Although Camus was never a partisan of capitalism and Sartre was never a Communist, these two antagonists wound up representing far larger forcQuotes:
Although Camus was never a partisan of capitalism and Sartre was never a Communist, these two antagonists wound up representing far larger forces than themselves.
People were forced to make an impossible choice: between Sartre's grim dialectical realism (Communism as the only path to qualitative change, and the ugly face of such a change) and Camus's principled leftist rejection of Communism (which left him unable to identify with any significant force struggling for change).
Camus frequently argued against pro-Communist leftist intellectuals, whose leader after 1952 he considered to be Sartre. After 1952, Sartre argued against believers in nonviolence, and he took Camus as their spokesperson.
Beauvoir offered herself to Camus as a lover, but he rebuffed her. Camus said: "Imagine what she'd be saying on the pillow afterwards. How awful—such a chatterbox, a total bluestocking, unbearable."
Camus was quite capable of being a party of one, if it came to that, and of going against all trends of history—as long as he believed that he was in the right. These strengths would never flag.
If both adversaries began with a sense of the world's absurdity, Camus claimed that the French acknowledged and lived within this awareness, while the Germans sought to overcome it by dominating the world.
Sartre treated violence as a token of becoming real.
Camus: "At the age of thirty, almost overnight, I knew fame. I don't regret it. I might have had nightmares about it later on. Now I know what it is. It's not much." This lack of pleasure led, after the reception given to Caligula, to a tone of complaint: "Thirty articles. The reason for the praise is as bad as the reason for the criticism. Scarcely one or two authentic voices or voices moved to emotion. Fame! In the best of cases, a misunderstanding."
Sartre later recalled that his fame brought down attacks from both the Left and Right: "Fame, for me, was hatred."
Sartre: "Realism destroys the very idea of humanity, for it is a submission to things."
This young man [Camus] was already the person Sartre was trying to become: the engaged but not starry-eyed or ideological writer, at once "poet of freedom" and political activist.
Camus: I prefer committed men to literatures of commitment.
Camus: It seems that writing a poem about spring today would be to serve capitalism.
Camus: Hegel's great error "which consists in reducing man to history." Camus believed that humans completely absorbed into history have lost all freedom.
Sartre's demand for commitment placed history above the individual, unlike nature history prescribes responsibilities that the individual must meet, or it refers to vast forces that subordinate the individual.
Camus pointed out that existentialism takes two forms: the religious and the atheistic. Atheistic existentialism, including that of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre, also ends up with "divinization, but it is simply that of history, considered as the only absolute. They no longer believe in God, but they believe in history."
For Camus, if we admit that we are totally within a situation, history would overwhelm our own room fo maneuver and absorb our own choices. For Sartre, our ontological freedom is absolute; yet it always means choosing how to live (or reject) our various determinations.
Camus claimed not to be a philosopher because he laid claim to ares of life not governed by the principles of a synthesizing vision: art knows no logic but its own; morality judges politics; individuals are free not to commit themselves; the world is governed by specific people and processes, not just by a few broad forces.
Camus looked to reconcile freedom with justice in such a way that life can "be free for the individual, but just for all".
Camus called for "a collectivist economy to take away money's privilege".
Camus wanted socialism with freedom, saw the Communists as justice without freedom.
Camus' deepest commitment was to avoid making a virtue of violence.
Sartre acknowledged that using violence was always a setback and that violence against violence perpetuates it, but that violence is nonetheless "the only means" for ending violence.
Camus' famous remark that he did not learn about freedom from Marx, "I learned it from poverty".
Camus: "Those who pretend to know everything and settle everything finish by killing everything."
Oddly Camus, the writer most willing and able to tackle the question of murder in the 20th century became blinded by ideology. He separated Communism from the other evils of the century and directed his animus at just this one.
Camus: From the existentialists comes the mania for self-accusation, so that they can accuse others more easily. That has always seemed to me to be an extra dirty little trick.
