Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Irrelevancies and solid objects

Joseph Joubert:

Fleeting irrelevancies often serve to stamp solid objects in our memory; a sound, a song, an accent, a voice, a smell engrave forever in our mind the memory of certain places, because these small things were what made up our pleasure or boredom there.

The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert: A Selection  , trans. Paul Auster (New York: New York Review Books, 2005).
That sentence seems like a milder version of a passage from T. S. Eliot’s prose:
Why, for all of us, out of all we have heard, seen, felt, in a lifetime, do certain images recur, charged with emotion, rather than others? The song of one bird, the leap of one fish, at a particular place and time, the scent of one flower, an old woman on a German mountain path, six ruffians seen through an open window playing cards at night at a small French railway junction where there was a water-mill: such memories may have symbolic value, but of what we cannot tell, for they come to represent the depth of feeling into which we cannot peer.

“The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism” (1933).
Also from Joseph Joubert
Another world : Form and content : Lives and writings : Politeness : Resignation and courage : Self-love and truth : Thinking and writing

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