Friday, September 30, 2011

Dehumanization of Art in KINDLE - Translation by Marciano Guerrero

Ortega y Gasset en un fotografĂ­a tomada por la...Image via Wikipedia

KEYWORD: Ortega Gasset

My translation of “The Dehumanization of Art”

Because other translations contain many errors —and rather than translations are the translator’s paraphrasing and interpretation— I have labored to present a fresh and accurate translation that honors the memory of Jose Ortega y Gasset. One aim has motivated me from beginning to end of this project: my wish that my translation may become the authoritative translation ever rendered into the English language.

 The Dehumanization of Art— is now a constant in music, literature, aesthetics, and philosophy, having come to mean that in post-modern times human-shaped mimesis (representation of the human) is irrelevant to art. According to Ortega, the arts don't have to tell a human story; art should deal with its own forms—and not with the human form.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lazarillo of Tormes: Chapter 5c About the Pardoner

The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His For...Image via Wikipedia
Some of the respectable men there wanted to get up and throw the constable out of church to avoid any scandal. But my master stopped them and told them all not to bother him under penalty of excommunication. He told them to let him say anything he wanted to. So while the constable was saying all that, my master kept quiet, too. When he stopped speaking, my master told him if he wanted to say anything more he should go ahead. And the constable said,
“I could say plenty more about you and your dirty tricks, but I've said enough for now.”

Then the pardoner knelt down in the pulpit, and with his hands folded, and looking up toward heaven, he said:
“Lord God, to whom nothing is hidden and everything is manifest, for whom nothing is impossible and everything is possible, you know the truth of how unjustly I have been accused. As far as I am concerned, I forgive him so that you —Oh Lord!— may forgive me.  Pay no attention to this man who knows not what he says or does. But the harm that has been done to thee, I beg and beseech thee in the name of justice that you do not disregard it.

“Because someone here may have been thinking of taking this holy indulgence, and now, believing that the false words of that man are true, they will not take it. And since that would be so harmful to our fellow men, I beg you, Lord, do not disregard it; instead, grant us a miracle here.  Let it happen in this way: if what that man says is true —that I am full of malice and falseness— let this pulpit collapse with me in it and plunge one hundred feet into the ground, sinking six feet under where neither the pulpit nor I shall ever be seen again. But if what I say is true —and he, who has been won over by the devil, to deprive those who are here present from such a great blessing is saying false things— let him be punished and let his malice be known to all.”

Hardly had he finished his speech when the self-confessed constable fell flat on his face, hitting the floor so hard that it made the whole church echo. Then he began to roar, frothing at the mouth, twisting it, and his whole face, too, kicking and hitting and rolling around all over the floor.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Becoming a Writer - Flannery O'Connor "Weak Specificationor Weak Details"

9. Charity shoppingImage by c_l_b via Flickr

Weak Specification or Weak in Details

I have found that the stories of beginning writers usually bristle with emotion, but whose emotion is often very hard to determine. Dialogue frequently proceeds without the assistance of any characters that you can actually see, and uncontained thought leaks out of every corner of the story. The reason is usually that the student is wholly interested in his thoughts and his emotions and not in his dramatic action, and that he is too lazy or highfalutin to descend to the concrete where fiction operates. He thinks that judg­ment exists in one place and sense-impression in an­other. But for the fiction writer, judgment begins in the details he sees and how he sees them.
Fiction writers who are not concerned with these concrete details are guilty of what Henry James called

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Becoming a Writer - Flannery O'Connor "First Know What a Short Story is"

Flannery O'ConnorImage via Wikipedia

First, know what a story is

I have heard people say that the short story was one of the most difficult literary forms, and I've always tried to decide why people feel this way about what seems to me to be one of the most natural and fundamental ways of human expression. After all, you begin to hear and tell stories when you're a child, and there doesn't seem to be anything very compli­cated about it. I suspect that most of you have been telling stories all your lives, and yet here you sit­come to find out how to do it.

Then last week, after I had written down some of these serene thoughts to use here today, my calm was shattered when I was sent seven of your manuscripts to read.
After this experience, I found myself ready to ad­mit, if not that the short story is one of the most diffi­cult literary forms, at least that it is more difficult for some than for others.
I still suspect that most people start out with some kind of ability to tell a story but that it gets lost along the way. Of course, the ability to create life with words is essentially a gift. If you have it in the first place, you can develop it; if you don't have it, you might as well forget it.

