Friday, January 26, 2007

"Sir, it is Sunday."

from a review of Pages from the Goncourt Journals in the latest New York Review of Books:

The recurrent personalities of the Journal are among the finest comic characters in French literature: George Sand, the "ghostly automaton" who chain-smokes cigarettes and chain-writes novels ("One day she finished a novel at one o'clock in the morning. 'Good heavens,' she said, 'I've finished!' And she promptly started another"); Alexandre Dumas fils, the health-obsessed son of a famous father, who agonizes over half a sentence for a year, "and then his father arrives from Naples and says: 'Get me a cutlet and I'll finish your play for you,' writes the scenario, brings in a whore, borrows some money and goes off again"; Émile Zola, tormented by ambition and bored by his own interminable sequence of novels; Hippolyte Taine, the "pot-bellied clergyman" with a "horrifying" wife, "who looks like a diseased silkworm which a schoolboy has daubed with ink"; and the star of the earlier volumes, the exuberantly friendly Flaubert, who dreams of Babylonian excess and leads a monkish life at Croisset—"he had given instructions to his servant to speak to him only on Sundays, and then only in order to say: 'Sir, it is Sunday.'"

6 comments:

Antonia said...

that's a nice one 'it's sunday' on friday...:)
(chain-Bernhard-blogging, wouldn't that be something?) I enjoyed it here, you've a jolly nice blog.
Take care, Sire.

Alok said...

I enjoyed and learned from your comments too :)

You have been the most prolific commenter on my small blog. Now I am feeling like taking a (short) break from blogging too!

Antonia said...

thanks alok..
I'll be coming back, in a while,but not now.
maybe you could use time off from the blog and contemplate about sublimative misanthropy? :)

Alok said...

Hehe, that I do all the time :)

I have got Musil from the library this sunday. I am starting on the musil reading project!! I even read the first hundred pages, almost compulsively, it is fantastic. Will post about it.

Antonia said...

I told you, musil is punk.
my all time fav is chapter 100

Alok said...

yup, I will be there before long!