Friday, July 17, 2020

“Three steps backwards”

New room. No servant, no dog. Xavier de Maistre prepares for a second journey:

Xavier de Maistre, A Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room. 1825. In A Journey Around My Room. Trans. from the French by Andrew Brown (Richmond, UK: Alma Classics, 2013).

This journey includes a theory of infinite worlds (expressed in a single sentence) and a moment of inept flirtation with a beautiful neighbor seen on a nearby balcony (“Lovely weather tonight!”). Wonderful, funny stuff.


Later that same morning: As I just discovered, the New Directions edition of de Maistre’s works restores to this passage some sentences that de Maistre regretted deleting. I’ll post that version soon.


Here it is.

A related post
A passage from A Journey Around My Room

[Pope: the poet, Alexander. Ossian: the poet-identity attached to James Macpherson’s pastiches of Gaelic poetry.]

comments: 2

Fresca said...

This guy is hilarious!
I may have to get this book---if only the library were open!

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, he is. The earlier post has a link to a free 19th-c translation from Google Books. A sample: “I had, however, unfortunately forgotten the peculiar shape of my ceiling, the obliquity of which rendered it impossible that I could maintain a perpendicular attitude, during my rapid strides after poetic inspiration.” “Maintain a perpendicular attitude” — not what the French says, but certainly in the loopy spirit of the original.