Stendhal: She Looks At Herself…

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Caravaggio, Narcissus

 

 

 

She looks at herself instead of looking at you, and so doesn’t know you.

During the two or three little outbursts of passion she has allowed herself in your favor, she has, by a great effort of imagination, seen in you the hero of her dreams, and not yourself as you really are.

 

-Stendhal, The Red and the Black

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McCullers: Meanness And Corruption

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“Wherever you look there’s meanness and corruption. This room, this bottle of grape wine, these fruits in the basket, are all products of profit and loss. A fellow can’t live without giving his passive acceptance to meanness. Somebody wears his tail to a frazzle for every mouthful we eat and every stitch we wear — and nobody seems to know. Everybody is blind, dumb, and blunt-headed — stupid and mean.”

-Carson McCullers

Miller: Weakness Which Blossomed

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Damien Hirst, Skull

 

 

 

 

“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos. From the beginning it was never anything but chaos: it was a fluid which enveloped me, which I breathed in through the gills. In the sub-strata, where the moon shone steady and opaque, it was smooth and fecundating; above it was a jangle and a discord. In everything I quickly saw the opposite, the contradiction, and between the real and the unreal the irony, the paradox. I was my own worst enemy. There was nothing I wished to do which I could just as well not do. Even as a child, when I lacked for nothing, I wanted to die: I wanted to surrender because I saw no sense in struggling. I felt that nothing would be proved, substantiated, added or subtracted by continuing an existence which I had not asked for. Everybody around me was a failure, or if not a failure, ridiculous. Especially the successful ones. The successful ones bored me to tears. I was sympathetic to a fault, but it was not sympathy that made me so. It was a purely negative quality, a weakness which blossomed at the mere sight of human misery. I never helped any one expecting that it would do any good; I helped because I was helpless to do otherwise. To want to change the condition of affairs seemed futile to me; nothing would be altered, I was convinced, except by a change of heart, and who could change the hearts of men? Now and then a friend was converted; it was something to make me puke. I had no more need of God than He had of me, and if there were one, I often said to myself, I would meet Him calmly and spit in His face.”

 

-Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn

Henry Miller: Deeper Than Regret

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Mark Rothko Untitled 1969

 

 

 

 

“When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deeper than regret or pain or sorrow, it is the abyss into which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand.”

― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Lautréamont: She Wanders…

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Ashes by Edvard Munch

 

 

“She wanders on like a poplar leaf borne upon a whirlwind of unconscious associations, she, her youth, her illusions and her former happiness remembered now through the mists of a ruined mind.”

― Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror