Six Memos for the Next Millennium/the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures 1985-86 Publisher: Vintage

Six Memos for the Next Millennium/the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures 1985-86 Publisher: Vintage

Language: English

Pages: 0

ISBN: B004T5YB20

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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priego che vi piaccia di pormi a pie." "M istress Oretta, if you please, I shall carry you a great part of the way we have to go on horseback, with one of the best stories in the world." "Sir," she replied, "I pray you to do so; that will be most agreeable." Hearing this, master cavalier, who perhaps fared no better with sword at side tha n with tale on tongue, began his story, which was indeed a very fine one. But what with his repeating of the same word three or four or six times over, his

knowledge that is outside the individ ual, outside the subjective. It is right, then, for me to declare myself closer to the second position, that of identifica tion with the world soul. Still there is another definition in which I recognize myself fully, and that is the ima gination as a repertor y of what is potentia l, what is hypothetica l, of what does not exist and has never existed, and perhaps will never exist but might have existed. In Starobinski's treatment of the subject, this comes

choose between the infinite forms of the possible and the impossible. The ima gination is a kind of electronic machine that takes account of all possible combinations and chooses the ones that are appropriate to a particular purpose, or are simply the most interesting, pleasing, or amusing. I have yet to expla in what part the indirect ima ginary has in this gulf of the fantastic, by which I mea n the ima ges supplied by culture, whether this be mass culture or any other kind of tradition. This

Eichendor ff, Potocki, Gogol, Nerval, Gautier, Hawthorne, Poe, Dickens, Turgenev, Leskov, and continues down to Stevenson, Kipling, and Wells. And along with this I followed another, sometimes in the very same authors: the vein that makes fantastic events spring from the ever yday—an inner, mental, invisible fantasy, culmina ting in Henry James. Will the literature of the fantastic be possible in the twenty-first century, with the growing infla tion of prefabricated ima ges? Two paths seem to be

capable of weaving together the various branches of knowledge, the various "codes," into a ma nifold and multifaceted vision of the world. One writer who most certainly placed no limitations on the ambitiousness of his projects was Goethe, who in 1780 confided to Charlotte von Stein that he was pla nning a "novel about the universe." We know next to nothing about how he intended to lend substance to this notion, but the very fact that he chose the novel as the literary form that might contain

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