Category archives for quotations
What [Adorno and Horkheimer] championed was neither high art or low culture, but art that exposed the contradictions of capitalist society rather than smoothing them over — in short, modernist art.
— Stuart Jeffries in Grand Hotel Abyss
This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about preaching and what it is. It is not primarily art and it’s not all about capitalism and society, but still — exposing the contradictions, crossing high and low; I would be very, very proud to be called a modernist preacher.
Mechtilde of Hackeborn (died 1299) heard these words from the Lord:
“I tell you the truth that I am very pleased when men trustingly expect great things from me. For everyone who believes that I will reward him after this life with more than he deserves, and who correspondingly gives praise and thanks to me in this life, will be so welcome to me thatI will reward him with far more than he could ever believe or boldly hope for, in fact, with endlessly more than he deserves. For it is impossible that someone should not attain what he has believed and hoped. . . . With confident hope you should believe that I will receive you, after your death, as a farther receives his dearest son. . . . I whom am faithfulness itself am incapable of misleading my friends through any sort of deceit.”
As quoted by Hans Urs von Balthasar in Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?
His great hopes make all the more poignant his clear-eyed picture of the gathering darkness as the Revolution turned slowly into a vast self-inflicted genocide. It was the era when, as a character in his novel Conquered City says, “We have conquered everything, and everything has slipped out of our grasp.”
Adam Rothschild, in his foreword to Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary
I found Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary by accident in December. Loved the foreword, but haven’t read the book yet.
“Now listen to me, please: On a winter day, when you were a lycée student, it was snowing, and you were lost in thought. You could hear God inside you, and you were trying to forget him. You could see that the world was one, but you thought that if you could close your eyes to this vision, you could be more unhappy and also more intelligent. And you were right. Only people who are very intelligent and very unhappy can write good poems. So you heroically undertook to endure the pains of faithlessness, just to be able to write good poems. But you didn’t realize then that when you lost that voice inside you, you’d end up all alone in an empty universe.”
Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Art elevates us by intensifying and densifying the world. Of course, this is true only of good art; the least trace of anything awkward or amateurish, and we remain in our unelevated state, our reality of blushing, stumbling, idiotic misunderstandings and blunders.
— Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “Saga” for the New York Times, one of the most awkward essays I’ve ever read, but some densifying I’m on the fence about.