Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Clearance items

The most powerful critic in America is Cliff’s Notes.

Gildersleeve grumbled about “tenth transmissions of stock observations.”

The thing you must know about generosity: few will recognize it as such. People expect their gifts to show up on schedule, as if by magic or divine grace.

Everywhere you look people are caught up in the fantasy of two persons’ falling in love.

Less perhaps than any other mode of inquiry, criticism is aware of its own past. Like the heirs of certain great American fortunes who pick up and move to a place where the paterfamilias has made no mark, critics are likely to be embarrassed by what they have inherited at the same time that they are dependent upon it, eager to strike out on their own while having every intention of announcing themselves by the family name.

A received idea can make a man forget his own experience.

Antisemites fault the Jews for failing to assimilate—for failing, that is, to abandon their interests. Whenever they have done so, however, the Jews have accepted their weakness and thrown themselves upon the mercy of the state; which all too often has been merely a prelude to state-sponsored antisemitism. Those who detest the state of Israel, then, detest the fact that the Jews have failed to make themselves weak—have failed to expose themselves to the assaults of antisemites.

He was a little magazine—a loose association of literary impulses with no clear-cut identity and irregular appearance.

The price that the Jew paid for entering modernity on an equal basis with Catholics, Protestants, intellectuals, dandies, schemers, and shopkeepers was to raise the question what it means to be a Jew. When his religious exclusivity was not something he could choose to defer, the question did not arise.

Beauty represents the desire to surrender yourself.

Between understanding and acceptance lies a desert that must be crossed.

Much of the confusion in any field of thought is caused by exaggerating distinctions into differences.

To criticize the ballet for not displaying more sexual energy is not merely wrong. It is beside the point.

An entire generation has reached adulthood in a fervor of multiculturalism.

I will agree that it is unimportant to study “the best that has been said and known in the world” if my intellectual opponents will agree that it is equally important to cleanse themselves of parasitical opinion.

Criticizing them, at length and in detail, is the only way to understand some writers.

2 comments:

Rebecca V. O'Neal said...

This: "A received idea can make a man forget his own experience." reminds me of this: "When style is overpowering it takes us over. We think we have said what we have heard."

Which leads me to this: "Less perhaps than any other mode of inquiry, criticism is aware of its own past. Like the heirs of certain great American fortunes who pick up and move to a place where the paterfamilias has made no mark, critics are likely to be embarrassed by what they have inherited at the same time that they are dependent upon it, eager to strike out on their own while having every intention of announcing themselves by the family name." While clearly influenced by J.V. Cunningham, no one could accuse your ideas of being by his defined.

Good stuff.

elberry said...

Very interesting, much to ponder.