[Camus' Hell is a bar in Amsterdam, Sartre's a 2nd Empire Living Room, Beauvoir's? that room of jealousy where she turns up the gas on the 3rd wheel in She Came to Stay? Perhaps they would meet in a completely different sort of Hell, perhaps it's a recreation of Saint Germain under German occupation, but they're the only ones there. All they objects are there, and the idea of people having been there, but it's just them, and everytime they try to get out of the neighborhood they just circle back. If it was narrated by Camus, how would he do it? Beauvoir? Sartre? All three? In the form of a play? In the form of interweaving narrative? In 3rd person?]
Each man was in bad faith about what turned out to be their key political theme, violence.
Sartre: Workers don't go to war, peasants don't go to war, unless they are pushed into it by their leaders, those who control the means of production, the press, communications in general, the educational system, in one word, the bourgeois.
[Sartre wanted to dirty his hands, while Camus wanted to stay clean.] ...more
Reading this made me want to try again with The Bone Clocks now that I understand what the dark mystics are up to. Not that Slade House is amazing, itReading this made me want to try again with The Bone Clocks now that I understand what the dark mystics are up to. Not that Slade House is amazing, it's pretty solid, and definitely pretty British. Mitchell even though he is technically a fantasy writer in general he tends to has a knack for using literary realism tricks to evoke as they say in writing classes "verisimilitude" in the voices of his multiple narrators, which to me can come off as dry but with Mitchell comes off entertaining enough. Parts 1-3 follow this. Part 4 and 5 are where things start to get more interesting and Mitchell turns up the weirdness.
Quotes (some of which are spoilers):
After examining Lady Albertina, Cantillon said that her grief'd severed her ethereal cord to her spirit guide.
I think he knew perfectly well that seances are almost always fraud. When you die, your soul crosses the Dusk between life and the Blank Sea. The journey takes forty-nine days, but there's no Wi-Fi there, so to speak, so no messages can be sent. Either way. Mediums might convince themselves they're hearing voices from the dead, but the boring reality is, it's impossible." Well that's wacko. "That's very exact. Forty-nine days?" Fred Pink shrugs. "The speed of sound's very exact. So's pi. So are chemical formulas."
"But Cantillon, in your narrative, had been a loyal friend and protector." "Had been, yes; but then he became a threat. A kind of apostate, too: the occult's like any religious order—or any bunch of extremists, come to that. It's all beer and sunshine and 'We are your family' as long as you obey orders, but once you get your own ideas or start talking out of school, the knives come out."
The stage props change down the ages, but the dream stays the same: philosophers' stones; magic fountains in lost Tibetan valleys; lichens that slow the decay of our cells; tanks of liquid whatever that'll freeze us for a few centuries; computers that'll store our personalities as ones and zeroes for the rest of time. To call a spade a spade: immortality."
Think about it: about the squalid, shitty reasons that people murder each other in large numbers now. Oil; the drug trade; control over occupied territories and the word 'occupied'. Water. God's true name, His true will, who owns access to Him. The astonishing belief that Iraq can be turned into Sweden by deposing its dictator and smashing the place up a bit. What wouldn't these same warlords, oligarchs, elites and electorates do to enforce their claims over a limited supply of Life Everlasting? Miss Timms, they'd kick off World War III. Our plucky inventors'd be shot by maniacs, be buried in bunkers or die in a nuclear war. If the supply's not limited, the prospects're even bleaker. Yes, we'd all stop dying, but we wouldn't stop breeding. Would we? Men are dogs, Miss Timms; you know that. Give in twenty, fifty years, there'd be thirty, forty, a hundred billion human beings eating up our godforsaken world. We'd be drowning in our own shit even as we fought each other for the last Pot Noodle in the last supermarket. See? Either way you lose. If you're smart enough to discover immortality, you're smart enough to ensure your own supply and keep very very very shutum indeed.
