Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ballet costumes by Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943), from here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Now that I've finally finished the (staggering) Augie March, four more notes on it:

1. Bellow carries on introducing new characters right up until page 613 of this 616-page book, finishing with the "grotesque" maid Jacqueline, who gets a 300-word paragraph of description even though there is no longer time for her to do anything whatsoever. That is awesome.

2. Relatedly, the book contains my favourite ever compound adjective: "furniture-insatiable", about Einhorn's wife Tillie.

3. Martin Amis often mentions Bellow as an influence, and this passage very much seems to prefigure some of aspects of Amis' style:

"Around him spectators from the millions gowping at him, famine-marks, louse-vehicles, the supply of wars, the living fringe of a great number sunk in the ground, dead, and buzzing or jumping over Asia like diatoms of the vast bath of the ocean in the pins of the sun."

4. Someone called Trevor has, for some reason, used an OCR programme to post the entire text online here, which is useful if you want to look anything up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"There was another incident that took place prior to the shooting of Notorious [in 1944]. Ben Hecht and I went over to the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena to meet Dr. Millikan, at that time one of the leading scientists in America. We were shown into his office, and there in a corner was a bust of Einstein. Very impressive. The first question we asked him was: 'Dr. Millikan, how large would an atom bomb be?' He looked at us and said, 'You want to have yourselves arrested and hae me arrested as well?' Then he spent an hour telling us how impossible our idea was, and he concluded that if only they could harness hydrogen, then that would be something. He thought he had succeeded in convincing us that we were barking up the wrong tree, but I learned later that afterward the FBI had me under surveillance for three months."

- Alfred Hitchcock, from Hitchcock Truffaut by Francois Truffaut

Thursday, April 02, 2009

"External life being so mighty, the instruments so huge and terrible, the performances so great, the thoughts so great and threatening, you produce a someone who can exist before it. You invent a man who can stand before the terrible appearances. This way he can't get justice and he can't give justice, but he can live. And this is what mere humanity always does. It's made up of these inventors or artists, millions and millions of them, each in his own way trying to recruit other people to play a supporting role and sustain him in his make-believe... That's the struggle of humanity, to recruit others to your version of what's real."

"I mean you have been disappointed in love, but don't you know how many things there are to be disappointed in besides love? You are lucky to be still disappointed in love. Later it may be even more terrible."

- both from Chapter 19 of The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow