and down with me showed they were pleased too; as, moreover, I took genuine pleasure in my new name, the work at first was decidedly fun. But, child's play though it was in itself, when one had been at it with only short interruptions from seven in the morning until nearly midnight it could become decidedly fatiguing.

"Permit me at last, madame, to relieve you of your burdens and carry them to your room."

Thereupon I took her packages from her one by one and followed her down the corridor, simply abandoning my lift. She opened number 23 on the left and preceded me into her bedroom, from which a door opened into the salon. A luxurious bedroom it was, with a hardwood floor, on which lay a large Persian rug, cherrywood furniture, a glittering array of articles on the toilet table, a wide brass bedstead with satin coverlet, and a grey silk chaise-lounge. On this and on the glass-topped tables I deposited the packages while madam took off her beret and opened her fur jacket.

"My maid is not here" she said, "Her room is on the floor above. Would you make your kindness complete by helping me out of this thing?"

"With great pleasure," I replied, starting to work. While I was engaged in removing the silk-lined fur, warm from her shoulders, she turned her head. One ringlet of her thick brown hair, whitened before its time, stood out impudently over her forehead; widening her eyes briefly and then narrowing them in a dreamy, swimming look, she spoke these words:

"You are undressing me, daring menial?"

An incredible woman and very articulate!

Taken aback, but full of determination, I managed to reply: "Would God, madame, that time permitted me to accept that interpretation and go on as long as I liked with this enchanting occupation!"

"You have no time for me?"

"Unhappily not at this moment, madame. My elevator is waiting. It stands open while people upstairs and down are ringing for it, and perhaps there's a crowd standing in front of it on this floor. I shall lose my job if I neglect it any longer."

"But you would have time for me~Wif you had time for me?"

"An endless amount, madame!"

"When will you have time for me?" she asked, alternating the sudden widening of her eyes and the swimming look, and she moved close to me in her blue-grey tailored suit.

"At eleven o'clock I shall be off duty," I replied softly.

"I shall wait for you then," she said in the same tone. "Here is my pledge!"

And before I knew what she was about, my head was between her hands and her mouth on mine in a kiss that went quite far -- far enough to make it an unusually binding pledge.

I must certainly have been somewhat pale as I put her fur jacket, which I still had in my hand, on the chaise-lounge and withdrew. Three persons were in fact waiting bewilderedly in front of the open lift. I had to make my apologies to them not only for my absence, due to an important errand, but also because, before taking them down, I first had to go to the fourth floor, whence there had been a summons but where now there was no one. Downstairs I had to listen to abuse for interrupting traffic. Against this I defended myself by explaining that I had been compelled to accompany to her room a lady suddenly overcome with faintness.

Laughter is the revelation of the double.

Reflection theory was originally developed to describe the nineteenth century realist novel; I don't believe it has ever been applied to the visual arts.

In order to find something very many, perhaps most people first have to know it is there.

In these empty rooms, all hollowed out by the shadowiness of solitude, rooms that only a short time ago had been filled with talk and fellowship, penetrating to the innermost core of the soul, the distinction between physical separation and mental presence was gradually lost.

And then one day Ulrich stopped wanting to be a young man of promise. That was the way the time had changed, like a day that begins with a brilliant blue sky and quietly hazes over; and it had not had the kindness to wait for Ulrich. One finds, for instance, that there is more artistic achievement in a printed reproduction than in an oil-painting done by hand, well, the fact is that there is a kind of truth in this too...and a thorough-going platitude always has more humanity in it than a new discovery.

The creation of artificial petty mysteries is a symptom of the disappearance of metaphysical anxiety.

He who would resort to a poison in order to think would soon be incapable of thinking without the poison.

O Nobly-born! Do not be distracted -- listen without wavering. The eight Gauri goddesses will emerge from your brain and appear to you.

God may be great, but he is also late.

The novel form more frankly admits, indeed embraces, the instability of art and the invincible variety, contingency and scarcely communicable frightfulness of life. The novel is, as it were full of holes through which it communicates with life, and life flows in and out of it. This openness is compatible with elaborate form. Characters in novels partake of the funniness and absurdity and contingent incompleteness and lack of dignity of people in ordinary life. We read here both the positive being of individuals and also their lack of formal wholeness. We are, as real people, unfinished and full of blankness and jumble; only in our illusionary fantasy are we complete.

There are no 'real' doubles in my novels.

An artist can never be too stupid, but a collector has to be pretty smart.

Goethe added that the idea of the whole, which turned upon aristocracy and democracy, was far from being of universal interest.

If the question is that of the relationship of parts to a larger totality, it is clear that montage is permanently haunted by the notion of the fully unified and integrated work. Any collection of disparate materials, no matter how arbitrarily arranged, forms a new totality as soon as its boundaries are defined. Since the separate parts only acquire meaning through their relation to each other, even if these relationships do not have the character of "necessity," this inorganic whole is still a whole.

I am reminded of a bumper sticker I saw in Australia a long time ago. It read "Reunite Gondwanaland." I thought it clever at the time, for I read it as a kind of geomorphic fantasy with political connotations. I think it was a piss take of post-colonial developments between Africa and Europe or Australia and Asia, I can't remember exactly.

There are four illusions:
a religious illusion that a work has presence
an organic illusion that a work has unity
a rhetorical illusion that a work has form
a metaphysical illusion that a work has meaning

Presence is a faith, unity is a mistake, form is a metaphor and meaning is an arbitrary and now repetitious metaphysics. ...Alas, an artwork has nothing and creates nothing. It's presence is a promise, part of the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It's unity is in the good will of its viewer. It's form is another version of the inside/outside metaphor of the dualizing Post-Cartesian West, which means that form in art is always merely a change in perspective. Finally, its meaning is just that there is, or was, another work. A work is a substitution for a lost first chance, which pragmatically means for another work. Substitution, whatever it becomes in life, is in art primarily a rhetorical process, which returns us to the primacy of the trope.

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Released and channeled through True Mirror tracking site at www.sinisterdexter.org, 23 March 2008.

Posted 23 March 2008 19:55:09

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