Dialogue on the Threshold

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The great anti-babel of metaphysical Science

Preparatory to the great anti-babel of metaphysical Science all sorts of materials psychological and logical must be brought together/some fit, some unfit--and as even this takes ages even before the commencement of the building, the Fetchers and Carriers build Cots and Houses of them, each according to his own Fancy, with different cements--still however they are but orderly Cumuli of materials, that must surely be taken to pieces--some times 5 or 10 stones may be taken at once, unloosened--etc.

Entry 3254, Spring 1808, The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Kathleen Coburn, Volume 3 (Text): 1808-1819, Bollingen Series 50, Princeton University Press, 1973.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Âmes écrevisses

Il existe des âmes écrevisses reculant continuellement vers les ténèbres, rétrogradant dans la vie plutôt qu'elles n'y avancent, employant l'expérience à augmenter leur difformité, empirant sans cesse, et s'empreignant de plus en plus d'une noirceur croissante.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, I, iv, 2

There exist crab-like souls that continually retreat into the shadows, that retrogress in life rather than advancing, drawing on experience to augment their deformity, ceaselessly increasing in evil, and becoming more and more saturated with deepening darkness.

L'enfer c'est les autres

No matter how insipid a man might be, he is more terrifying than the most demonic character from Dostoevsky. (...) I would rather travel the length of Dante's Hell than the few dozen metres between here and the tobacconist's on the other side of the road.

Emil Brumaru, letter to Lucian Raicu, 10 December 1978,
Cerșetorul de cafea, 2nd edition, Iași: Polirom, 2014, p. 341.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The torments of beanismus

11. [...] Nam videmus eos qui vagantes, cantantes, cursitantes, vociferantes, balantes, bacchantes, clamitantes, vorantes, potantes, ingurgitantes, mendicantes, hiantes, boantes, in curta tunica saltantes, nullum angulum intactum relinquunt, hoc malo potissimum detineri, urgeri, torqueri. Sive contra, quia in claustris, carceribus, cellis, ergastulis, angulis, cameris scholasticis, tanquam pistrinis, mille repagulis, compedibus, vincti, catenati, ligati, servati, ob inopiam aëris purioris in hunc affectum prolabuntur, aut prolapsi confirmantur.
12. Somnus et hoc loco aliquid potest. Qui enim ex iis glires agunt, magis divexantur, ut noctu hiantes, ronchantes, sternutantes, furzantes, cachantes, schnarchantes, etc. Hiantibus praesertim magis periculi subest, noctu enim, animalcula, ut cimines, pulices, culices, tineae, vespertiliones os intrantes, irrepantes, permerdantes, et mentem perturbantes, divexantes, subtile serum exiccantes, et mala alia excientes, et dilaniant. Idem quoquo de vigilia esto judicium.

Cariollinus Tevetio Crufenas, Themata Medica, de Beanorum, Archibeanorum, Beanulorum et Cornutorum quorumque affectibus et curatione, Typographi Wolphgangi Blass ins Horn (ca. 1626), included in Nugae Venales, sive Thesaurus Ridendi et Jocandi. Ad Gravissimos Severissimos Viros, Patres Melancholicorum Conscriptos. Editio ultima auctior et correctior. Anno 1689. Prostant apud Neminem; sed tamen Ubique.
11. For, we see those who, roaming around, singing, running back and forth, crying aloud, bleating, revelling, shouting, guzzling, drinking, gorging, begging, gaping, yelling, jumping around in short under-garments, leave no nook untouched are above all held down, burdened, tortured by this illness. Or contrariwise, because they are cloistered, imprisoned, in cells, workhouses, crannies, schoolrooms, as if in pounding mills, behind a thousand bars, in fetters, bound, shackled, tied up, under guard, from a want of fresh air they sink into this malady, or having sunk into it they are reinforced in it. 
12. Sleep too has an effect on the matter. For, those who turn themselves into dormice are ravaged in a greater degree, since at night they gape, snore, sneeze, furzen, fret, schnarchen, etc. Danger lurks for the gapers in particular, for at night small animals such as bugs, fleas, gnats, moths, and bats, entering the mouth, creeping inside, shitting everywhere, and disturbing the mind, ravaging, drying out the saliva, and producing other injuries, wretchedly torture and dilacerate these wretched little asses. Let the same judgement also apply to when they are awake.

trans. Alistair Ian Blyth

Image from Orationes duae, De ritu et modo depositionis beanorum, Strasbourg: Dolhopff, 1680.  
Facsimile: University of Mannheim CAMENA - Lateinische Texte der Frühen Neuzeit, Corpus Automatum Multiplex Electorum Neolatinitatis Auctorum, DFG-project CAMENA, Heidelberg-Mannheim