Monday, October 21, 2013

Essays, aphorisms, facts

Vienna Court Opera, 1902
From Michael Hofmann's review of the new Franzen-Reitter-Kehlmann book of Kraus:
Can aphorism be a secure repository for a reputation? I think only by accident, and if there are no more than one or two of them. And better one than two. ... Kraus, of course, took care to write essays as well. Many of his aphorisms are taken from his essays, whose typical mode is to fog or struggle or tunnel or insinuate themselves from one aphorism to the next, sometimes three or four to the page. Just as Shakespeare seems to be full of quotations, so Kraus is full of aphorisms.
More about Franzen-Reitter-Kehlmann-Kraus.

Noel Gallagher has no time for Shakespeare, who just made stuff up. Noel Gallagher likes reading only factual stuff, so he might have time for Morrissey's brand new autobiography, a Penguin Classic. Autobiographies are factual, classical ones more so. (Then, again, Gallagher might be turned off by Morrissey's literary references.)

As someone pointed out on Facebook,  it's not true that Gallagher will ever be found in a champagne supernova or that he will never die. When he sang lyrics to the contrary, he was just making it up.

More about Morrissey's brand new classic autobiography, which is already #1 with a bullet on the UK charts.

Kraus stalked the actual-factual in cafés. Kurt Wolff on Kraus:
It was only on rare occasions that I witnessed the side of Kraus that flourished in café conversations, an activity to which he sacrificed thousands of hours--although "sacrifice" is probably the wrong word, since he clearly thrived in this atmosphere. ... The café was where he picked up a great deal of information not to be found in the newspapers, which sooner or later he could put to good use.
But then, Wolff adds, Kraus worked on this material in long hours of nocturnal hard work, like Kafka, which implies it wasn't just information that Kraus wrote. He, too, was makin' stuff up.

The Wolff quotation is from Kurt Wolff: a Portrait in Essays and Letters (1991), which the University of Chicago Press has just this month issued as a paperback. Probably the letters are factual.

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