"How did the Grayers achieve what you're saying they achieved?" "A quartet of psychosoteric breakthroughs. First off, they perfected the lacuna. Which is what? A lacuna's a small space that's immune to time, so a candle'll never burn down in it, or a body won't age in it. Second, they enhanced the transversion their Sayyid'd taught them—what the New Age jokers call astral projection—so they could venture out from their bodies, as far as they wanted, for as long as they wanted. Third, they mastered long-term suasioning, so their souls could move into a stranger and occupy that body. Meaning, the Grayers were now free to leave their bodies in the lacuna they created in the attic of Slade House and inhabit bodies in the outside world. You with me so far yes?" Yes, Fred Pink is barking mad. "Assuming souls are real." "Souls are as real as gall bladders, Miss Timms. Believe me." "And nobody's ever held a soul or X-Rayed one because...?" "Is a mind X-rayable? Is hunger? Is jealousy? Time?"
"[The souls of the Engifted can] live inside your mind without your consent, for years if they want, hack into your brain, control your actions and play funny buggers with your memories. Or kill you."...more
The myth vs. the man: well, he made the myth didn't he, and the myth ate him alive. His sad, lonely writer existence filled with the highest of the hiThe myth vs. the man: well, he made the myth didn't he, and the myth ate him alive. His sad, lonely writer existence filled with the highest of the highest self-aggrandizement fables, his nonstop memoir myth, that caught up to him with fame, after On the Road got published in 57, and he started the descent into a media that wanted to lampoon him and alcohol that would devour him. He was married to his mother from a young age, who kept his wild friends away most of the time, his wild friends he would idolize and scorn in equal measure, his wives, lovers, and daughter he'd abandon, always restless, always certain the world was uncertain, and all he really wanted was a little ol' hermit cabin to curl up in, and forgo the whisky, wine, and beer, but it was too deep ingrained in him, the only discipline he really had was to write, and that was indulgence just as much as booze and speed and weed, always out to escape reality and create a new one, close to reality, but always a step away, his golden eternity always out of reach, lost in a bottle of tequila on god's hidden shores.
One of Kerouac's most vivid memories, he later revealed to Neal Cassady, was that his youthful habit of washing his own handkerchiefs met with an obstacle: his mother, who assumed he was doing so because he was masturbating. To combat this Catholic violation in her house, she would sneak up on Jack when he was lying in his bed: "my mother was real rough on me in that respect, she wouldn't allow any kind of sex in the house. They say that makes a man nutty. I guess I'm nutty then."
His journal, now more than ever, served as a "castle" that kept him "aloof" from the rest of humanity, even while that same humanity was spiraling into violent international conflict.
"What is sex? Sex is rigid bone, covered in velvet skin, pounding and ripping into fleshy cavity with heart-pounding passion and blood-red lust. Sex is bang! Bang! That's sex, brother, and don't kid yourself. Bang! Pound! Bang! And then comes a rush of luscious fever, an ocean of pin-prick sensation, and shuddering climax of gushing hot blood. Pow! And then to hell with sex. That's sex, kid."
Saroyan's message to budding writers was potent. He advised them hat the "writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. The writer is everybody's best friend and only true enemy—the good and great enemy. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops."
"I began to write a novel right the City Room [of the Lowell Sun newspaper] about Lowell and the three attendant ills of most middlesized cities: provincialism, bigotry, and materialism."
[second trip that he doesn't take of the SS Dorchester blows up by torpedo]
It was a notion that Sebastian thought pretentious since the core of the Young Prometheans had been sent to all corners of the world to fight the war. He also felt that Kerouac did not understand the essence of what the Prometheans were trying to achieve: "Maybe the picture of being misunderstood and lonely, defying all mankind, appeals to you—it doesn't to me."
"Debauchery is the release of man from whatever stringencies he's applied to himself. In a sense, each debauchery is a private though short-lived insurgence from the static conditions of his society."
Kerouac's assessment of Hemingway was that he was a "supreme craftsman".
Ginsberg also frequented the outskirts of the campus with a select few who straddled the fine line between unbridled village bohemia and the stale polish of academia.
"I have always been restless, unhappy, and seeking new horizons. What shall I do?"
Burroughs turned to his bookshelf, grabbed two books, and made a gift of each: to Ginsberg, Yeat's A Vision, and to Kerouac, Splenger's Decline of the West. "Eddify yer mind, me boy," Burroughs drawled.
