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Ceci n’est pas une tragédie

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Françoise Palleau-Papin

Citations en langue originale

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1Page 10:

2(a) Like Markson’s Reader’s Block and his scandalously underrated Wittgenstein’s Mistress, this rigorously experimental work, of the sort that one tends to slog through dutifully, reads as addictively as an airport thriller. This may sound improbable, but Markson succeeds through a masterful use of repetition – of names, places, events, and rhythms – that gives order to what would otherwise be a sprawling miscellany of information.

3(b) Father was a newspaper editor, then a mutual funds salesman. Mother taught high school (business math). House was literate but not literary. I started out as a newspaper reporter when just a kid, drifted toward the more serious stuff on my own.

4Page 11:

5(a) It quite simply knocked me out of my chair. Within a couple of years I’d read it probably half a dozen times. And then finally sent him a letter. Saying God knows what – be my father, or something as asinine. But evidently it did strike the right chord, since one of the first letters I got back ran on for twenty or more s. […] Of course something I didn’t know at the time was that Lowry had written the same sort of letter himself, as an even younger man, to Conrad Aiken. So he was ready to be sympathetic with that “identification” that someone can feel for a given book.

6Page 12:

7(a) But to a good extent they are two substantively different Mexicos, in all truth. Malc’s is charged with all that “dark, brooding history,” all that sort of thing, whereas I think mine is more plugged into ordinary reality. At least some of the time in Going Down a latrine can be a place to take a leak and not necessarily contemplate eternity.

8Page 13:

9(a) And thus it is my conclusion that The Recognitions by William Gaddis is not merely the best American first novel of our time, but perhaps the most significant single volume in all American fiction since Moby Dick, a book so broad in scope, so rich in comedy and so profound in symbolic reference that – (ET, p. 30)

10(b) Lowry was undeniably one of the signifiant influences upon Markson’s own creative life, the most obvious others being Joyce, Dostoyevski and Faulkner. And probably also The Recognitions, which he was championing almost as enthusiastically as the Lowry from about nineteen minutes after it was published.

11Page 14:

12(a) I didn’t get an answer, though I eventually heard secondhand that Gaddis had been too depressed at the time to send one. Or that he’d ultimately decided it was too late. But then sometime in 1961, not long after the Asher incident, I did hear. Six years after the fact, this was, a letter beginning with something like, “Dear David Markson, if I can presume to answer yours of June whatever, 1955”! Which went on to say that Asher was in fact about to do a first reprint.

13Page 15:

14(a) Those crime novels. They weren’t meant as parodies, since I had only one desperately urgent motive in writing them: I had to sell them. They are really pretty derivative of Raymond Chandler, who was the best of those people, by far. But I did try to enjoy myself while writing them. (I simply wasn’t yet getting much serious work done, and those things paid the rent for a time.)

15Page 16:

16(a) Your letter was melancholy, but cannot you use that very uncertainty as to one’s ability as a strength? O’neill (see Long Day’s Journey) thought himself not much use as a writer too. Have you read Isaac Babel? You should. Do you know which stars are which and what bird is flying over your head and what flower blossoming? If you don’t the anguish of not knowing is a very valid field for the artist. Moreover when you learn something it’s a good thing to repossess the position of your original ignorance.

17Page 18:

18(a) How much of myself is in there? It’s all me. especially in Reader’s Block, all that personal stuff re Reader and/or Protagonist, ex-wife, ex-galfriends, children, lack of money, isolation, messed up life, and/or some items dictated by novelistic necessity – and of course there is necessary invention there also, e.g., a house at a cemetery – but even little items like a couple of yellow stones from Masada or a reproduction of Giotto’s Dante – I plucked up whatever was ready at hand. Is that laziness, or is it what they speak of as using what one knows? Take your pick.

19Page 19:

20(a) Tell me news of the Satevepost story, your health, your plans – other work, your comedies and dramas (or I shall have sended a boy to have founded out, señor, whether you are not making more tragedies).

21Page 20:

22(a) Re. Family. My father’s parents came to America way back in the mid1880s, my mother’s in 1900. Both of my parents were born here. Both of my parents were college graduates, ergo, yes, English was naturally spoken at home. I may know perhaps a dozen Yiddish idioms, but so do many new Yorkers who are not even Jewish.

23(b) The Dostoievsky novel I cared about most is The Possessed, sometimes translated in English as The Devils. The first 200 s can be a bore (a satire on Turgenev) – but after that I was always overwhelmed. And just incidentally, Crime and Punishment may have been the first book ever to suggest to me how stunning an experience literature could be; I was 16, I believe, maybe 15. The one time I taught such things (two years only, way back in the mid1960s) I always made my younger students (sophomores) read that – though in part because The Possessed might have been too demanding for them.

24Page 22:

25(a) Kark Marx reread the Oresteia once every year.

26Page 28:

27(a) … and when she was six years old, before her father had died, she’d been lost in the Adirondack Mountains for three days. She’d camped out her share of times since then also.

28Page 29:

29(a) Fannin was rather confused. He had had a bellyful of lunatic junkies, simpering fags, sour writers, greasy gun-punks. Now he had the frustrated old maid sister. The end of a perfect day.

30Page 30:

31(a) You know how hot the nights can get in New York in August; when everybody suffers – like the vagrants in the doorways along Third Avenue without any ice for their muscatel? Or all the needy, underprivileged call girls with no fresh-air fund to get them away from the city streets for the summer? (ET, p. 5)

32Page 31:

33(a) “Got a match, hombre?” I tried to give it more of the John Wayne touch. He grunted, not seeing me. “Beat it, huh?” […] He shoved it at me, starting to turn back.
“Say, thanks. How about a cigarette now?”

34Page 32:

35(a) “Christ. Someone who could even pretend to such terrible anguish that she would deliberately mutilate herself with a burning cigarette. All the acting you’ve done, every minute, so that I thought you were the only normal human being in this whole crew of psychopaths.”

36(b) “Does someone have a cigarette please?” She crossed her legs, waiting. The publisher went over, offering her a Pall Mall.

37(c) One of her eye-brows was raised, and she was pouting, and she definitely had something in mind.

38(d) He flicked a lighter, and my hand went toward his wrist. I never touched him.

39Page 33:

40(a) Since then I’d recited the line-ups of six out of eight National League baseball teams from the early thirties. (ET, p. 5)

41(b) I started doing the linemen of the 1940 Chicago Bears. Stydahar. Artoe. Fortman. Musso. Plasman. Turner. Bray. Wilson. Fortman. Or had I said Fortman? (ET, p. 6)

42Page 34:

43(a) “The book was a gay little thing by Thomas Mann called The Magic Mountain…” (ET, p. 6)

44(b) Lolita, a sad story about a twelve-year-old girl who couldn’t find anyone her age to play with.

45(c) I thought about it most of the day. Nobody came into the office. Nobody called me on the phone. It kept raining. (R. Chandler, The Big Sleep, London, Penguin, p. 121.)

46Page 35

47(a) Nobody came, nobody went. Only Fannin, who paid the rent.

48(b) Still nothing: I had a paperback Book of Quotations on the stand next to the chair and I tried that, stabbing a at random: “the life of man in a state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Thomas Hobbes. And don’t ask me who Thomas Hobbes is, because governess hasn’t come to that part yet. (ET, p. 9)

49Page 36:

50(a) She stood there, clinging to the knob, and all I could do was flip some more s in the book.
A mighty fortress is our god, said Martin Luther. It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees, said emiliano Zapata. Work out your salvation with diligence, said Gautama Buddha. Everyone had something right on the tip of his tongue except Fannin.

51(b) “Listen, Miss Kline, hang on, will you? All of a sudden we’ve got a Laurel and Hardy two-reeler running up here.”

52(c) I’ve got one of those speaker things at the bell, rigged by an electrician who should have been a tuba player, and it sometimes works. Who is it? I said brightly. (ET, p. 7) Page 37:

53Page 37

54(a) She called me something that sounded intimate; like hlmphlmph or phrugg, instead of formal old Fannin. (ET, p. 7)

55(b) Snow White was in the outside corridor now, but She was so tight that even on a level keel she was bumping into dwarfs all over the forest. (ET, p. 8)

56(c) “This is Mrs. Skelly. Is this Mr. Fannin? The detective?” A stranger. Not young, not wealthy, not educated. Probably gray and tarnished, and wearing something cut from shapeless cotton she would call a house dress. There would be a cameo pin.

57Page 38:

58(a) It only took him nine years to decide to go back inside. I’d chewed so much grass by then, tomorrow I’d give milk.

59(b) I might have been talking to myself:
How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
Shoon? Was I going nuts? What the bleeding mother was I thinking about Shakespeare for?

60Page 40:

61(a) I sat around for a couple of hours, disciplining myself by not opening the next bottle until I could manage it without defacing the tax stamp, and trying to make sense out of something called The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot which was the only book in the joint. (ET, p. 14)

62(b) I was getting sick of it, the whole unregenerate, half-assed life I was leading – confined in that grubby town like a remittance man, playing Of Mice and Men with Gink… the romance of exotic Mexico, bones of Aztec emperors under every hill, sun moon stars, and for the same price of admission there was snow on the volcanoes likewise. Back to nature with Henry David Thoreau. Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
You know where they can go?

