Sunday, November 27, 2005

Charles Bukowski: I don’t think anything

what?

I was already old and hadn't made it
as a writer
when a young man sitting on my couch
asked me,
"what do you think of Huxley living up
in the Hollywood hills while you live down here?"
"I don't think anything about it,"
I told him.
"what do you mean?" he asked.
"I mean, I don't think it has anything
to do with anything."

now the young man who asked me
that question lives up in the hills
and I still live down here
and I still don't think it has anything to do with
anything.
especially with writing.
but people keep asking foolish
questions,
don't
they?


Charles Bukowski, The Flash of Lightning
Behind the Mountain
, Harper Collins, 2004

Friday, November 25, 2005

Oslo






































































































(jc)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Erasmus: What a spectacle they offer!

As for artistic performers, what a spectacle they offer! since self-love is the special mark of them all. You will sooner find one of them ready to surrender his patrimony than one who will admit he is not at the pinnacle of his profession. This is especially true of actors, singers, orators, and poets; the more ignorant one of them is, the better pleased he will be with himself, the more he will preen and show off. And as like is attracted to like, the more incompetent the performer, the more admirers he will attract, so that the worst art delights most people - the greater of mankind being, as I said before, given over to folly. If then the incompetent man pleases himself best and gains the admiration of most people, why should he bother with real skills which will cost him a lot to acquire, yield little, afflict him with doubts and misgivings, and in the end please many fewer people?

Desiderius Erasmus, The Praise of Folly, A Norton Critical Edition, translated by Robert M. Adams

Sunday, November 13, 2005

O que é "literatura"?

Júlio Dinis, o início de A Morgadinha dos Canaviais:

Ao cair de uma tarde de Dezembro, de sincero e genuíno Dezembro, chuvoso, frio, açoutado do sul e sem contrafeitos sorrisos de primavera, subiam dois viandantes a encosta de um monte por a estreita e sinuosa vereda, que pretensiosamente gozava das honras de estrada, à falta de competidora, em que melhor coubessem.
Era nos extremos do Minho e onde esta risonha e feracíssima província começa já a ressentir-se, senão ainda nos vales e planuras, nos visos dos outeiros pelo menos, da vizinhança de sua irmã, a alpestre e severa Trás-os-Montes.

O que é que se perde se se eliminarem no texto de Júlio Dinis algumas palavras e frases e se condensar a informação transmitida pelo texto em duas frases curtas?

Ao cair de uma tarde de Dezembro subiam dois viandantes a encosta de um monte por uma sinuosa vereda. Era nos extremos do Minho, na vizinhança de Trás-os-Montes.

O que é a "literatura"?



Thursday, November 10, 2005

Casas















































































(jc)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Académicos

Há dois tipos de trabalhos académicos. Uns são, salvo seja, "politicamente correctos" e convencionais, de tipo enciclopédico: são às vezes eruditos, frequentemente inventários enfadonhos - e nem sempre úteis - de interpretações e opiniões alheias. Multiplicar as notas de rodapé nem sempre os ajuda, pois às vezes a citação não passa de uma forma de exibicionismo superficial e de submissão cega à instituição universitária. Estes tipos de trabalho são muitas vezes uma estopada devido à aceitação implícita, senão reverenciosa, de que tudo ou muito ou uma parte do que foi dito antes tem importância quando de facto não tem: as bibliotecas guardam inúmeras obras fundamentais mas também estão cheias de imbecilidades.

Outros trabalhos ocupam-se da real thing e não estão dispostos a admitir que para entender as coisas mais evidentes num texto se tem de ter lido outra pessoa que o entendeu antes (era o que faltava, que mesmo as evidências e as banalidades mais comuns tivessem de ser atribuídas a cabeças anteriores à nossa só para sacrificar ao ritual das autoridades!) Estes últimos trabalhos fornecerão menos informação histórica ou enciclopédica sobre o tema que tratam, referindo só o que interessa para o caso ou projecto particular. Mas ao praticar um saudável desprezo pela citação inútil, despropositada e pretensiosa, reabilitam juvenilmente - eh oui! - a coragem de "pensar por si". Ousando enfrentar o objecto de estudo sem a protecção de umas frases ou opiniões já solenemente embalsamadas ou engravatadas - e por isso usadas como se fossem escudos protectores - restituem ao texto original a sua força e a sua originalidade usurpada. Simultaneamente evidenciam com frequência uma humildade e uma capacidade de interrogação, de contestação e de investigação bem mais sérias e mais fecundas do que as dos minuciosos inventariadores de opiniões alheias e das verdades do passado.

Há professores e estudantes dos dois tipos. Ambos são úteis e necessários. Mas se os primeiros fazem mapas de caminhos já abertos, são os últimos que realmente se interrogam seriamente sobre aquilo que querem estudar e que, sem preconceitos, tentam entender. Por isso estão na origem do progresso e tornam possível um futuro menos monótono e provavelmente menos contaminado pelo erro.

Cidades habitadas














































































(jc)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Portuguese Irregular Verbs: humor escocês



Alexander McCall Smith, autor da colectânea de "short stories" Portuguese Irrregular Verbs (Anchor Books, New York, 2003) é Professor de Medical Law na Universidade de Edinburgo.


(...) At the time when Unterholzer moved to Regensburg, van Igelfeld was himself involved in his own difficulties over publication. Studia Utteraria Verlag, the publishers of his renowned and monumental work Portuguese Irregular Verbs, had written to him informing him that they had managed to sell only two hundred copies of the book. There was no doubt about the book's status: it was to be found in all the relevant libraries of Europe and North America, and was established as a classic in its field; but the problem was that the field was extremely small. Indeed, almost the entire field met every year at the annual conference and fitted comfortably into one small conference hall, usually with twenty or thirty seats left over.

The publishers pointed out that although two hundred copies had been sold, there still remained seven hundred and thirty-seven in a warehouse in Frankfurt. Over the previous two years, only six copies had been sold, and it occurred to them that at this rate they could expect to have to store the stock until well into the twenty-second century. Von Igelfeld personally saw nothing unacceptable about this, and was outraged when he read the proposal of Studia Litteraria's manager.

'We have received an offer from a firm of interior decorators,' he read. 'They decorate the apartments of wealthy people in a style which indicates good taste and education. They are keen to purchase our entire stock of Portuguese Irregular Verbs, which, as you know, has a very fine binding. They will then, at their own expense and at no cost to yourself, change the embossed spine title to Portuguese Irrigated Herbs and use the books as furniture for the bookshelves they install in the houses of their customers. I am sure you will agree that this is an excellent idea, and I look forward to receiving your views on the proposition.'

It was no use, thought von Igelfeld, to attempt to use the arguments of scholarship and value when dealing with commercial men, such as the proprietors of Studia Litteraria undoubtedly were: they only understood the market. It would be far better, then, to ask them to wait for a while and see whether the sales of Portuguese Irregular Verbs picked up. From the commercial point of view, it would surely be more profitable to sell the book as a book rather than as - what was the insulting expression they had used? - furniture. (...)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wednesday, November 02, 2005