Sunday, May 20, 2012

Elias Canetti Notebook Excerpts - 3 of 3

This is the last of three posts of Canetti excerpts, i.e., recordings of the decisions that happened to me.  Post 1 here & 2 here.

From The Agony of Flies

If he had made good use of his time, he never would have amounted to anything. (127)

Whenever he is assaulted by adjectives, he becomes ridiculous. They contain his emotions. (127)

The misfortune of ethics: because it knows everything better, it learns nothing. (129)

How many people Nietzsche inspired with a craving for danger! Then the dangers materialized and they all failed miserably. (147)

Keep things apart, keep sentences separate, or else they turn into colors. (159)

His life is a search for everything that can't be sold. (99)

He collected all opinions to show how few there are. (199)

The desire to stay, a kind of bookkeeping. (227)

From Notes From Hampstead

“Voluptas ex felicitate alieni”
    -Leibniz (ecstacy from the happiness of another)

I have read my old sentences again; they are no longer mine. Since they were printed a piece of my life has fallen away... (83)

A thinker must forget that he is clever, else no matter what the field he will think only about his own cleverness. (84)

We write because we cannot speak out loud to ourselves. Speaking to others leads to the most unpredictable estrangements. (85)

It is necessary that we leave learning alone from time to time, that we put it away, not use it, almost forget it. It is precisely this compulsive quality ...that makes it necessary to let air into it, loosen it, fill it with the breath of years. It can be part of our nature only when it has given up its compulsiveness. (86)

A country where everyone walks backward, to keep an eye on themselves. A country where all turn their backs on one another: fear of eyes.

A labyrinth made of all the paths one has taken.

...the sole criterion of the epic talent: a knowledge of life even at its most horrific, a passionate love for it nonetheless, a love that never despairs, for it is inviolable even in its desperation. (90)

He was so good that no one ever remembered his name. (128)

She kills every man who won't love her. But she also kills every man who does.

“Nothing pleases me more than presenting a totally false picture of myself to those people I have taken into my heart. Perhaps this is unfair, but it is daring and, so, correct.”
    -Robert Walser, “Jakob Von Gunten” (129)

The English expression “I appreciate”: embarrassing. Its tone of “pressure” and “price,” as if one wanted to say, “I will keep pressing till the price is right.” But without the pressure, the price wouldn't mean anything. One of the arrogant expressions of the English language -- in this, the language is inimitable. (139-140)

Poets are unbearable to one another. You have to see them with other people to know what they're like. (141)

“A friend of mine”: one of the greediest English expressions when spoken.... The friend remains indefinite, unnamed; he is private property, protected.  (172)

It is always painful for me when I stop narrating. It is this pain that keeps me alive. (188)

“And that the likes of Shelley, Holderin, and Leopardi perish in misery means nothing; I think very little of such men.”  -Nietzsche (190)

I love the sense of justice Jews demand of people, their patience, often their kindness! But their obedience to the never ending threat of God disgusts me...  Can we stand up against a visible lord if we have no invisible lord?  A trying question. (190)

A writer who doesn't have a wound that's always open is no writer for me. (212)

One who sucks all the poison out of books and administers it to those around him in careful doses. (208)

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