63Page 41:

64(a) It was the same old bushwa. Our inimitable conglomeration of expatriated misfits and oddballs, guzzling down all the booze Gladys could dish out and looking like escapees from a Samuel Beckett booby hatch.

65(b) “I write them like I see them, dads. He was an old man, like, and he got hung up looking for big fish down there in the Gulf Stream, you know? But like he wasn’t hooking them, and so he dreamed of Joe DiMaggio. You read that book?”

66Page 42:

67(a) He hadn’t really seen me since we’d gotten there, which I supposed explained why he liked Hemingway so much. Hemingway never sees anybody either. (ET, p. 117)

68(b) “You slobs wouldn’t know an experience if it hit you in the face.” (ET, p. 118)

69(c) “Writer,” he said. “If that self-centered phony is a writer then I’m – I’m –” “Marcel Proust,” I said. (ET, p. 118)

70(d) A handsome tanned athlete in an open blue buttondown set aside a fishing lure with all the care of a museum director situating a mobile, then asked me what It would be. I told him old Crow and he had to move a paperback called The Way Some People Die to get at the bottle. That made two of us who didn’t belong.

71Page 43

72(a) She was wearing jeans and a man’s faded denim work shirt, and after the third button the shirt fell like the sheer drop off a precipice.

73Page 45:

74(a) It was so corny I was going to blush when I wrote it in my diary come bedtime.

75(b) That was just a metaphor my blurry little brain had come up with in a hectic moment between all those clients in the last three days.

76(c) “I’ve got what reads like eight or ten thousand dollars’ worth of the stuff sitting on a piano here.”

77Page 46:

78(a) “Darling,” someone muttered. It was me, with all I had left. Words. “Audrey and her roommate aren’t here. We’ve got time, darling. We’ve got time –”

79(b) I crawled to the studio. It didn’t take any longer than the voyage of the Pequod. I was carrying Moby Dick on my back and Moby was carrying Captain Ahab on his. Why the hell should I carry Ahab? All he had to complain about was a wooden leg, and I had a wooden head. […] Ahab, you hab, he hab. All God’s chillun hab, except Harry.

80(c) The girl looked as delicate as old dreams, and I despised what it would do to her face. I felt like a man about to slash a Leonardo with a dull blade.

81Page 47:

82(a) “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

83Page 48:

84(a) “Walk the Sacred Mountains, by one Peter J. Peters”

85(b) … digging it with Bennie and Jojo and those wild chicks (one of them an Arab, she had eyes like smothered stars) in the backseat of that brokendown Chrysler Bennie had driven to tampico and back and sold for forty dollars in san Diego and spent the money on a two-week fix and then swiped it back again, and all night long Jojo talking about the Mahayana transcendence of our friend Wimpy, the poet who did not wash except on the coming of the new moon and who was the new culture hero of our time and who once said: “I dig Brahman and I dig the Bird but I do not dig housewives,” which became a creed […] as soon as I will make it with this chick I will hop a freight and very religiously ride the rails to Albuquerque to tell Herman (but first some detail here about Herman, a raw maniac hipster kid who…

86Page 50:

87(a) “I sure enough got on a wrong bus all over again!”

88(b) She was all flowers. She had flowers in her hair and fastened to her nipples and on her navel and in the other place. She’s crazy. She almost caught me once, out in the garden when I tripped, but then halfway down the hill toward the square she must have been out of breath because finally she didn’t chase me anymore.

89Page 51:

90(a) My Petronius was becoming dog-eared, I noticed. Utterly reprehensible, what the dampness of a prison such as Alcatraz will do to the best of bindings.

91Page 52:

92(a) “Hey, you hear something in the water?”
Now what would be in the water, for cripes’ sake?”
O
O
O
O
Gluggle.

93(b) “So we got no money. But ain’t we got fun?”

94(c) It’s intricate and carefully plotted. I did it in a shorter time than any other book; and it’s the only book I ever made money on. I had a bunch of rejections because everybody said there’s no such thing as a satirical western. Then a movie came out called Cat Ballou (which won an Academy Award for Lee Marvin). That suddenly made it interesting for the Hollywood types. So when Dingus Magee was published, they jumped in and bought it.

95(d) I was turning the entire myth upside down. Everybody a coward or an incompetent, all the women unappetizing, that sort of thing. Not to mention that I found myself writing in a playful variation on Faulknerian prose, too, as if to see if you could use that same complex syntax in dealing with patent absurdity.

96Page 53

97(a) Pull off my boots. I promised my mother I’d never die with my boots on.

98(b) Because that had been prelude merely, had been but the first rude intimation of what lay ahead.

99Page 54:

100(a) It was at a meal stop some hours shy of a place called Yerkey’s Hole, which marked the limit of his current ticket, that nemesis entered Hoke Birdsill’s life to alter it for eternity.

101(b) “Well, come on, come on, you figure on doing it from where you’re standing, maybe?”

102Page 55:

103(a) “So that’s how a feller gets to be sheriff,” he said, watching her emerge.

104(b) It was a little like wrestling a bear, and to no decision. Thereafter Hoke would shrug and usually remain in the bed for a time before wandering off to wait bleakly for his next unforseeable summons.

105(c) “You go into wigwam, you unbutton old sitting Bull, and when him standing, girl she come in too. She not happy, you lose girl.”

106Page 56:

107(a) To my darling Ding, he rings the bell.

108(b) “Because you lissen here now, Sonny,” Belle nops told him, “I nominate my own jockeys, and I ain’t so saddle-wore that they’re about to be snotty twerps wet behind the ears yet, neither. Anyways you’d rattle around like a small dipper in a big bucket.”

109Page 57:

110(a) “I hope you appreciate my efforts,” the cousin said. “Above and beyond the financial difficulties, it is by no means easy for a maiden lady to bring up a young boy and be certain he is being educated as he should.” “I’m most grateful,” Dingus said.

111(b) “But I knowed me a right smart of older ladies,” Dingus protested, “and they’d speak admiringly of me, too. Why, you jest write a brief letter of inquiry to Miss Felicia grimshaw, over to Galveston, say, or Miss Youngblood in the same –”

112Page 58

113(a) “But I’ve longed for him so deeply, so deeply –”
“I too, I too!”
“Well, shall we move on, Miss Youngblood?”
“Let’s, Miss grimshaw.”

114(b) “A feller has to face life without a mother to guide him, he’s just nacherly doomed to tickle the wrong titty, ’times.”

115Page 59:

116(a) “But not when she made me kiss your boyish brow good night like a daddy oughter, which is jest one step more’n any self-respecting man could take.”

117Page 60:

118(a) “All that talking she done about the three of us turning respectable,” Dingus said. “About going somewheres that nobody knows us and living like good Christian folk. Because I been there before, with every danged relative I ever got tied to. I’ll take my chances on remaining a orphan, if’n it’s all the same.”

119Page 61:

120(a) Because he seemed ready even then, looking ahead solemnly to the occurrence of some fabulous and unpredicated event of which only he, privately, had any intimation.

121(b) this ultimate confrontation with his eternal nemesis.

122(c) The echo rocked and clattered across the town, a dog yelped in disapprobation – and then the stillness settled again like doom.

123(d) Under the sod at Deadwood gulch We have laid Bill’s last remains: no more his manly form will hail the Red Man on the plain. […]

124(e) “You been chose.”

125(f) “… it don’t look right, a lawman having a feller like Dingus Billy Magee for a old poontang-sharing chum.”

126Page 62:

127(a) “Yep. Gonter start me up a Wild West traveling show, sort of like that one of Will Cody’s I were mentioning.”

128(b) “… Where in the copulating damn did you come by that there chapeau?”

129(c) “That lamb-ramming, rump-rooting, scut-befouling, fist-wiving, gophermounting, finger-thrusting, maiden-head-barging, bird’s-nest-ransacking, shift-beshitting, two-at-a-time-tupping lecherous little pox. On top of which he wasn’t born either, he was just pissed up against a wall and hatched in the sun.”

130(d) “Right proper Eastern lady, a little horsy-looking in the face maybe, but a lip-smacking shape to her, even if’n it’s all such virgin soil there’s doubtless nine rows o’taters could be harvested under here skirts.”

131(e) … and left strung until you are dead, dead, dead.And you kin go plumb to hell, hell, hell.

132Page 63:

133(a) You can actually draw so beautifully. Why do you spend your time making all these queer things?
Picasso: that’s why. (NN, p. 156)

134(b) Writer has actually written some relatively traditional novels. Why is he spending his time doing this sort of thing?
That’s why. (NN, p. 164)

135(c) “How about all them fair damsels got carried off by wicked dukes and such, as we had in school, only they was rescued by knights in shiny armor? Or in Mister Fenimore Cooper’s writings, where…”

136Page 67:

137(a) He could not keep his eyes off the boy’s face, thinking of the twelve years in which he had lived and ridden and thought and, yes – the sheriff glanced again at the girl – had learned to love as an Apache.

