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Travesties by Tom Stoppard
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's review
Dec 01, 2009

bookshelves: drama
Read in December, 2009

even more confounding than Ros & Guil Are Dead. most if not all of the politics and history went way over my head. memorable lines:

TRISTAN TZARA: My God, you bloody English philistine -- you ignorant smart-arse bogus bourgeois Anglo-Saxon prick! When the strongest began to fight for the tribe, and the fastest to hunt, it was the artist who became the priest-guardian of the magic that conjured the intelligence out of the appetites. Without him, man would be a coffee-mill. Eat -- grind -- shit. Hunt -- eat -- fight -- grind -- saw the logs -- shit. The difference between being a man and being a coffee-mill is art. But that difference has become smaller and smaller and smaller. Art created patrons and was corrupted. It began to celebrate the ambitions and acquisitions of the pay-master. The artist has negated himself: paint -- eat -- sculpt -- grind -- write -- shit. (A light change.) Without art man was a coffee-mill: but with art, man -- is a coffee-mill! That is the message of Dada. -- dada dada dada dada dada ... (p29)

JAMES JOYCE: You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist. An artist is the magician put among men to gratify -- capriciously -- their urge for immortality. The temples are built and brought down around him, continuously and contiguously, from Troy to the fields of Flanders. If there is any meaning in any of it, it is in what survives as art, yes even in the celebration of tyrants, yes even in the celebration of nonentities. What now of the Trojan War if it had been passed over by the artist's touch? Dust. ... (p41-2)

HENRY CARR: I dreamed about him, dreamed I had him in the witness box, a masterly cross-examination, case practically won, admitted it all, the whole thing, the trousers, everything, and I flung at him -- 'And what did you do in the Great War?' 'I wrote Ulysses,' he said. 'What did you do?'
Bloody nerve. (p44)

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