But I have found that the people who don't have it are frequently the ones hell-bent on writing stories. I'm sure anyway that they are the ones who write the books and the magazine articles on how-to-write­short-stories. I have a friend who is taking a corre­spondence course in this subject, and she has passed a few of the chapter

Fiction Stories - Dorothy Parker "You Were Perfectly Fine"

Dorothy Parker woz 'ere. The Blue Bar in this ...Image via Wikipedia
DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)
You Were 'Perfectly Fine
The pale young man eased himself carefully into the low chair, and rolled his head to the side, so that the cool chintz comforted his cheek and tem­ple.
"Oh, dear," he said. "Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear. Oh."
The clear-eyed girl, sitting light and erect on the couch, smiled brightly at him.
"Not feeling so well today?" she said.
"Oh, I'm great," he said. "Corking, I am. Know what time I got up?
Four o'clock this afternoon, sharp. I kept trying to make it, and every time I took my head off the pillow, it would roll under the bed. This isn't my head I've got on now. I think this is something that used to belong to Walt Whitman. Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear."
"Do you think maybe a drink would make you feel better?" she said.
"The hair of the mastiff that bit me?" he said. "Oh, no, thank you. Please never speak of anything like that

Becoming a Writer - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "Contents of the Phrase"

Photograph of Robert Louis StevensonImage via Wikipedia

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-94) was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did not achieve lasting commercial success until five years later with the publication of Treasure Island in 1883, and later with Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1888.

CONTENTS OF THE PHRASE
Here is a great deal of talk about rhythm-and naturally; for in our canorous language rhythm is always at the door. But it must not be forgotten that in some languages this element is almost, if not quite, extinct, and that in our own it is probably decaying. The even speech of many educated Americans sounds the note of danger. I should see it go with something as bitter as despair, but I should not be desperate. As in verse no element, not even rhythm, is necessary, so, in prose also, other sorts of beauty will arise and take the place and play the part of those that we outlive. The beauty of the expected beat in verse, the beauty in prose of its larger and more lawless melody, patent as they are to English hearing, are already silent in the ears of our next neighbors; for in France the oratorical accent and the pat­tern of the web have almost or altogether succeeded to their places; and the French prose writer would be astounded at the labours of his brother across the Channel, and how a good quar­ter of his toil, above all invita Minerva, is to avoid writing verse. So wonderfully far apart have races wandered in spirit, and so hard it is to understand the literature next door!
Yet French prose is distinctly better than English; and French verse, above all while Hugo lives, it will not do to place upon one side. What is more to our purpose, a phrase or a verse in French is easily distinguishable as comely or uncomely. There is then another element of comeliness hitherto overlooked in this analysis: the contents of the phrase. Each phrase in literature is built of sounds, as each phrase in music consists of notes. One sound suggests, echoes, demands, and harmonizes with another; and the art of rightly using these concordances is the final art in literature. It used to be a piece of good advice to all young writ­ers to avoid alliteration; and the advice was sound, in so far as it prevented daubing. None the less for that, was it

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fiction Stories - Hemingway's Light of the World

American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Ya...Image via Wikipedia

The Light of the World
ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1899-1961)

When he saw us come in the door the bartender looked up and then reached over and put the glass covers on the two free-lunch bowls.
"Give me a beer," I said. He drew it, cut the top off with the spatula and then held the glass in his hand. I put the nickel on the wood and he slid the beer toward me.
"What's yours?" he said to Tom. "Beer."
He drew that beer and cut it off and when he saw the money he pushed the beer across to Tom.
'What's the matter?" Tom asked.
The bartender didn't answer him. He just looked over our heads and said, "What's yours?" to a man who'd come in.
"Rye," the man said. The bartender put out the bottle and glass and a glass of water.
Tom reached over and took the glass off the free-lunch bowl. It was a bowl of pickled pig's feet and there was a wooden thing that worked like a scissors, with two wooden forks at the end to pick them up with.
"No," said the bartender and put the glass cover back on the bowl.
Tom held the wooden scissors fork in his hand. "Put it back," said the bartender.
"You know where," said Tom.
The bartender reached a hand forward under the bar, watching us both. I put fifty cents on the wood and he straightened up.
'What was yours?" he said.
"Beer," I said, and before he drew the beer he uncovered both the bowls.
"Your goddam pig's feet stink," Tom said, and spit what he had in his mouth on the floor.