138Page 68:

139(a) The girl stood in the far corner of the room, stiffly, yet in that relaxed way of theirs. It registered, somehow without consequence, that she was as beautiful a girl as the sheriff had ever seen. She bowed her head – actually her eyes – slightly.

140(b) But the boy’s talking was evidently over. It had been in him for a long time, the sheriff thought, for a dozen years, and some of it had had to be spoken. But now he was Apache again, standing mutely, not moving […]. And the girl. Dark and beautiful and so incredibly quiet. He wondered if they ever spoke. Wanting nothing, needing nothing. (WA, p. 137)

141Page 69

142(a) … the promises made, only to be broken; trusts and betrayals – and always, for both sides, death.

143(b) the sheriff realized only then that the boy had difficulty reaching for certain words. “From geronimo?” He asked. “From goyathlay, yes.”

144Page 70:

145(a) Romain Rolland, on Käthe Kollwitz: the voice of the silence of the sacrificed.

146(b) And outside, the group enlarged itself with a silence of its own, like the lengthening shadows in the afternoon street.

147Page 71:

148(a) Yet something which he did not fully understand made him feel that this boy here with him now was somehow as good, as just, as all of them.

149(b) I ought to hate him, he told himself. Instead, I am somehow fascinated by him. For six or seven years we have heard about him.the white man who rides with the outlaw: Mimbreños.a myth, a creature despised all the more for not being explained or understood.

150Page 73:

151(a) The Wandering Jew was claimed to have been seen in Hamburg in 1542, 1547, and 1564.
And in Vienna in 1599.

152The Wandering Jew was claimed to have been seen in Lübeck in 1601 and 1603.
And in Paris in 1604.

153The Wandering Jew was claimed to have been seen in Brussels in 1640.
And in Leipzig in 1642.

154The Wandering Jew was claimed to have been seen in Munich in 1721.

155The Wandering Jew was claimed to have been seen in Newcastle in 1790.
And in London in 1818.

156Salt Lake City, 1868 – evidently the last insistently voiced claim of having seen the Wandering Jew.

157Page 74:

158(a) The boy was looking past the sheriff. “I have forgiven the Apache for – what my father could not.” He turned back.

159Page 75

160(a) The sheriff had waited for it: right or wrong, he himself had as much reason to want the surrender as any man. And yet, now that it was here, it left him with an emptiness he would never have expected.

161Page 76:

162(a) Tamerlane, in 1398, seeking justification in the Koran for an attack on Delhi and given a verse by the mullahs: O Prophet, make war upon the infidels and unbelievers, and treat them with harshness.
Whereupon he massacred one hundred thousand unarmed prisoners.

163The First Crusade, achieving Jerusalem three hundred years before that, as witnessed by the priest Raymond of Agiles:
Wonderful things were to be viewed. Numbers of the Saracens were beheaded. Others were tortured for several days and then burned in flames. In the streets were seen piles of heads and hands and feet.

164Page 77:

165(a) From a letter of 1682, to the effect that a ship carrying Quakers is en route to Cape Cod:
Much spoil can be made of selling the whole lot to Barbadoes, where slaves fetch good prices in rum and sugar and we shall do the lord great good by punishing the wicked. Yours in the bowels of Christ – Cotton Mather.

166Page 78:

167(a) … and we shall not only do the lord great service by punishing the wicked, but we shall make great good for his minister and people.

168Page 79:

169(a) Our first aim is to serve god and spread the Christian faith.said Cortés.

170I have come to take away their gold.
Said Pizarro.

171Page 84:

172(a) “Chance?” the doctor said. “Where does somebody get a name like Chance?”
“An old-time baseball player, wasn’t there?” Talltrees said.

173(b) … very famous, in baseball lore, was a so-called “double-play combination” – defensive players – whose names were Tinker, Evers, and Chance, and there was even a newspaper poem, still remembered, about “tinker to Evers to Chance.” I was just toying with the notion of Fern, Lee, and Steve (Chance) as an inconsequential parallel. The other 500 possible meanings of the word “chance” are infinitely more important.

174Page 87:

175(a) I wish to declare that I entered my home at approximately midnight last evening and killed Mrs. Leonore Priest with a machete. I alone condemn myself and have no accuser.

176(b) “Or why am I thinking of Maimonides? Old Rambam? Those nine years in Fez, maybe, pretending to be a Muslim?”

177Page 89:

178(a) Ferrin, when there is nothing with any meaning, dear Christ, how can there be guilt? Or even now, here, with Lee dead, after all this… when even the essential horror elludes me? Mistah Kurtz, my ass. Listen, that… confession of mine, all right, spurious or otherwise, but do you literally think it was gesture only, something like… poetry, god forbid? When it was almost an… acceptance, finally? Into that jail where there is not even a roof, where the prisoners sleep under the eaves in an open court… and to get out of time, there, to stop… pacing it off by those intransitive moments in which we endure our… fugitive small passions, puny griefs… I am talking about freedom, believe it or not.

179Page 92:

180(a) “Damascus, the first had been from. Him, there. And then Benares, Allahabad. Like some fugitive or wanderer upon the earth.”

181(b) Or as when he would perhaps mutter some single word. Like: Ananias. What, Steve? Who? She mouthed the name, if name it were: “Ananias.”

182Page 93:

183(a) “Eric was a little mad. […] … so that I could walk into the house and find him… discussing something, original sin, the Gita… with Avicenna. Maimonides. Alone at the kitchen table.”

184(b) “Steve? What’s: ‘And lay hands upon the man, the blinded, dreaming man’?” “Saul of tarsus. On the road to –” Folding away the sheet, replacing it in the book. To lie forgotten for ten years more. Damascus?

185Page 94:

186(a) … the laughter was mounting at the same time, private and evisceral, even as he achieved the base of the altar, and he could not halt it.

187Page 95

188(a) And it was as if, for a moment, he had become the pelado, the thief – yes, the pilferer of meaningless muddled ideas out of which his rejection of life had grown, who had worn his two or three little bowler hats, his disguises, over these abstractions: now the realest of them all was close. (M. Lowry, Under the Volcano, London, Penguin Classics, 2000, p. 374)

189Page 96:

190(a) But that would be later, in weeks, when the other was over, had become disjointed recollection of something never fully apprehended at its passing nor solved in unintermitted talk thereafter, though pervasive still, spectral, even when again there was only the tedium, the idleness and the remaining Americans.

191Page 97:

192(a) Oh, I am painting the darkness within, the gloomy, irrecusable heart and core of darkness within. No shit, I really am.

193Page 98:

194(a) In fact when I think back I’m not quite sure where I found the guts to write those several chapters from the point of view of unlettered Mexican peasants – and yet I’m mostly convinced I brought them off. The finest Compliment I ever received on the book, possibly, came from a Mexican friend, a woman, who was almost angry to discover I’d paid that much attention to things when all I’d appeared to be doing for the three years was drinking too much.

195Page 99:

196(a) Now his breath was turbulent, an ordeal. She thought: And as with speech, as if there is something he has contained secretly within himself for so long that the very cords must conspire in silence. Thinking But what is it? What?

197Page 100:

198(a) Until then she had discerned him again too only in darkness where he leaned at the table save for those moments in which a match would flare, when the intense, sharp features would emerge hotly out of shadow with his eyes fixed upon her own so that she would endure the sensation of having been held, impaled by the same gaze even when she was not able to situate him at all.

199Page 101

200(a) … at the age of five, trying to transmute it into something that to a fiveyear-old’s logic might appear to obliterate the stigma. Because an accident, and not born with.

201(b) Or perhaps she hears nothing at all, really, no sound of voice or footsteps, and perhaps not even the mounting whisper of flame either, the hiss and spit of singed wool, watching from that distance and not truly there, not even quite credulous at the stark, unimaginably shocking wrench of pain itself, until her mother begins to scream –

202Page 102:

203(a) Then she was not seeing Lee at all. Rather she might have been watching, observing from afar, herself and Lee both, so that when she heard the scream neither did this seem her own but may have been part of memory, even, a cry of her mother’s long past, long gone. it is a sound like wailing, pitiful and quintessential, a dreadful monody like a Munch woodcut sprung to life. She actually thinks this, has a sensible moment in which she decides: Yes, the Munch, the woman on that bridge I had on my wall in New York. Yet she will not recall when the thought comes.

204Page 104:

205(a) But the light is refracted, misty, unreal.

206(b) She thinks: like church. Like church when Daddy takes me in the afternoon and there is nobody, only Baby Jesus and Daddy and Fern.

207(c) Or that filtered, secret light, alone in the afternoons.

