Sunday, November 30, 2014

whooof whooooooof

So we all have the same problems, I expect, and was just reading about -- because I am indeed writing a book on Pascal and have made far too many beginnings over the last three years, so that all sorts of perceptions I had then got lost or drowned, and now it is a MESS, but that is (probably, who knows? not me) the way things work - was reading about the company of "solitaires" who then taught in the "petites ecoles" of Port-Royal. How nice to be solitary in a company, and I think Mark Strand wrote something about it in a poem, I read today in our local newspaper. By the way, I remind myself, having read it in the enormously readable book on Jansenism by Francoise Hildesheimer, that  the name of Port-Royal, as in the convents of Port-Royal des Champs, in the field, and Port-Royal in Paris, comes from Porois, which is a swamp. Now that's really encouraging when you think your writing is 1) in a swamp 2) or swamping you.

What I first loved was, besides the secrecy of the Memorial, Pascal's death mask, so strangely like Antonin Artaud...

For Thanksgiving, we try to ask in anyone among our friends who isn't doing family things, so we had two visiting Swiss professors, one of the history of medieval philosophy (and yes I could have asked her about Augustine or Jansenius, but was so interested in her history of the Electric Fish that I got swamped down and didn't) and the other, author of a wonderful book on cubist poetry and art: that's something I would LOVE to have written, but in any case the translations and edition I did with my beloved disappeared friend Pat Terry is coming out NOW this week with Black Widow Press, called Pierre Reverdy, Early to Late, and it looks lovely and very Reverdian.

Enough, then, about Pascal and Reverdy and Augustine and Jansenius and the Flemish and Swiss -- except that I so loved being with Isabelle Lorenz in Berlin, of Swiss heritage and of worldwide delight -- am I lucky or what? 

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