641: Relentless Persuasion.

He hated the Press as he hated advertising and television, he hated mass-media, the relentless persuasion of the twentieth century.

(John le Carré, Call for the Dead. Boston: Hill, 1987, p. 146).

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641: Relentless Persuasion.

636: Death of Balzac.

Balzac’s death was known in a moment, it would seem, to his creditors, and they came clamoring to the door, and invaded the house — a ravening horde, ransacking rooms and hunting for valuables. They drove the widow away, and she found a temporary home with Madame de Surville, at 47 rue des Martyrs. This house and number are yet unchanged. Cabinets and drawers were torn open, and about the grounds were scattered his letters and papers, sketches of new stories, drafts of contemplated work — all, that could be, collected by his friends, also hurrying to the spot. They found manuscripts in the shops around, ready to enwrap butter and groceries. One characteristic and most valuable letter was tracked to three places, in three pieces, by an enthusiast, who rescued the first piece just as it was twisted up and ready to light a cobbler’s pipe.

“He died in the night,” continues Hugo. “He was first taken to the Chapel Beaujon… The funeral service took place at Saint-Philippe-du-Roule. As I stood by the coffin I remembered that there my second daughter had been baptized. I had not been in the church since. The procession crossed Paris, and went by way of the boulevards to Père-Lachaise. Rain was falling as we left the church, and when we reached the cemetery. It was one of those days when the heavens seemed to weep. We walked the whole distance. I was at the head of the coffin on the right, holding one of the silver tassels of the pall. Alexandre Dumas was on the other side… When we reached the grave, which was on the brow of the hill, the crowd was immense… The coffin was lowered into the grave, which is near to those of Charles Nodier and Casimir Delavigne. The priest said a last prayer and I a few words. While I was speaking the sun went down. All Paris lay before me, afar off, in the splendid mists of the sinking orb, the glow of which seemed to fall into the grave at my feet, as the dull sounds of the sods dropping on the coffin broke in upon my last words.”

Yes, stretched before his grave, lies all Paris, as his Rastignac saw it, when he turned from the fossecommune, into which they had just thrown the body of Pére Goriot, and with his clenched fist, flung out his grand defiance toward the great, beautiful, cruel city: “À nous deux maintenant!

(Benjamin Ellis Martin & Charlotte M. Martin, “The Paris of Honoré de Balzac,” Scribner’s Magazine, Vol. XXVI, 1899, pp. 602–603).

636: Death of Balzac.

631: War.

It makes no difference what men think of war. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

(Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian. London: Picador, 2015, p. 262).

631: War.

629: In the Dark.

I think that, in an ascending age, the classic of yesterday becomes the degenerate of to-morrow. […] In a descending age, the degenerate of yesterday becomes to-morrow’s classic. People too readily accept the endorsement of posterity as a demonstration of an artistic claim to merit. But if posterity is inferior to the age which condemned the artist originally, obviously the admiration of posterity is worth nothing, and a man who finds his works increasingly admired as he grows older, should ask himself whether the age is getting better or worse. It may be the increasing vulgarity of his contemporaries which alone accounts for his increasing popularity. Therefore, to outline the probable character of a work of art of the future is to grope entirely in the dark. For if man continues degenerating, modern standards will be too far above his head to be comprehended. And if he becomes more desirable than he is at present, modern classics will appear as so much rubbish.

(Anthony Ludovici; quoted in Meredith Starr, The Future of the Novel. Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1921, p. 46).

629: In the Dark.

621: A New Style.

Modern man is born in hospital and dies in hospital — hence he should also live in a place like a hospital. — This maxim had just be formulated by a leading architect, and another one, a reformer of interior decoration, demanded movable partition-walls in flats, on the grounds that in living together man must learn to trust man and not shut himself off in a spirit of separatism. A new time had then just begun (for that is, after all, something that time is doing all the time), and a new time needs a new style.

(Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities, Vol. 1. New York: Capricorn Books, 1965, p. 16).

621: A New Style.

619: Appreciation in the Grand Style.

Plagiarism is an art in which the finest critical power is exhibited by means of creation. To understand fully another man’s work is to create it anew under the form of an idea, and to embody this idea in another artistic mould is to criticize the original work in the best manner. The greatest of poets are naturally the greatest of critics; their plagiarism is appreciation in the grand style.

(Edward Wright, “The Art of Plagiarism,” The Living Age, Vol. CCXLI, 1904, p. 373).

619: Appreciation in the Grand Style.