208Page 105:

209(a) Think paintings I have loved and will hold in my poor privileged head forever […]. Think the unearthly, filtered, sourceless light in Piero della Francesca, think…

210Page 106:

211(a) “All that confluent Catholic and Aztec anthropomorphism, the superstitions they.
Still, Steve? In this day and?”
“What day and? Fern listen, Petra, with that child coming, already she is trying to placate the brujas, the witches who live on the four corners of the roof and might spirit it away. And that drawing of her, do you know What anxiety she kept hidden when you did it? Begging me later to make sure nothing happened to it, because the same thing might happen to.” “Petra believes that, truly?”

212Page 107:

213(a) This time she did not have to ask, the next question could not have been more self-evident. A moment passed, however. They were in bed, smoking, sharing a cigarette. On one elbow she leaned above him, waiting. “He’s a drunkard,” he said finally.

214(b) “And all his supposititious little pseudo intellectual puns,” Lee said. “To avoid real conversation.”

215(c) “Finish one fucking sentence in your life.”

216(d) “Bach, she liked, he said.”

217(e) “These moments. We almost reach.” […] «Bach? And Arcangelo Corelli?”

218Page 108:

219(a) And so what is all this literary allusion, art, music, philosophy, myth, if not the very pulse and continuity of culture that a serious reviewer ought to be bloody well delighted to stumble upon?

220Page 109:

221(a) “But then couldn’t the very act of writing itself be a kind of –?” “Salvation? Creation as an act of faith, which either Kafka said somewhere or Ferrin did once, about painting?”

222Page 110:

223(a) “Si. I had meant to bring you some leaves,” Petra said, offering it across.

224Page 112:

225(a) It happened sixty-odd years ago: a benefit game for the widow of a Cleveland pitcher whose name is seldom heard today. But the memory of Addie Joss brought together most of baseball’s early and legendary heroes.

226Page 113:

227(a) Pause for a moment over the pitchers already named, Johnson and Wood, and the concept becomes almost mythic.

228Page 114:

229(a) Even the most durable players in it were relics when I was born, and virtually all are now long dead. So why do I find myself staring at it, repeatedly, with an almost uncanny fascination?

230(b) … He was almost a Platonic ideal.

231(c) One by one, over the decades, his records fall – like chips hacked from a redwood.

232(d) Nor can we dismiss the crowd in the grandstand without a wistful moment. Am I wrong in discerning only one fan – including even the youngsters – who has ventured to the stadium without a hat? Or only one dutiful woman anywhere in view?

233Page 115:

234(a) If I have regarded Gabby Street as the team’s lone corporal, Ford is undeniably its anonymous hussar …

235(b) Depending upon whose computerized/updated new record book one genuflects before, Johnson’s shutout total is either 110, or 112, or 113.

236(c) Addie Joss still lives!

237(d) the full day’s occupation appeared “in every sense baseballic” […]

238(e) How does one explain baseball nostalgia?

239Page 116:

240(a) 1969 Discovers the lion’s Head, journalists’ and writers’ bar, sheridan square. […]
1996 Lion’s Head closes.

241(b) When you’re a writer, you’re home alone all day. […] You don’t have a job to go to. I talk very, very little. It was a godsend to walk into the lion’s Head and talk to Pete Hamill, Joe Flaherty, ted Hoagland, Bill sheed, Fred exley, Mike Harrington. Times change, and then it’s Richard Price and Rod Steiger. So many journalists. if you wanted to bullshit about baseball, you could talk to Vic Ziegel, a columnist, and Larry Merchant, who in those days was a columnist, or ballplayers – Jim Bouton or spaceman Bill Lee, who began to come in when he was in town. As I say, any time of day or night when I was lonely or wanting to get away from the desk there was that place. It broke my heart when it closed.

242(c) I picked him up at the hotel with a couple of friends and he said, “Let’s go down to the Horse.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. So all these people who over the years have gone to the White Horse because of Dylan Thomas—I’m one of the few who I can say was taken there by Dylan Thomas.

243Page 119:

244(a) “Hey, Loosh. You hear about open admissions, everybody screaming for black studies? So they put in swahili?”
“Unn?”
“And the next semester they put in remedial Swahili?”
“Mike? When you’ve got a second back there?” […]
New favorite painter he’ll finally nominate tonight as well. Pontormo. Kept corpses in a trough when he was conceiving his Deluge, sat around watching the bloat.

245Page 120:

246(a) Ah Jess, Jess….
If only we had been licenced to love one another! […]
And even now, still, should be walking hand in hand down our long lonely stretch of beach toward the sleepy, sun-scaled adobe hillside town beyond, to drink through the cloudless, wind-stilled late Zapotecan afternoon at a funky outdoor café we’ve discovered (and no one else has)…

247Page 121:

248(a) Pontormo at the bloated grange, pick his favorite ball-player now too. Pistol Pete Reiser, ran into walls.

249Page 122:

250(a) “Joe Flaherty, telephone!”
“Lipp Pike not here tonight?”
“Fred exley, pick up!”
“Ted Hoagland just leave?”
“Vine Deloria supposed to be in town?”
“Larry Ritter or Don Honig out in back?”
“Joel Oppenheimer!”
“Bill Sheed!”
“Mike Harrington!”
“Pete Hamill!”
“Jack Mehoff! Jack Mehoff! Oh, I’ll de-ball the next cocksucker who tricks me into yelling that!”

251Page 123:

252(a) “And on her dulcimer she played. Get down here.”

253(b) “My dulcimer, you missed. You’re an inveterate horny old man.”

254(c) “Xanadu’s soon.”

255Page 124:

256(a) “Ah, Jessica. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.”
“Come on. Make sense.”
“He was my friend, faithful and just to me. But Brutus says he was ambitious.”
“Oh, Glory. Are you sure? It doesn’t feel that way?”
“Defunct.”
“Aw, poor Lucien.” […]
“I’m obsolete. A third time’s pure rumor.”
“Everything was lovely. You’re the noblest rumor of them all.”
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”
“Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.”

257(b) No answer when he’ll lie again soft stroking, Jess near naked and himself most clothed. Write these moments and not induce boredom, eternal fugitive sameness of such? How many times the rose leaves die of grieving in a single book?

258Page 126:

259(a) If Cornford’s come, can springer be far behind?

260Page 127:

261(a) I said that the German beer was very good, and that the quality of the shirred eggs Bercy was not strained.

262(b) Bar conversation edifying, likewise. Town called Murcie in Queensland, learns, exotic potion habitually brewed from the koala. Imbibe it rank with surfacing bones and hair, however. Say that again? Koala tea of Murcie is not strained.

263Page 130:

264(a) Springer’s mornings can be sportive too, anxiety’s his perennial awakening benison. Booze being a depressant much help? […]
Tolerance’s extraordinary, though, rarely a hangover. Veil like gauze behind his corneas through coffee and the day’s inagural vodka, maybe. Amid catatonic ablutions he’ll shit, liquescently, at least three times.

265Page 131:

266(a) “On the Question of Jessica’s Ass”:
Good Lord, thy bottom, lass,
That rump! The world goes round, I know, I know,
But asses, mostly, do not so.

267Yes, asses, mostly, do not so,
For lasses, mostly, lump
Or sag. Canst make me fag
To love thy ass, thou being lass?

268Page 133:

269(a) Model for Bernini’s Persephone. Renoir’s Gabrielle. Boucher’s Miss O’Murphy.

270(b) The lady of elche. Lady Day. Lady Antonia Fraser.

271(c) The witches in Macbeth. The Loch Ness Monster. Birnam Wood. Dunsinane. Old Mother Hubbard. The cupboard. Little Miss Muffet. The tuffet. Little Bo-Peep.
The what? The who?
Ah; Lord. Quel fuck.
Archetypal.

272Page 135:

273(a) Onto something now that he’d only been toying with before. Get to work soon or he’ll sink through the carpeting altogether.

274(b) Avicenna read Aristotle’s Metaphysics forty times. Mozart was buried in an unmarked grave. Aeschylus fought at Marathon and salamis and then died when an eagle dropped a turtle on his head. Thomas Lovell Beddoes once tried to set fire to the Drury lane theater with a five-pound note. Alexander razed Thebes but left untouched the house that had been Pindar’s. St. Isadora in an urgency to be contemptible subsisted upon swill from the floor of a monastery kitchen.

275Page 136:

276(a) Rembrandt’s possessions were auctioned at bankruptcy in the same month that only blocks away Spinoza was excommunicated. The life of man in a state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Voltaire wrote Candide in three days, Erasmus wrote The Praise of Folly in seven. The grave’s a fine and private place, but none, Springer thinks, do there embrace. Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love. Springer has committed fornication, but that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

277Page 137:

278(a) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family. Now is the winter of our discontent. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles, Peleus’ son. Two mountain chains traverse the republic roughly from north to south. She waited, Kate Croy. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do. For a long time I used to go to bed early. The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor.

279Page 138:

280(a) “I don’t know how you found me, but since you’re here you might as well come in and sit down.”

281(b) Utterly obscure – and it was only in there out of playfulness. it’s the beginning of Chapter 4 of a book called The Glory of their Times, which many of us think is the best of all baseball books – interviews with old-time stars, this particular one named Sam Crawford, from what is now almost 90 years ago! – book written by one Lawrence s. Ritter, now deceased, who was a dear friend. There’s no way in the world 999990 people out of 1000000 people would recognize the line. (Book published here in 1966).