Gabrielle still believed that Jack should be pitied and loved for his errant ways and his writing ability. His irresponsibility was that of turbulent genius. She missed her boy sorely; each time she looked out her window, she expected to see him walking down the street. "I know that you don't belong to me anymore but that's life and sooner or later I'll get used to the idea."
It was his new goal, he told Ginsberg, to work hard and establish his "fortune swiftly" and buy a "decent flat" in Montparnasse. He encouraged Allen to discontinue his studies at Columbia and join him in Paris, where the "New Vision would blossom".
There was a penalty to be paid, he felt, for his narcissistic self-absorption.
"I do not want to be lonely or to work, I cannot be practical and I cannot die and I am an apprentice nihilist."
Nietzsche quote Jack likes: "Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical task of this life."
Burroughs found Kerouac's quest for Self-Ultimacy absurd, seeing no use for self-destruction as a means of achieving high art. Burroughs recommended instead a "bang of morphine".
He ate the soaked paper from Benzedrine inhalers, and ingested the ever-present morphine (Burrough's drug of choice).
Gabrielle, often ruled by her bigotry and anti-Semitism, did not like them either (Allen and Bill); she thought Allen was the "devil himself".
Huncke, seven years his senior, was to Kerouac the apotheosis of beat, the Manhattan drug-world slang for being reduced to one's essentials.
"I dedicate myself to myself, to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labours, my sufferances, my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger—because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being."
At age nine Cassady lost his virginity, and, after that, his libido knew no bounds. He had sex with everybody he could, from prepubescent girls to the elderly. He stole an estimated five hundred cars (by his count) between the ages of 14 and 21. Cassady was a sociopath who refused to resign himself to society's conventions, preferring to ride the razor's edge of experience strictly for thrills.
Before he would commit himself to a spell of writing, Kerouac prayed to Jesus Christ and read from the Holy Bible that he kept on his writing desk.
Neal's conversation sometimes bordered on gibberish and was laced with occasional pseudo-intellectual smatterings. Kerouac knew Cassady was a con, yet he felt that there was some worth to befriending him.
"I have been a liar and a shifty weakling by pretending that I was a friend of these people—Ginsberg, Joan, Carr, Burroughs, Kammerer even—when all the time I must have known that we disliked each other."
As he typed, girls constantly passed by his apartment window and it drove him "crazy" that they remained oblivious to him. He wondered why, if a man was doing important "big work", such as his devotion to his novel, did it mean that he had to be "alone and poor" most of the time. Why couldn't he find a woman who would devote her "time and love" to him exclusively?"
Kerouac, whose loneliness was mostly self-imposed
Young, horny, moody, and as impulsive as ever. Once when he was alone, to alleviate his randiness, Jack flicked out a hole in the ground. He dropped his pants and "fucked the earth".
"I am too insane to love anybody else but me."
"The thing that distinguishes these people [John Clellon Holmes' circle] from my Carr-Burroughs-Adams-Ginsberg crowd is that they try their best to be humanly good, while still 'knowing as much', in a way, as the others. I don't feel cold and lost among them." Such an assessment reveals why Holmes' friendship, lasting from 1948 until Kerouac's death, remained consistent.
The road seemed by turns formidable and inspiring. Anchoring his self-doubt from turning to sheer panic, Kerouac resorted to spirituality to guide him: "God is what I love," he closed his journal entry with that first day on the road.
In Cassady's presence, Jack felt "inauthentic", as many people did; for example, when Neal stole a car or scammed a gas station attendant, this put a scare in Jack, who still for the most part retained his middle-class, Catholic, small-town values. Kerouac's desire to split life open, to seize the belly of the beast, outside of his writing, could be experienced vicariously through Neal.
Burroughs: "Neal is, of course, the very soul of the voyage into pure, abstract, meaningless motion. He is the The Mover, compulsive, dedicated, ready to sacrifice family, friends, even his very car itself to the necessity of moving from one place to another. Wife and child may starve, friends exist only to exploit for gas money..Neal must move."
