credos: proust, eliot, blake, mccarthy

 

the method: t.s. eliot, “these fragments I have shored against my ruins . . .”  

 

One must never miss an opportunity of quoting things by others which are always more interesting than those one thinks up oneself.

— Marcel Proust, Selected Letters

  

  

 

the motive: william blake, “the marriage of heaven and hell”  

 

The judge wrote on and then he folded the ledger shut and laid it to one side and pressed his hands together and passed them down over his nose and mouth and placed them palm down on his knees. 

 

Whatever exists, he said. Whateverin creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent. 

 

He looked about at the dark forest in which they were bivouacked. He nodded toward the specimens he’d collected. These anonymous creatures, he said, may seem little or nothing in the world. Yet the smallest crumb can devour us. Any smallest thing beneath yon rock out of men’s knowing. Only nature can enslave man and only when the existence of each last entity is routed out and made to stand naked before him will he be properly suzerain of the earth. 

 

What’s a suzerain?

 

A keeper. A keeper or overlord.

 

Why not say keeper then?

 

Because he is a special kind of keeper. A suzerain rules even where there are other rulers. His authority countermands local judgements.

 

Toadvine spat.

 

The judge placed his hands on the ground. He looked at his inquisitor. This is my claim, he said. And yet everywhere upon it are pockets of autonomous life. Autonomous. In order for it to be mine nothing must be permitted to occur upon it save by my dispensation.

 

Toadvine sat with his boots crossed before the fire. No man can aquaint himself with everything on this earth, he said.

 

The judge tilted his great head. The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.

 

I don’t see what that has to do with catchin birds.

 

The freedom of birds is an insult to me. I’d have them all in zoos.

 

That would be a hell of a zoo.

 

The judge smiled. Yes, he said. Even so.

 

—Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West

 

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3 Comments

  1. Hi. Your blog is the best thing i’ve come across in ages. Who the hell are you?

    • Thank you for your very kind words. I post stuff that I can read later, while trapped in my cubicle at work, trapped in my car in traffic, or generally just trapped somewhere without a book at hand. As for who I am, I have made the same inquiry of my court-appointed team of psychiatrists. Their response was a paraphrase of Borges — “like Shakespeare, you are everyone and hence no one. Except Shakespeare was a genius in poetry, prose, narrative, drama, pyschology — you name it — and you are a talentless hack… ” I live in Toronto. You?

      • I found your livejournal with the bio since. I’m a computer science phd student in Ireland.

        I found the blog originally cos i was reading blood meridian and googling it. I share many of your interests, especially mccarthy, john gray, nietzsche, schopenhauer, eliot, Salinger (nine stories) even Sebastion Barry (love Engleby)… i suppose “naturalist” is the best way to describe it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)

        anyway, you don’t seem to have many readers judging by the lack of comments, but I love it. Keep it up, please.

        By the way, when the Kid was hiding, near the end, with Tobin, and he had a clear shot at the judge, twice, don’t you think it’s a little unrealistic that he didn’t take it…. the Kid was pragmatic above all…


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