282Page 139:

283(a) There’s Springer, sauntering through the wilderness of this world.

284Page 140:

285(a) It was I killed the old pawnbroker woman an and her sister with an axe and robbed them? So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past?
Reader, I married him?
All at once she thought of the man crushed by the train the day she had first met Vronsky, and she knew what she had to do?
Lit is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done?
Isn’t it pretty to think so?
And the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago? […]
Good night, sweet prince?
Zymosis, zymotic, zymurgy, zyzzyva?

286One to hold the bulb and three to rotate the table?

287(b) “She was a real blonde.” Mickey Spillane! Hard-boiled (pulpy) crime novelist – though 40 years ago he’d written 4 or 5 of the dozen best-selling paperbacks (in the Us) ever published. I’m no longer 100% sure, and his name alone would be enough for you, but I believe the title of this one was I, the Jury. (Yeah, take the chance.) As I recall, he discovers the dame is guilty – of whatever it was – and to save herself from being shot she takes off her clothes – i.e., she was “a real blonde.” But he shoots her anyway. Trash. But so extremely widely read back then that most people would have recognized my usage.

288Page 141:

289(a) Being continued.

290(b) I never worked harder on a book, line by line, phrase by phrase, than I did on Springer. some of those short chapters were written as many as 25 or 28 times. I still have the ms. – infinitely more impressive than any of any other. About eleven miles tall.

291Page 142:

292(a) “Honey, I’m sorry. I love you, I always have. But I can’t help myself. We’re using an inheritance Jessie just found out about and leaving for tehuantepec in ten or twelve days.”
“Lucien, I don’t want to hear any more. Just get out of here, will you? Go. Please go.”

293(b) “Lucien, it just happened. You know how close we’ve been. I told him I was going and we got sentimental. Is that so flagrant?”

294Page 143:

295(a) “Oh, dear god above, Lucien, how could you? And with a ski pole? You kept stabbing here with a ski pole?”
“Dana, Dana, the girl tormented me so! Besides, tonight I couldn’t find the bread knife.”

296Page 144:

297(a) Daddy murdered our sister to raise wind for his silly ships, being what any person in her right mind must surely imagine that Electra and Orestes would have thought.
Mommy murdered our daddy, being all that they think in the plays instead. (WM, p. 197)

298(b) Good morning, children and Cassandra. Guess what I have been thinking about. How would everybody like to take a little trip to Sparta, to visit Aunt Helen
Oh let’s indeed! What an agreeable idea, Clytemnestra!
Will Uncle Menelaus be there too, Mommy?
Oops.
One had been forgetting that part, obviously.
Which is to say that after having fought an entire war to get his wife back, doubtless Menelaus would have been less than overjoyed at a sister of the man she had run off with turning up as a house guest. (WM, p. 199)

299Page 145:

300(a) Which is to say that doubtless Clytemnestra would not have uttered one solitary word until Menelaus had left the table, likewise. If for that matter Menelaus would have ever let her sit down to begin with.
Menelaus having been Agamemnon’s brother, of course.
Certain of these connections do get complicated enough to slip one’s mind like this, unfortunately.
But it does remain a fact that the two brothers had married the two sisters.
And which would now appear to indicate that poor Electra and Orestes would not have gotten to visit their aunt that often after all.
Now see here, Helen. Winter solstice or not, certainly it is pushing things a bit far to expect me to allow that woman to set foot into this palace.
Oh, but Menelaus, darling.
Don’t oh darling me. Not about this, you won’t. (WM, p. 202)

301Page 149:

302(a) My last lover was named Lucien. I find it interesting that I have not included the name of a single one of my lovers in any of these s, either. (WM, p. 83)

303(b) Nestling in beside him at that; though not until the ritualistic partaking of our 80-proof, postcoital communion, naturally. And additionally aware that in fifteen or thirty minutes he would sit up and dress and go home to his wife. Healthy Kate.

304(c) “Which meantime continued to solve less than nothing.”

305Page 150:

306(a) So no, it was not Simon with his nonwriting writer-father’s late father’s name which in casual retrospect I had incidentally come to regret, and no, not that forlorn, untended hillside grave at which Ellen promised they would fix some marker but which terry in his martyrdom at my departure doubtless vehemently himself assumed responsibility for and surely then overlooked, and again not terry either from whom (in that case thankfully) there had also been not one word since except for the divorce notice two years later.

307(b) I was hardly any longer baggaged by illusions about anything more substantial or permanent coming along; by any retarded midlife fantasies about romance.

308Page 151:

309(a) Because why didn’t I at least stretch a canvas – scribbling one more memorandum to remind myself to buy some first, naturally – and then do the gesso and the sanding so that maybe merely the mechanics themselves, just going through the motions, would get some juices flowing?

310(b) “And just exactly where was my staple gun that I vaguely seemed to recall having asked the same question about one morning way back in March or so?”

311(c) … with the echo of a Dylan Thomas line about someone having stars at elbow and foot breaking over and over, incessantly, against my skull.

312(d) When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone;
they shall have stars at elbow and foot;
though they go mad they shall be sane,
though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
though lovers be lost they shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

313Page 152:

314(a) In the beginning sometimes I left messages in the street.
Somebody is living in the louvre, certain of the messages would say. Or in the National Gallery. […]Nobody came, of course. Eventually I stopped leaving messages altogether. (WM, p. 7)

315Page 153:

316(a) … those occasional quixotic years when I seemed to forget to read the newspaper.

317(b) … when the world I had created for myself might appear to turn empty, or vain.

318Page 154

319(a) For instance I am now thinking about that castle in La Mancha again.

320(b) The title of the book about Don Quixote being Don Quixote de La Mancha, of course.
Anything that el Greco and Cervantes may have said to each other in toledo would have been said in the same language as the title also, presumably.
(WM, p. 158)

321(c) Buenos dίas, Cervantes.
Buenos dίas a usted, Theotocopoulos. (WM, p. 158)

322Page 155:

323(a) I am quite certain that I masturbated on a road in la Mancha once, near a castle that I kept on seeing and seeing, but that I never appeared to get any closer to.
There was an explanation for not getting any closer to the castle.
The explanation being that the castle was built on a hill, and that the road went in a flat circle around the bottom of the hill that the castle was built on. Very likely one could have driven around that castle eternally, never actually arriving at it.
Before iever saw one, I would have supposed that castles in Spain was just a phrase. There are castles.

324Page 157:

325(a) A Christ of our neighborhood, Ortega called Don Quixote.

326(b) To the castle, a sign must have said. (WM, p. 95 et p. 240)

327Page 158:

328(a) I have no idea how long ago it was when I was doing that. If I were forced to guess, I believe I would guess ten years.
Possibly it was several years longer ago than that, however.
And of course I was quite out of my mind for a certain period too, back then.
I do not know for how long a period, but for a certain period.
Time out of mind. Which is a phrase I suspect I may have never properly understood, now that I happen to use it.
Time out of mind meaning mad, or time out of mind meaning simply forgotten? (WM, p. 7)

329Page 159:

330(a) I knew full well when it started, even late into May could peg that, all right, to the day. To the hour. Three and one-half months earlier, on February ninth, when my last show had come down at eleven-fifteen in the morning to be precise, when all twelve of the canvases were off the walls […].

331Page 160:

332(a) I do not mean today, since it is already tomorrow.
Well, it is already tomorrow insofar as that I have watched a sunset and had a night’s sleep since I began typing these s. Which I began yesterday.
Perhaps I ought to have noted that.
When the woods started to fill up with shadows, and this corner darkened, I went into the kitchen and ate more of the blueberries, and then I went upstairs. (WM, p. 31)

333(b) As a matter of fact I have now also had another night’s sleep.
I mention that, this time, only because in a manner of speaking one could now say that it has this quickly become the day after tomorrow. (WM, p. 55)

334Page 161:

335(a) Meanwhile I have no idea why rearview mirrors should remind me that I was feeling a certain depression, yesterday.in fact I have perhaps omitted to indicate that that was yesterday.
Last evening’s sunset had a certain stillness about it, as if Piero della Francesca had done the color.
What I woke up to this morning were the lilacs, breathing them all over the house. (WM, p. 83-84)

336(b) Although I have lost track of how long it is now, actually.
Doubtless I could look back through what I have been writing, and try to calculate that. But I am fairly certain that I have not indicated all of the days.
Sometimes I indicate them and sometimes I do not.
Lately I have often merely stopped typing and then started again, without putting in that it is tomorrow. (WM, p. 123)

337Page 162:

338(a) And in the meantime I would appear to have let still another day pass without putting that one in, either.
As a matter of fact I did not sit here at all, yesterday.
For some reason, what I felt like doing yesterday was dismantling. (WM, p. 127)

339(b) At a guess, I would say it is nine or ten days, now.
I would appear to have been failing to indicate a good many more of the latter too, as it happens. […]
Conversely I am not extraordinarily happy about this new habit of skipping days so frequently, to tell the truth, even if I am less than positive why. (WM, p. 155-156)