"I was never a "rebel," only a happy, sheepish imbecile, open-hearted & silly with joys. And so I remain."
"Within two years I'm going to marry a young lady. My aim is to write, make money, and buy a big wheat farm."
Disgusted, Kerouac thought Hemingway, the "fat ass," was nothing more than a "fool" for writing of such gory spectacles with such unabashed zeal: "a bull dies too big a death for the cowards in their seats."
Lately Joan had been uncomfortable with their sex life and told him that she felt like a "frog" during intercourse.
"It is the woman who suffers for the sins of man"
Joan saw that her husband did as his mother asked because he was indebted to Gabrielle, who provided physical and emotional comfort to such a degree that he would never be comfortable anywhere (or with anyone) else.
The high-spirited extrovert her husband became when he was drinking easily metamorphosed into a deeply melancholic and introspective man when sober.
29 years old when wrote On the Road in 21 days, 125,000 words. He'd later have to edit it.
He imagined various literary figures duking it out to reign over his artistic sensibilities—Wolfe vs. Proust, Whitman vs. Dostoevsky, Melville vs. Celine, and Faulkner vs. Genet.
Skeptical Kerouac was leery of entering the mountains with Burroughs, who frightened Jack (intentionally) with tales of tree-dwelling vipers and the bellicose "Auca" tribe, which thrived on killing men.
He wrote to Holmes while riding the crest of a tremendous peyote high.
He would complete the bulk of his literary oeuvre between 1951 and 1956.
Kerouac had stocked up on drugs: goofballs, laudanum, opium, speed, and pot.
He preferred to live by Thoreau's credo, opting to sit on a pumpkin rather than a crowded velvet cushion.
Burroughs, who had returned to the United States with a clutch of "dried telepathic vines."
Alene [of The Subterraneans] started to read it and immediately was shocked by Jack's version of their times together: "I could look at it one way and feel it was like a little boy bringing a decapitated rat to me and saying, 'Look, here's my present for you'.
Neal intimated to Carolyn that his friend Jack was a "freeloader".
Buddhism, he hoped, would be the key to correcting all of the negative character traits that he felt skewed his behavior. Lust for women and for alcohol, for example, clouded his thinking.
That we all dream proves that "the world is really transcendental" after all.
"Drinking heavily, you abandon people—and they abandon you—It's a form of partial self murder but too sad to gall all the way"
"As for a woman, what kind of man sells his soul for a gash? A fucking veritable GASH—a great slit between the legs looking more like murder than anything else."
Eventually he hoped to abandon his writing as "just so much sad, human, and arbitrary poppycock" and to retire in a hut by the sea to practice "tranquil meditation unto the grave".
A "pop" is an American haiku consisting of short three-line poems, a "tic" is a "vision of sudden memory", a "blues" is one complete poem a notebook page in length, and "flashes" are "short sleepdreams or drowse daydreams of an enlightened nature describable in a few words."
Helen came to know "the dark underside of all this enthusiasm". She found him "erratic" and "unpredictable". After only two weeks of living together, her psychoanalyst convinced her to have them break up.
"It's a great burden to be alive. A heavy burden, a great big heavy burden. I wish I were safe in Heaven, dead."
The image of the beatnik—a parody on the be-bop style of Thelonious Monk's goatee and beret—totally derailed any serious allusions to being beat. Now, turtlenecked, bongo-banging beat wannabes plagued the Village.
Gabrielle had intercepted Ginsberg's letters from Paris to Kerouac and informed her son that Ginsberg and Burroughs were no longer allowed in "her" home, an ultimatum that he thought odd since he 36 years old and the owner of the house in question. Dutifully, and sadly, Kerouac obeyed this command well into the next decade.
I wish I were free of that slaving meat wheel and safe in heaven dead
The critic characterized Kerouac's style as infected by solipsism.
Gabrielle, a devout Catholic who festooned the Long Island home with religious artifacts, who would not permit women to spend the night. In truth, it was hardly Kerouac's home at all. He was merely a guest abiding by his mother's bigotry. It was as if they were husband and wife.
