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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Literature

"Nothing endures except change; nothing is constant except death. Every heartbeat wounds us, and life would be an eternal bleeding to death, were it not for literature. It grants us what nature does not: a golden time that doesn't rust, a springtime that never wilts, cloudless happiness and eternal youth." 
Ludwig Börne

2 comments:

  1. I know a permanent reader of this blog (Hallo, dear mother!), who lives in and by literature more than in and by real life.

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  2. In this quote Börne does not distinguish clearly between life itself and the life of a person.

    Literature has very much the character of a mirror of time. In an epoch of acceleration the updating character of literature has become important in unprecedent manner, in order to bear the continuous changes.

    This began in the 19th century I suppose. Stendhal and Nietzsche explicitly stated they would be understood only in the future.

    Yet the timelessness persists at the center of the wheel and is more conciliatory than the expression of the ephemeral aspects. If I had to choose 10 books, one would be certainly Helmut Genaust's dictionary of botanic names, several field guides I would choose (on stones, flowers, birds, insects, mushrooms...). My best cookbook I would take. Only then I would choose one to three books of literature.

    This, for what concerns my life. For what concerns life itself, even Linné's system isn't eternal. Timelessness is only slowness. And I am unfortunately eptimaios bradypus, and I love Slow Food.

    Literature reflects time and tries to reflect nature. The language itself lasts longer than literature, did exist before literature. And I have a special love for orality (may be Walter Ong's book would remove one of the 3 pieces of literature). The nuraghe in Sardinia are still there, but not the protosardian language. Yet Sardinia's ctonic intensity is immensely healing. Nature always has the last word.

    The rules ruling over the changes have long lasting constants.

    When they asked him, which were his favorite book, Brecht answered "You won't believe it, but it is the bible". Börne said, he had been hating Goethe ever since he was feeling and that he knew why ever since he was thinking. I am hating Brecht ever since I am feeling. But one of my favorite poems is written by him.

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