340Page 163:

341(a) Perhaps I have not mentioned having been downstairs in the basement. I was downstairs in the basement. Yesterday. (WM, p. 160)

342(b) Although on yet another hand the whole business could have actually gotten started at the spring, when I was washing my underpants on the day before I ever even gave a thought to the basement. (WM, p. 161)

343(c) Possibly it began to rain on the day after the day after I went to the basement.
On the day before the day after the day after I went to the basement I was still typing.
I think. (WM, p. 182)

344Page 164:

345(a) It now being almost an entire week since I additionally said I would doubtless think of my cat’s name in a day or two.
And this in turn being by far the longest period I have allowed to go by without sitting at the typewriter. (WM, p. 220)

346Page 165:

347(a) Still, certain days feeling like Tuesday, for all that. (WM, p. 222)

348(b) When all I had actually been about to say was that I have no real explanation for not having written anything in these past seven or eight weeks. even if I have already listed several, such as going for supplies, or devoting more time than usual to my dismantling.
Although another reason may very well be that I have appeared to be frequently tired lately, to tell the truth.
As a matter of fact what I ought to have perhaps just said was not that I have no explanation for not having written anything in the past seven or eight weeks, but for having been so frequently tired during that period.
In fact I am feeling tired right at this moment.
Perhaps I was feeling tired when I spent that week lying in the sun before I last did do any writing, too, now that I stop to think about it.
So that I am less than positive that I have brought in as many items for winter as I will need after all, actually.
Or that I have done nearly as much dismantling as is necessary, either. (WM, p. 236)

349Page 166:

350(a) Somebody is living on this beach. (WM, p. 240)

351Page 167:

352(a) Galway Bay – having been where Wittgenstein once used to feed a seagull.

353Page 168:

354(a) Hey, W’s M was written in about 1982 and / or ’83. That’s 20+ years ago. How can I remember about the seagull? I read 963, 842, 785 books by or about l. W. (Well, in truth, I have just this instant counted, and I possess 39 – and, in my periodical weedings-out, have sold several others). The best of the biogs, by Ray Monk, which was published well after W’s M, sez he fed small domestic birds (like robins or finches) while in Ireland – but someone, someplace – in a biog. sketch, a reminiscence, whatever – that I read way back – did say seagulls. I’m sorry I can tell no more.

355(b) P.s. sunrise next morning, frost outside, tide high, just below widows. Seagulls having been fed. Coffee being made. Have you any advice for me re anything good to read? I agree Miss Lonelyhearts is an important book, and that Rimbaud had one leg, but where is the sunrise? Where is the frost? Where are my seagulls? Where is my coffee? Where is love?

356(c) … we should keep somewhere a nucleus of peace where the heart’s velleities are clean, its cormorants dry their heraldic wings, its seagulls, in sunlight, fly. They’ll drop something on your head, of course, but that’s where the sense of humor comes in.

357(d) Malcolm Lowry used to fill the margins of his letters with those – and call them seagulls!

358Page 169:

359(a) Still, all I am suggesting is that quite possibly the only thing that Wittgenstein himself had on his mind when people believed he was thinking so hard may very well have been a seagull.
This would be the seagull which had come to his window each morning to be fed, that I am speaking about. One time when he lived near Galway Bay, in Ireland. (WM, p. 174)

360(b) Protagonist kept company by chipmunks? By field mice? By the gulls?

361Page 170:

362(a) Doubtless there was no seagull either.
It is the seagull which brought me to this beach, that I am speaking about now.
High, high, against the clouds, little more than a speck, but then swooping in the direction of the sea.
I will be truthful. In Rome, when I thought I saw the seagull, I was not mad.
So I knew I had not seen the seagull.
Now and again, things burn. I do not mean only when I have set fire to them myself, but out of natural happenstance. And so bits and pieces of residue will sometimes be wafted great distances, or to astonishing heights.
I had finally gotten accustomed to those.
Still I would have vastly prefered to believe I had seen the seagull.
As a matter of fact it was much more probably the thought of sunsets, which brought me to this beach.
Well, or of the sound of the sea.
After I had finally determined that I may as well stop looking, this is. (WM, p. 29)

363Page 171:

364(a) Once, after doing that, I tore the s out of a book and lighted those too, tossing each into the breeze to see if the breeze might make it fly. (WM, p. 37)

365(b) Presumably it was another book altogether, from which I tore the s and set fire to them, in wishing to simulate a seagull. (WM, p. 38)

366(c) The gull was your ordinary gull.
Actually it was ash, carried astonishingly high and rocked by breezes. (WM, p. 30)

367Page 172:

368(a) One does not name a seagull. (WM, p. 38)

369(b) One moment I had been halfway up the stairs, and a moment after that I was making believe I was Icarus. […]
Presumably it was a wind from below, in fact, since what the canvas seemed to do was to rise up in front of me. And then to rise up some more.
Remarkably soon after that it was underneath me, however.
The pain was excrutiating. (WM, p. 50)

370Page 173:

371(a) There is a painting of Penelope weaving in the national gallery, actually, by somebody named Pintorecchio.
I have said that quite badly, I suspect.
One scarcely meaning that where Penelope is doing her weaving is in the national gallery. Where she is doing that is on the Island of Ithaca, naturally. (WM, p. 21-22)

372Page 174:

373(a) When I said that guy de Maupassant ate his lunch every day at the Eiffel tower, so that he did not have to look at it, I meant that it was the Eiffel tower he did not wish to look at, naturally, and not his lunch.
One’s language being frequently imprecise in such ways, I have discovered. (WM, p. 42)

374(b) I still notice the burned house, mornings, when I walk along the beach. Well, obviously I do not notice the house. What I notice is what remains of the house.
One is still prone to think of a house as a house, however, even if there is not remarkably much left of it. (WM, p. 11)

375Page 175:

376(a) During all of this time I was on the roof of the car, by the way.
I mean on the inside of the roof, obviously. And with the rubber mat from the floor having fallen on top of me. (WM, p. 32-33)

377Page 176:

378(a) At this rate the next thing I am going to ask is if my roses will still be red after it gets dark.
On second thought I am not going to ask if my roses will still be red after it gets dark. (WM, p. 154)

379(b) If somebody were to look at these s who could understand only Russian, I have no idea what would exist on these s.
Not speaking one word of Russian myself, however, I believe I am able to state categorically that the things which had existed only in my head now also exist on these s.
Well, some of such things. (WM, p. 156)

380(c) The world is everything that is the case. (WM, p. 78)

381(d) Then again I do not really think of the saw as a tool for dismantling. Rather I think of that as a tool for turning dismantled lumber into firewood.
After it has been dismantled.
Although perhaps this distinction is no more than one of semantics. (WM, p. 78)

382Page 178:

383(a) Once, Turner had himself lashed to the mast of a ship for serveral hours, during a furious storm, so that he could later paint the storm.
Obviously, it was not the storm itself that turner intended to paint. What he intended to paint was a representation of the storm.
One’s language is frequently imprecise in that manner, I have discovered. (WM, p. 12)

384Page 180:

385(a) I would appear to be more upset about that carton of grass that is not real than I had realized.
(By which I imagine what I mean is that if the grass that is not real is real, as it undoubtedly is, what would be the difference between the way grass that is not real is real and the way real grass is real, then? (WM, p. 193, je souligne)

386(b) … nothing on these s except letters of the alphabet. (WM, p. 56)

387(c) Now and again I have also made use of the stick to write in the sand, actually. (WM, p. 57)

388Page 181:

389(a) I am still feeling the typewriter, naturally. And hearing the keys. (WM, p. 192)

390(b) A variety of berries grow nearby. And less than minutes past my stream there are various vegetables, in fields that were once cultivated but are of course now wildly overgrown.
Beyond the window at which I am sitting the breeze is frisking with ten thousand leaves. Sunlight breaks through the woods in mottled bright patches. (WM, p. 14)

391Page 182:

392(a) “Mornings, when the leaves are dewy, some of them are like jewels where the earliest sunlight glistens.” (WM, p. 26)

393Page 183:

394(a) … once the rain had stopped but the woods were still wet everything was extraordinarily beautiful, and all of the wet leaves glistened and glistened. (WM, p. 221)

395(b) leaves having blown in, or fluffy cottonwood seeds. (WM, p. 226)

396Page 184:

397(a) When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring.
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love. (Leaves of Grass, new York, signet Classic, 1980, p. 205)

398(b) Or that Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman often used to nod to each other while walking the streets in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. (WM, p. 191)

399Page 185:

400(a) So that what I am more truthfully making believe is that the fires are Greek watchfires, where they have been lighted along the shore. (WM, p. 239)

401(b) After all, a single Spartan girl, as Walt Whitman once called her. (WM, p. 194)

402(c) Although it was Herodotus who wrote the line about the entire war having been because of a single spartan girl, which I do believe I was trying to remember a good number of days ago. (WM, p. 152)

