mantra, Tennyson, individuality

April 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

In a letter to Mr. B. P. Blood, Tennyson reports of himself as follows:—

“I have never had any revelations through anæsthetics, but a kind of waking trance—this for lack of a better word—I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently, till all at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest, utterly beyond words—where death was an almost laughable impossibility—the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the state is utterly beyond words?”

Professor Tyndall, in a letter, recalls Tennyson saying of this condition:

“By God Almighty! there is no delusion in the matter! It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder, associated with absolute clearness of mind.”

– Memoirs of Alfred Tennyson, ii. 473.

April 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

Kant, Immanuel; translated by James W. Ellington [1785] (1993)

April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment


April 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

It is warmer here and the colors so bright they seem like gifts. So often, I am impressed by them now. Did I not see them properly before, years ago? Or do my eyes receive them differently now? So vivid they appear amazing to me, supernatural.


April 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Donald Barthelme, The Art of Fiction No. 66

from interview by J.D. O’Hara


Wordsworth spoke of growing up “Fostered alike by beauty and by fear,” and he put fearful experiences first; but he also said that his primary subject was “the mind of Man.” Don’t you write more about the mind than about the external world?


In a commonsense way, you write about the impingement of one upon the other—my subjectivity bumping into other subjectivities, or into the Prime Rate. You exist for me in my perception of you (and in some rough, Raggedy Andy way, for yourself, of course). That’s what’s curious when people say, of writers, This one’s a realist, this one’s a surrealist, this one’s a super-realist, and so forth. In fact, everybody’s a realist offering true accounts of the activity of mind. There are only realists.

via The Paris Review


April 7, 2014 § 1 Comment



April 4, 2014 § Leave a comment


“Cowardice is the most terrible of vices.”

Finally I begin The Master and Margarita.


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