Ginsberg at their house: "We sat by the television set and there was a retrospective news broadcast about Hitler and the concentration camps. Kerouac and his mother were both drinking. She was also a great tippler, both were drunk, and they began arguing among themselves. And then some German refugee came on the screen and talked about the Holocaust and Kerouac's mother said in front of me: "They're still complaining about Hitler, it's too bad he didn't finish them off." Kerouac agreed with her. I sat there and nodded. Then he said to her, "You dirty cunt, why did you say that?" And she said, "You fucking prick, you heard me say that before." And then began an argument of violence and filth such as I had never heard in any household in my life. I was actually shocked." [It's possible Ginsberg made this up,] his campaign to subtly smear Kerouac's legacy only began to take place after Kerouac's death.
"I wanted to give you an idea of what a crock of shit it is to have to satisfy every tom dick and harry stranger in the world. No wonder Hemingway went to Cuba and Joyce to France. I was in love with the world thru blue purple curtains when I knew you [Gary Snyder] and now I have to look at it thru hard iron eyes."
The vicious and unrelenting criticism did not extend beyond the United States.
Amphetamines didn't fuel his novels of the early 1950s; pure, burning ambition motivated him.
He planned to buy a cabin with acreage in upstate New York, much to Gabrielle's chagrin. She told Caroline that she was "working overtime" to dislodge these plans from her son's mind. Whatever she did to thwart his plans eventually succeeded. To Kerouac's detriment, Gabrielle continued to interfere with his life. He needed to get away, to feel like the Ti Jean of old, to reorganize his splintered identity. He felt that the "monster they've built up in the papers is beginning to take shape inside my body like Burroughs' 'Stranger.'"
Buddhism he told Carolyn, was useless, as were the last three weeks in Big Sur, which only added boredom to his bleak life.
Kerouac foresaw that his "vision of America" was being annihilated by the "beatnik movement" and that it was nothing more than "a big move-in from intellectual dissident wrecks of all kinds with placards who call themselves beatniks."
Kerouac was convinced that LSD was not the key to enlightenment.
Kerouac told Ferlinghetti that he and his fellow writers and poets should "join hands" in the spirit of poetry not politics. Jack also questioned his choice of politics, asking him if Cuba's choice of the death penalty (the firing squad) was not "evil." Lawrence replied to Jack that he was being "brainwashed by yer one-eyed cyclopses," the television set where Jack and Gabrielle spent so much of their time nursing their port and ice.
"I'll be in an insane asylum soon."
Herbert Gold: "What can a beat do when he is too old to go on the road? He can go on the sauce."
According to the Lowell Sun, he stopped traffic to perform a spontaneous poetry reading while holding in one hand the ever-present jug of wine.
Former High School peer: "The once dark-maned, clear-eyed Endymion youth had become a soggy, booze-bloated hulk."
"The only thing that people try to avoid, loneliness, is the only thing that makes their life precious."
Jack's welcome to his daughter was distant. Acknowledging his paternity faintly, he assured her that she could use the Kerouac name to write books once she reached Mexico. The reunion was brief and Gabrielle was disturbed by the girl's appearance. Jan left and headed south, where she gave birth to a stillborn baby and buried it beneath the hot sands of the desert. Jack clearly looked upon his paternity as a hapless mistake that fell in line with the flaws of the human condition: "Women are hooked on the habit of birth and death, which are synonymous, but men, ignorance itself personified, suspecting it, nevertheless follow like goats." He never saw his daughter again.
Bit like an early shorter draft of 2666 Achimboldi is a completely different character: A French author associated with Oulipo. The section on him whicBit like an early shorter draft of 2666 Achimboldi is a completely different character: A French author associated with Oulipo. The section on him which gives book summaries, correspondences, etc would have been much more enjoyable had it been the German version of the character, it would have set the summaries of the books much differently I'd think. Railway Earth which appears as a book by both characters did sound interesting, a bunch of different characters having conversations on trains.