403Page 186:

404(a) Still, I find it extraordinary that young men died there in a war that long ago, and then died in the same place three thousand years after that. (WM, p. 8-9)

405(b) Even if spinoza may have preferred latin. Or Jewish. (WM, p. 142)

406(c) rocked by breezes (WM, p. 30)

407Page 187:

408(a) I have brought in Lilacs, also. (WM, p. 77)
Except to perhaps note that everything is still all lilac. (WM, p. 99)

409(b) I did not put in throwing away the lilacs either, which was at least yesterday. (WM, p. 123)

410(c) Through another window at its opposite side the rosy-fingered dawn awakens me.
Certain mornings the phrase does happen to fit, as a matter of fact. (WM, p. 20)

411Page 188:

412(a) Have I said that on certain mornings, when the leaves are dewy, some of them are like jewels where the earliest sunlight glistens?
It is what I sometimes have instead of a rosy-fingered dawn, possibly. (WM, p. 128)

413(b) This is scarcely to suggest that Willem de Kooning was anywhere in the vicinity when Giotto was drawing the perfect circle freehand either, of course.
Unless, on the other hand, I suddenly make up my mind to imagine that he was.
This very sort of imagining being the artist’s privilege, obviously.
Well, it is what artists do. (WM, p. 148)

414Page 189:

415(a) I have now made up my mind to imagine Willem de Kooning in Giotto’s studio.
In fact Giotto is wearing clothes from the Renaissance, but Willem de Kooning is in a kind of sweatshirt. […]
And now Cimabue and Rembrandt and Carel Fabritius and Jan Vermeer are in the studio also.
There is nothing astonishing in my ability to arrange any of this, of course, although in certain ways it is perhaps interesting.
What is especially interesting is that I do not have any idea what Giotto or Cimabue or Jan Vermeer look like.
In the case of Rembrandt and Carel Fabritius I have seen self-portraits. Even if it does not appear necessary for me to visualize which of the many of those on Rembrandt’s part happens to apply at the moment. […]
Now Vincent Van gogh is in Giotto’s studio.
This would be Vincent Van gogh the painter, naturally, since Vincent Van gogh the cat is there already.
The newer Vincent’s ear is bandaged.
I have just decided to put El Greco into the studio, as well.
Which is perhaps why everything now appears slightly elongated, or even astigmatic. (WM, p. 148-149)

416Page 190:

417(a) I can well understand why children love sand. (WM, p. 5 non numérotée)

418Page 191:

419a) Although what I would more seriously wish to know is why any of this is now making me think about seagulls.
Aha. Seagulls being scavengers, of course.
When I say being, I mean having been, naturally.
But which in either case was only to suggest that there surely once would have been any number of seagulls at the garbage disposal area. (WM, p. 132)

420Page 194:

421(a) His mother’s song it was, phantasmal memory: the muted monody of a ghost long lost, whispering.

422(b) So another line from Hamlet fit: But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

423Page 195:

424(a) By the sentence of the angels, by the decree of the saints, we anathemise, cut off, curse, and execrate Baruch spinoza, in the presence of these sacred books and the six hundred and thirteen precepts which are written therein –

425(b)There shall be no man speak to him, no man write to him, no man show him any kindness, no man stay under the same roof with him, no man come nigh him –

426Page 196:

427(a) Because there had been nothing, only those like himself, tormented and racked and alone, his kind and kinsmen whose torn and sallow faces he had come to recognize at a glance, whose eyes held always the same futility, the same helplessness as his own.

428(b) Because always too was the furtive awareness of one’s existence on the margin, one’s alertness in the camp of the enemy – the way a Jew must feel. Big Brother is watching you.

429Page 197:

430(a) … between the ancient tombstones in that bleak, overgrown graveyard.

431(b) It was only later that he had come to realize the sorrowful demands the old Man had made upon him, made indeed after death, those unremitted bills of conscience which tony was still paying and would probably continue to pay throughout his life.

432(c) He needed no ghosts come from the grave to tell him that the old Man had left him one hell of a heritage, and he was not speaking in psychological terms either, although there was something to be said about the bloody coincidence in this also.

433(d) In that ancient building of sunless corridors and rooms like cells to which night after night in agony and alone he returned, desolate and alone and longing for forbidden speech, aching to cry out, to be heard.

434Page 198:

435(a) He tried to concentrate on the present (the book with the spinoza was not, oddly, a spinoza at that; it was an everyman edition of Arnold’s Essays) yet the past persisted, weaving itself about him, intangible as the cigarette smoke perhaps, but enveloping, omnipresent.

436(b) And somewhere, unknown, striving, an indigent sculptor carved on tombstones the names of the dead, to make a living.

437Page 200:

438(a) I am growing older. I have been in hospitals. Do I wish to put certain things down?

439(b) First and foremost, I think of myself as a reader. – Borges

440Page 201:

441(a) In Reader’s Block, 20% of the book is still about this guy Reader. Or at times it’s about the one I call Protagonist, who is the hero of the book he’s thinking about writing. There is an occasional setting, the house he lives in, or visualizing Protagonist on the beach or in a cemetery or something.

442(b) Richard strauss was an anti-semite.

443(c) René Descartes was born in a hayfield.

444(d) Leibnitz: Why is there anything at all rather than nothing?

445(e) Ultimately, Emily Dickinson would even hide from visitors at her house itself.

446(f) Granted, Reader is essentially the I in instances such as that. Presumably in most others he will not be the I at all, however.

447Page 202:

448(a) And Reader? And Reader?

449(b) So the next two I tried to carry it further […]. I called him Reader in one book; the next book he’s Writer. It says Writer is sick of telling stories and sick of creating characters and sick of drawing scenes and backgrounds […]. All the way through This Is Not a Novel he’s talking about people’s deaths, then at the end he’s talking about all his own illnesses.

450(c) I am now trying an experiment very frequent among Modern Authors; which is, to write upon Nothing. (NN, p. 11 non numérotée)

451Page 203:

452(a) Before the Normans brought despair, the Anglo-saxon word was wanhope. (NN, p. 19)

453(b) That business of many great artists being rotten human beings. I wouldn’t say I “explore” it, but I certainly find it interesting as hell and fascinating just to mention in passing. Surely it gives the reader pause. Céline, for instance, those unforgettable early novels – and yet what a piece of scum he was personally. Eliot, Pound, Caravaggio, Villon – the list is endless. But without rereading my last several books, I’d venture that I generally don’t comment on any such, but simply note them.

454(c) This is also a continued heap of riddles, if Writer says so. (NN, p. 70)

455(d) This is even a disquisition on the maladies of the life of art, if Writer says so. (NN, p. 86)

456Page 204:

457(a) Author had been scribbling the notes on three-by-five-inch index cards. They now come close to filling two shoebox tops taped together end to end.

458Page 205:

459(a) No but you see I’ve got to explain all this because I don’t, we don’t know how much time there is left and I have to work on the, to finish this work of mine while I, why I’ve brought in this whole pile of books notes s clippings and god knows what, get it all sorted and organized when I get this property divided up and the business and worries that go with it […] I’ve got the papers land surveys deeds and all of it right in this heap somewhere, get it cleared up and settled before everything collapses […]. (W. Gaddis, Agape Agape, london, Atlantic Books, 2002, p. 1)

460(b) In Reader’s Block I got hung up on the suicides and listed all those suicides. Then in This Is Not a Novel, how people died. Vanishing Point was where they died.

461(c) I know a bank where the wild thyme blows.

462Page 206:

463(a) Among the wreaths and bouquets at the funeral of Verlaine – one nodding bunch of violets.
Brought by Mallarmé.

464(b) I wish I were over-canopied with woodbine!!!!!!!!

465(c) Every bride is beautiful, Hillel said.

466(d) Terrorists. Which was in fact the literary term chosen to categorize the earliest nineteenth-century female Gothic novelists.

467Page 207:

468(a) All I can do is be kind to my husband and grow up children. Movie is nothing but exhibition dancing. What is the meaning of dancing and songs?

469(b) Says William Dunbar’s Lament for the Makers: The fear of death distresses me. Which Author suspects he has quoted before in his life.

470(c) I was just feeling sentimental when I tucked her name onto that list (at the last minute, actually) – though I also liked the idea of one more connection between books.

471(d) Author hereby personally endows it with – a terminal desolation and despair.

472Page 208:

473(a) You don’t have a computer? So how do you write your books? You don’t still use a typing machine?

474Page 209:

475(a) As many as five little-documented years passed between Shakespeare’s departure from the globe, at forty-seven or forty-eight, and his death in Stratford. After thirty-seven plays, and probably parts of others, plus the poems – did he have no inclination to write anything in those last years?

476My old paintings no longer interest me. I’m much more curious about those I haven’t done yet.said Picasso, at seventy-nine.

477I’ve no more sight, no hand, nor pen, nor inkwell. I lack everything. All I still possess is will.
Said goya – nearing eighty.

