Monday 03 March 2003

The cost of things

He remembered Alejandra and the sadness he’d first seen in the slope of her shoulders which he’d presumed to understand and of which he knew nothing and he felt a loneliness he’d not known since he was a child and he felt wholly alien to the world although he loved it still. He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

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Comments

Shouldn't this be BLOCKQUOTEd? :P

Posted by Kris on 4 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

You're right, Kris. I fixed it. I didn't like the idea of indented text directly after a heading. But it looks fine. Thanks!

Posted by Jonathon on 4 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Either I'm illiterate, can't appreciate "real" prose, or that's a big run-on sentence which ultimately make no damn sense, along with two others, one of which seems to have a singular/plural agreement problem.

Posted by Jeffe on 8 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Oh good lord. A lovely piece of writing and one worries about CSS and the other worries about rules of grammar.

Sorry, Jonathon, to ripple your pond, and apologies for being snippy at Kris and Jeffe, but these comments just provided the perfect proof of something I've had in the works this week, Must finish this weekend I suppose.

Posted by Shelley on 8 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Go ahead and ripple, Shelley -- the irony intended in my response to the first comment wasn't sufficiently obvious.

Interesting that posts about "whether I should buy a Macintosh" and "using the LANG attribute correctly" elicit a passionate conversation whereas three sentences by one of the greatest contemporary American prose stylists, expressing a profoundly disturbing idea, are trivialized.

Posted by Jonathon on 8 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Jeffe: IMO, the second sentence uses 'were' instead of 'was' to imply not only the direct meaning of the sentence, that the beauty of the world hides a secret, but also a second sentence: "The beauties of the world were hid." As well, it makes the reader pause before the next line, and probably re-read the sentence.

At least, those are the reasons that occurred to me. They may not be the ones McCarthy had, and there may be others.

Thank you for posting this, Jonathon. I think I'll read the book.

Posted by Skarl on 9 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Kawabata's "Snow Country" is an old favorite of mine... I discovered him as an undergraduate through "The Master of Go", a book purchased during the dismal period when I was attempting to learn Go... Kawabata has an icy beauty to his writing that I always sigh over... And I wonder: do you see a certain sympathy of style and attitude that connects Musil and Italo Svevo to their Meiji contemporaries?

I've not read "The Battle of Hamburg" yet. I hope to pair it with Neilland's "The Bomber War"...

It does please me no end that I've acquired Royall Tyler's translation of the Genji and the new translation of "Man Without Qualities" all in the last year...

Posted by Lohr on 23 March 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

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