Becoming a Writer - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "Rhythm of the Phrase"

Photograph of author Robert Louis StevensonImage via Wikipedia

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-94) was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did not achieve lasting commercial success until five years later with the publication of Treasure Island in 1883, and later with Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1888.

RHYTHM OF THE PHRASE
Some way back, I used a word which still awaits an applica­tion. Each phrase, I said, was to be comely; but what is a come­ly phrase? In all ideal and material points, literature, being a representative art, must look for analogies to painting and the like; but in what is technical and executive, being a temporal art, it must seek for them in music. Each phrase of each sentence, like an air or a recitative in music, should be so artfully com­pounded out of long and short, out of accented and unaccented, as to gratify the sensual ear. And of this the ear is the sole judge. It is impossible to lay down laws. Even in our accentual and rhythmic language no analysis can find the secret of the beauty of a verse; how much less, then, of those phrases, such as prose is built of, which obey no law but to be lawless and yet to please? The little that we know of verse (and for my part lowe it all to my friend Professor Fleeming Jenkin) is, however, particularly interesting in the present connection. We have been accustomed to describe the heroic line as five iambic feet, and to be filled with pain and confusion whenever, as by the conscientious schoolboy, we have heard our own description put in practice.
All night| the dread| less an | gel un | pursued.2

goes the schoolboy; but though we close our ears, we cling to our definition, in spite of its proved and naked

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The National Debt

Becoming a Writer - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "The Web or Pattern in Prose"

Robert Louis Stevenson portrait by Girolamo NerliImage via Wikipedia
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-94) was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did not achieve lasting commercial success until five years later with the publication of Treasure Island in 1883, and later with Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1888.

 THE WEB OR PATTERN IN PROSE
Literature, although it stands apart by reason of the great des­tiny and general use of its medium in the affairs of men, is yet an art like other arts. Of these we may distinguish two great classes: those arts, like sculpture, painting, acting, which are representa­tive, or, as used to be said very clumsily, imitative; and those, like architecture, music, and the dance, which are self-sufficient, and merely presentative. Each class, in right of this distinction, obeys principles apart; yet both may claim a common ground of exis­tence, and it may be said with sufficient justice that the motive and end of any art whatever is to make a pattern; a pattern, it may be, of colours, of sounds, of changing attitudes, geometrical figures, or imitative lines; but still a pattern. That is the plane on which these sisters meet; it is by this that they are arts; and if it be well they should at times forget their childish origin, address­ing their intelligence to virile tasks, and performing uncon­sciously that necessary function of their life, to make a pattern, it is still imperative that the pattern shall be made.
Music and literature, the two temporal arts, contrive their pattern of sounds in time; or, in other words, of

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Becoming a Writer - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "choice of Words"

Treasure IslandImage via Wikipedia

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850-94) was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did not achieve lasting commercial success until five years later with the publication of Treasure Island in 1883, and later with Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1888.
There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanism of any art. All our arts and occupations lie wholly on the surface; it is on the surface that we perceive their beauty, fitness, and significance; and to pry below is to be appalled by their emptiness and shocked by the coarse­ness of the strings and pulleys. In a similar way, psychology itself, when pushed to any nicety, discovers an abhorrent bald­ness, but rather from the fault of our analysis than from any poverty native to the mind. And perhaps in aesthetics the reason is the same: those disclosures which seem fatal to the dignity of art seem so perhaps only in the proportion of our ignorance; and those conscious and unconscious artifices which it seems unworthy of the serious artist to employ were yet, if we had the power to trace them to their springs, indications of a delicacy of the sense finer than we conceive, and hints of ancient harmonies in nature. This ignorance at least is largely irremediable. We shall never learn the affinities of beauty, for they lie too deep in nature and too far back in the mysterious history of man. The amateur, in consequence, will always grudgingly receive details of method, which can be stated but never can wholly be explained; nay, on the principle laid down in Hudibras, that—

Still the less they understand,
The more they admire the sleight-of-hand,

many are conscious at each new disclosure of a diminution in the ardour of their pleasure. I must therefore warn that well-known character, the general reader, that I am here embarked upon a most distasteful business: taking down the picture from the wall and looking on the back; and, like the inquiring child, pulling the musical cart to pieces.

