Saturday, September 08, 2007

On the Art of Prose . . .

“All art is contained in prose – in part because the whole world is contained in language, in part because words set free contain all possibilities for expression and thought. In prose we give everything by transposition: the colors and forms painting can only give directly, in themselves, without any intimate dimension; the rhythm that music cannot give except directly, in itself, without formal body, without that second body that is an idea; without the structure the architect has to form from hard, given, external things that we erect out of rhythm, indecision, duration, and fluidity; without the reality, which the sculpture must leave in the world, without any aura or transubstantiation; without, finally, poetry in which the poet, like an initiate in a secret society, is subject, albeit voluntarily subject, to an order and a ritual.”

“And there is also in prose convulsive subtlety in which a great actor, the Word, rhythmically transforms the untouchable mystery of the Universe into its corporeal substance.”

(Bernardo Soares / Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. Trans. Alfred Mac Adam)

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