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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Sources of Literary Creation

posted by on March 4 at 12:59 PM

One source is surely wine

Says Tartakovsky:

Cratinus wasn’t entirely kidding: Legend says he died of grief upon seeing a full cask of wine break into pieces. And writers of subsequent ages have taken his sentiment to heart. Wherever you find the pen-and-ink set, drink is an emblem of vivacity and wit, at times regarded with semireligious reverence.

Says Tartakovsky:

Some writers have found even deeper use for alcohol. Tennyson, according to his friend James Knowles’ 1893 reminiscence, would “look upon his bottle of port as a sort of counsellor.” When the poet received the letter offering him the poet laureateship of Britain, he brooded inconclusively until finally composing two letters — one accepting and one declining — placing them on his table and resolving to decide which to send after finishing his bottle of port. He accepted.

Says Tartakovsky:

Intoxication, if not the source of literary creation, creates a cerebral aura congenial to it. It recasts the glare of life in a softer hue. It soothes anxiety and other stultifiers of reflection. It warms the mind and thaws thoughts frozen in timidity. The fruit of the vine does not give us insight but aids our discovery of it; it can allow you to eavesdrop on yourself.

Says Baudelaire:

De vin, de poesie ou de vertu, a votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.

RSS icon Comments


Charles! Seriously, ENOUGH!!

Posted by nomi malone. | March 4, 2008 1:09 PM

my goodness - a Mudede post that is fully understandable, rational, and not about architecture or women! (except for the picture, which is more about wine) Of course it's mostly quotes, but whatev. I'm still properly awed.

Now the real test is whether it still makes so much sense once I sober up ... (especially the french.)

Posted by Seattle Exile | March 4, 2008 1:12 PM

They now admit Moses was high on drugs when he wrote the Ten Commandments.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 4, 2008 1:17 PM

I am in total agreement.

Posted by Fnarf | March 4, 2008 1:23 PM

In percoset veritas.

Posted by flamingbanjo | March 4, 2008 1:29 PM

Middling to muddling prose, signifying nothing. Truth is, writers do what everyone else does once they sober up: wonder what the hell were they thinking, and quickly destroy their inspired jottings before anyone sees how inane they truly were.

Posted by Writer | March 4, 2008 1:36 PM

Well, this actually explains quite a bit. Come on, now, Charles, 'fess up: you're drunk when you write all this dreck.

Posted by Bwana | March 4, 2008 1:42 PM

Writer's bottle pops.
Drink, drunk, sleep. Spring up to take
sharp pencil sober.

Posted by unPC | March 4, 2008 2:25 PM


Posted by unPC | March 4, 2008 2:26 PM

Jesus, those are some manly hands.

Posted by laterite | March 4, 2008 2:30 PM

Wine or coffee, pick your poison. The former is for rabbits (Fitzgerald), the latter for turtles (Balzac, though coffee killed him in the end. For real.)

Posted by Eric F | March 4, 2008 2:35 PM

"Even though I have read a lot, I have drunk even more. I have written much less than most people who write; but I have drunk much more than most people who drink." --Guy Debord

What he said.

Posted by Jeff Stevens | March 4, 2008 3:11 PM

thinly veiled sexy menstruation imagery.

Posted by max solomon | March 4, 2008 4:00 PM

Says Mudede: I at times regard my pen-and-ink set with semireligious reverence. What is it about my pen-and-ink set that causes me to service it with masturbatory ramblings? Why does it remain limp despite my wankeries?

Says Mudede: I have found an even deeper use for alcohol. I look on it as a counselor. I draft another Wikiquote-enabled blogging, and hesitate over the post button as I down my shot. I click post. I am man. My pen-and-ink set doth spurt mightily.

Says Mudede: Hegel. I mean...what? No, drinking is like Hegel. Well, like Lacanian Hegelianism. Or something. Yeah. Where the fuck is my drink? Am I outside?

Says Baudelaire: "tre un merde comme Mudede utile m'a paru toujours quelque chose de bien hideux." --Mon cur mis nu (1864)

Posted by IckyHomo | March 4, 2008 8:10 PM

IckyHomo at least had his accents right in the French part. Charles, if you have to quote dans le texte, at least figure out the spelling, eh?

Posted by gavastik | March 4, 2008 9:35 PM

My theory about IckyHomo: He, she or it is not actually an asshole. He, she or it is in fact a nice person--a famous local Friend Of The Stranger, even--pretending to be an asshole. Ya gotta love the Internets! Who is you, then, IckyHomo? Jonathan Raban? Sherman Alexie? Heather McHugh?

The mind truly boggles itself. Who, indeed, is you? Who?

Posted by Jeff Stevens | March 5, 2008 9:49 AM

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