 CHOICE OF WORDS

The art of literature stands apart from among its sisters, because the material in which the literary artist works is the dialect of life; hence, on the one hand, a strange freshness and immediacy of address to the public mind, which is ready prepared to understand it; but hence, on the other, a singular limitation. The sister arts enjoy the use of a plastic and ductile material, like the modeler’s clay; literature alone is condemned to work in mosaic with finite and quite rigid words. You have seen these blocks, dear to the nursery: this one a pillar, that a pediment, a third a window or a vase. It is with blocks of just such arbitrary size and figure that the literary architect is con­demned to design the palace of his art. Nor is this all; for since these blocks, or words, are the acknowledged currency of our daily affairs, there are here possible none of those suppressions by which other arts obtain relief, continuity, and vigour: no hieroglyphic touch, no smoothed impasto, no inscrutable shad­ow, as in painting; no blank wall, as in architecture; but every word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph must move in a logical progression, and convey a definite conventional import.

Now the first merit which attracts in the pages of a good writer, or the talk of a brilliant conversationalist, is the apt choice and contrast of the words employed. It is, indeed, a strange art to take these blocks, rudely conceived for the pur­pose of the market or the bar, and by tact of application touch them to the finest meanings and distinctions, restore to them their primal energy, wittily shift them to another issue, or make of them a drum to rouse the passions. But though this form of merit is without doubt the most sensible and seizing, it is far from being equally present in all writers.

The effect of words in Shakespeare, their singular justice, significance, and poetic charm, is different, indeed, from the effect of words in Addison or Fielding. Or, to take an example nearer home, the words in Carlyle seem electrified into an energy of lineament, like the faces of men furiously moved; whilst the words in Macaulay, apt enough to convey his meaning, harmonious enough in sound, yet glide from the memory like undistinguished elements in a general effect.

But the first class of writers has no monopoly of literary merit. There is a sense in which Addison is superior to Carlyle; a sense in which Cicero is better than Tacitus, in which Voltaire excels Montaigne: it certainly lies not in the choice of words; it lies not in the interest or value of the matter; it lies not in force of intellect, of poetry, or of humor. The three first are but infants to the three second; and yet each, in a particular point of literary art, excels his superior in the whole. What is that point?
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Becoming a Writer - Willa Cather's "On the Art of Fiction"

Willa Cather on a 1973 stampImage via Wikipedia

WILLA CATHER (1873-1947)
"ON THE ART OF FICTION"

One is sometimes asked about the "obstacles" that confront young writers who are trying to do good work. I should say the greatest obstacles that writers today have to get over are the daz­zling journalistic successes of twenty years ago, stories that sur­prised and delighted by their sharp photographic detail and that were really nothing more than lively pieces of reporting. The whole aim of that school of writing was novelty--never a very important thing in art. They gave us, altogether, poor stan­dards--taught us to multiply our ideas instead of to condense them. They tried to make a story out of every theme that occurred to them and to get returns on every situation that suggested itself. They got returns, of a kind. But their work, when one looks back on it, now that the novelty upon which they counted so much is gone, is journalistic and thin. The especial merit of a good reportorial story is that it shall be intensely interesting and pertinent today and shall have lost its point by tomorrow.

Art, it seems to me, should simplify That, indeed, is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what con­ventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole—so that all that one has sup­pressed and cut away is there to the reader's consciousness as much as if it were in type on the page. Millet had done hun­dreds of sketches of peasants sowing grain, some of them very complicated and interesting, but when he came to paint the spirit of them all into one picture, "The Sower," the composition is so simple that it seems inevitable. All the discarded sketches that went before made the picture what it finally became, and the process was all the time one of simplifying, of sacrificing many conceptions good in themselves for one that was better and more universal.

Any first-rate novel or story must have in it the strength of a dozen fairly good stories that have been sacrificed to it. A good workman can't be a cheap workman; he can't be stingy about wasting material, and he cannot compromise.

Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a mar­ket demand--a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods--or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.

The courage to go on without compromise does not come to a writer all at once ­nor, for that matter, does the ability. Both are phases of natural development. In the beginning, the artist, like his public, is wed­ded to old forms, old ideals, and his vision is blurred by the memory of old delights he would like to recapture.
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