“When I begin to think at all I get into states of disgust and fury at the way the mob is going on (meaning by mob, chiefly Dukes, crown princes, and such like persons) that I choke; and have to go to the British Museum and look at Penguins till I get cool. I find Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in the world so sympathetically ridiculous; one can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin.”
– John Ruskin, letter to Charles Eliot Norton, 4 November 1860
Robert Smithson, A Sedimentation of Mind: Earthworks, 1968
A great artist can make art by simply casting a glance. A set of glances could be as solid as any thing or place, but the society continues to cheat the artist out of his “art of looking”, by valuing only ‘art objects’.
Andrea Scrima, Rev. of The Walk by Robert Walser, The Rumpus 23 July 2012
Throughout Der Spaziergang, walking coincides with the act of writing, of telling a story; it also serves to deflect attention from the essential matter at hand, which becomes clear in the book’s closing pages. And so writing becomes a means of escaping life, its method continuous postponement.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick Chapter 110
For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books.
“Also, because it’s my town out there, I’m conscious of the possibility that the person I bump into might be myself.”
– Geoff Dyer, “Ship Write,” Guernica 4 September 2012
Geoff Dyer, “Ship Write,” Guernica 4 September 2012
Like Death in Venice or The Great Gatsby, Heart of Darkness is not just a book but a modern myth — everyone has read it, even if they have not done so personally.