Monday, July 08, 2013

Quote: Enrique Vila-Matas

"39) 'Adieu' is a brief text by Rimbaud included in A Season in Hell, in which the poet does indeed appear to be saying farewell to literature: 'Autumn already! But why yearn for an eternal sun if we are committed to the discovery of divine light, far away from those who die at different seasons?'

"A mature Rimbaud - 'Autumn already!' - a mature Rimbaud at the age of nineteen bids farewell to what for him is the illusion of Christianity, to the various stages his poetry has been through, to his illuminist principles, in short to his huge ambition. And before him he glimpses a new path: 'I tried to invent new flowers, new stars, new flesh, new languages. I thought I had acquired supernatural powers. Now you see! I must bury my imagination and my memories! The beautiful glory of an artist and storyteller snatched away!'"

"He ends with a statement that has become famous, clearly a farewell of the first order: 'One must be absolutely modern. No songs; hold on to a step that has been taken.'"

"All the same, even though [André] Derain did not send it to me, I prefer a simpler farewell to literature, much more straightforward than Rimbaud's 'Adieu.' It is to be found in the draft of A Season in Hell and reads as follows: 'I can now say that art is an idiocy.'"

-- Copyright © from Bartleby & Co., Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Jonathan Dunne, New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2007. All rights reserved.

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