478Page 211:

479(a) I hope my Dizzy Dean stamp wasn’t blotted out. one of my earliest boyhood heroes – he is mentioned four times in Not a Novel (the second and third times were just to keep his name in the reader’s mind between the other two – but were nice items in themselves). (“Interconnective syntax,” is that what I call it?).

480(b) If you can do it, it ain’t bragging, said Dizzy Dean. (NN, p. 10)

481Page 212

482(a) This is also even an autobiography, if Writer says so. (NN, p. 53)

483(b) Or an ersatz prose alternative to The Waste Land, if Writer so suggests. (NN, p. 101)

484(c) Allowed out of his steel military cage at Pisa for exercise, ezra Pound sometimes swung a broom handle as if it were a baseball bat.

485Who do you make believe is pitching to you, Uncle ez?
Can’t you see Dizzy Dean out there, soldier? (NN, p. 133)

486(d) Dizzy Dean died of a heart attack. (NN, p. 190)

487Page 213:

488(a) Yet seducing the reader into turning s nonetheless. (NN, p. 3)

489Page 214:

490(a) A neighbor once came upon William Blake and his wife Catherine reading Paradise lost aloud in their garden. Sitting naked.

491Page 215:

492(a) And no, I relatively rarely read biographies. But keep an eye out the next few times you read some essays (by almost any critic at all) on any aspect of literature and/or music or whatever – or even, say (picking at random, here) a history of german music, or modern British literature – and note how frequently (how endlessly) just such anecdotes as the sort I use are sprinkled through. They interest people (except perhaps for dreary theorists), and I can’t read virtually anything at all, ever, without repeatedly checking off dozens of them in the margins. Though indeed, once I got caught up in my last few books, it became an addiction (maybe I mean obsession) – and has almost ruined my reading altogether.

493Page 216:

494(a) Tartini’s violin.
Which shattered in its case at his death. (NN, p. 5)

495Page 217:

496(a) The frequent stags and deer in Lucas Cranach. Dogs barked when they saw them, someone said.
As birds flying into the cathedral at Seville were said to peck at the fruit in Murillo’s St. Anthony of Padua. (NN, p. 19)

497Page 218

498(a) Auschwitz. Dachau. Treblinka. Maidanek. Sobibor. Chelmno. Mauthausen. Ravensbrück. Birkenau. Theresienstadt.

499There is no verifiable portrait of Jane Austen.

500An otherwise anonymous Madame Delphine Delamare, who after numerous adulteries as the wife of an inattentive country doctor committed suicide with poison in 1850.
And became the model for Emma Bovary.

501I declare to you before god, and as an honest man, that your son is the greatest composer I know, either personally or by name.

502And Buchenwald. six miles from Weimar. On what had been a pleasant wooded hillside.

503The more significant women in Protagonist’s life?

504Once, obviously, more of an existence than his books and headstones of strangers.

505Children depart, miscellaneous relationships wither. Friends move to distant places.

506Friends die.

507Salman Rushdie lost the tip of one of his fingers as a boy.
As does a character in Midnight’s Children.

508Tolstoy was twice cited for bravery as a cavalry officer in the Caucasus.

509And Bergen-Belsen. Where Anne Frank died.
Of starvation and typhus.

510Page 221:

511(a) Flaubert’s lamp burned with such regularity late at night in his workroom at Croisset that pilots on the seine were able to take their bearings from it.

512Page 223:

513(a) Ten-volume critical biography of Christopher lehmann-Haupt go unwritten next.

514Page 224:

515(a) Queen Victoria once wrote to lewis Carroll, at oxford, asking for a copy of his next book –
And received an inscribed edition of An Elementary Treatise on Determinants.

516(b) Orbilius, a teacher of grammar. Remembered for two thousand years because Horace was one of his pupils – and named him the Whacker, for thrashing him with his switch.

517Page 225:

518(a) Clemenceau, to a new private secretary: Certain letters you will have to draft yourself. Now listen: a sentence consists of a noun and a verb. If you want to use an adjective, come and ask me first.

519(b) In addition to his native german, Heinrich Schliemann spoke English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, Greek, Russian, Arabic, and latin.Most of which he had taught himself.

520In addition to his native French, Jean-François Champollion spoke Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Chaldean, Sanskrit, Persian, and Chinese. And possibly others.

521Page 226:

522(a) Saussure’s doctoral dissertation: on the use of the genitive case in Sanskrit.

523(b) What a joy – that syntax is no longer subversive in the White House. Said John Steinbeck after the election of John F. Kennedy.

524(c) To reproduce the exterminating gesture.

525Page 227:

526(a) “What did you bring that book I didn’t want to be read to out of up for?”

527(b) (Sick child) I want to be read to.
(Nurse) What book do you want to be read to out of?
(Sick child) Robinson Crusoe.
(Nurse goes out and returns with The Swiss Family Robinson.)
(Sick child) What did you bring me that book to be read to out of for?
It is said that Mr Winston Churchill once made this marginal comment against a sentence that clumsily avoided a prepositional ending: This is the sort of English up with which I will not put – Gowers 1948.

528Page 228:

529(a) In most circumstances, especially in formal writing, it is desirable to avoid placing a preposition at the end of a clause or sentence, where it has the appearance of being stranded.

530(b) Santa Monica, California, Miles Davis died in.
Brussels, René Magritte died in.
Kuesnacht, near Zurich, Carl Jung died in.
Phoenix, Arizona, Frank Lloyd Wright died in.
Louvain, Dirck Bouts died in.
Baltimore, Edgar Allan Poe died in.
Toronto, Glenn Gould died in.
Antwerp, Rubens died in.
Red Cloud, Nebraska, Willa Cather spent her childhood in.

531Page 229:

532(a) To write only according to the rules laid down by previous classics signifies that one is not a master but a pupil.
Said Prokofiev.

533(b) A seminonfictional semifiction.

534Obstinately cross-referential and of cryptic interconnective syntax.
Probably by this point more than apparent – or surely for the attentive reader.

535As should be Author’s experiment to see how little of his own presence he can get away with throughout.

536Page 230:

537(a) Philip Larkin died of cancer of the esophagus.
Only hours afterwards, a twenty-five-volume diary that he had kept for almost fifty years was destroyed by one of his executors.

538Less of a loss, Writer assumes, than the then-current last volume of Sylvia Plath’s that was destroyed by Ted Hughes. (NN, p. 36)

539(b) People none of whose business it is repeatedly excising the Hughes from the Yorkshire gravestone inscribed Sylvia Plath Hughes. (NN, p. 98)

540Page 232:

541(a) Hey, Dad, hot this for me, please? (NN, p. 83)

542Hey, Dad, sharp this for me, please? (NN, p. 120)

543(b) Telmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of.

544Or even his synthetic personal Finnegans Wake, if Writer so decides.

545If only by way of it fitting no other category anyone might suggest. (NN, p. 185)

546Page 233

547(a) There is no there there.

548(b) There is no now now.

549(c) Devon, Jean Rhys died in. Inverurie, near Aberdeen, Mary garden died in.

550(d) Nominative. Genitive. Dative. Accusative. Ablative.

551(e) Dad? Please? You can’t just sit there and stare. Talk to us. Answer us, Dad. We love you, you know?

552Page 234:

553(a) In the first book there was a groping for a continuous present and for using everything by beginning again and again.

554Page 235:

555(a) Where will Protagonist have been born?

556(b) At the house on the beach, what becomes of Protagonist’s path to the highway when the snows are heavier than those Reader has visualized?
What is the winter really like, precisely at ocean’s edge?

557(c) Watching abstractedly before the dunes as the entire shore commences to disappear?

558(d) That nearby, Protagonist awakening mornings to the wash of the surf?

559(e) Valéry said he could never write a novel for one insurmountable reason. He would have to include sentences like the Marquise went out at five.

560(f) Protagonist went out at five?

561Page 236:

562(a) Oh, Dad. Oh, Dad.

563Page 238:

564(a) Matisse: in modern art, it is indubitably to Cézanne that I owe the most. Picasso: He was my one and only master. Cézanne! It was the same with all of us – he was like our father. (NN, p. 43)

565(b) Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence
.

566(c) Farewell and be kind. (NN, p. 190)

567Page 239:

568(a) The second Brandenburg concerto, on an indestructible phonograph disc, is drifting eternally in space affixed to Voyager II.

569(b) … a thousand battalions of them, who have walked through the lives of as many men; nay, marched through their lives in a sort of iambic squad drill: guinevievre, Katherine theron, Helen, laura, grosse Margot, Florence nightingale, Mrs. Bracegirdle, nell gwynn, a probable Dark Circe, and Beatrice Portinari.

570Page 240:

571(a) This is funny.

572Page 241:

573(a) A novel with no setting.
With no so-called furniture
Ergo meaning finally without descriptions. (NN, p. 5)

574(b) Or possibly now someone he will never see closely at all, not coming toward him but moving in his same direction? And always a fair distance ahead?

575Continuing on to become a kind of actualized vanishing point when Protagonist himself halts?

576Page 243:

577(a) Never to have been born is best.

© ENS Éditions, 2007

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