(9.Sept.2019) Today is Monday, and it’s wet out there. From the cafè where I’m writing this I have a view of the Copenhagen City Hall Plaza, and it seems there’s a demonstration going on; lots of red banners and a few hundred people taking part, and everyone getting a bit wet.

Incidentally, there’s not necessarily much going on in our small capital – Copenhagen always appeared to me to be in many ways an almost dead city.

I’m talking of soul and spirit, ofcourse, and only in so far as we’re concerned with movies and theatre- or TV-plays, i.e. when the spoken word is important.

The shallowness of the Copenhagen vernacular as it’s spoken in the movies and in TV- and theatre plays – ‘die Bühnensprache’ – is for me still rather startling, even after all these years; after all I’ve been living in the Greater Copenhagen area for more than forty years.

Ofcourse it’s not so with the graphic arts and with the music and opera scene. I believe Copenhagen is as admirable with respect to these arts as most everywhere else.

But you just have to watch a few danish movies to know what I mean – embarrassingly devoid of any traces of soul and spirit. (Generally speaking, no rule without exception, ofcourse).

Except if you reckon pathetic shallowness and/or Satanism and all sorts of allied perversities as your soul and spirit?

Personally I believe most of the missing soul may have gone up the chimney when Copenhagen had it’s natural roots from the easternmost part of (what was then) Denmark brutally and permanently cut after the disastrous wars with Sweden in the mid seventeenth Century and later.

Now, the historians (or some of them at least) tell us there always was sort of an ethnic boundary down through the GreatBelt between the western part – Funen and especially Jutland – and the eastern provinces – Seeland and Skania. Which means that Copenhagen probably never got adequate compensation for the important but now lost Skania part of its soul and vitality?

You might perhaps compare this Great Belt boundary to the boundary between England and Scotland?

Incidentally you can just now ‘enjoy’ the spectacle of this discord between West- and East-Denmark. I’m thinking of the fight for power in the recently toppled ruling political party, Venstre.

Obviously the western – Ultra-Great-Belt – fraction don’t really function in concordance with the eastern part, made up mostly of – more or less soulless? – ‘big city slickers’.

The former PM’s ‘city slickers’ want to reacquire government, no matter how and ‘no questions asked’.

Whereas many westeners still want to adhere to certain principles, be it within or without government.

Here we have to remind ourselves, ofcourse, of what morals and principles is really about: Morality means respect and responsibility for our common Cosmic heritage! That is, you have to try and always keep the big picture in mind so as to avoid getting bogged down in trifles and hankypanky.

But the danish Westeners are apparently more and more squeezed by their own ‘city slickers’, that perhaps increasingly acquire the soulless qualities of the New-World-Order globalists, that controlled the former govt. totally? (Note 1).

But luckily there are still a few hotbeds of life to visit for a musing book lover, and yesterday was the last day of the recent dutch book sale in the HeiligGeist Church Community House, a brisk 10 min. walk from here.

The final price was 5 Kr ($0,75), and I managed to make my escape with only one bagful of books. Here are a few of them.

1. PHYSIOLOGIE DE LA CRITIQUE. By Albert THIBAUDET. Paris, 1930, Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Critique. 213 p., paperback, original edition.

It seems the 6 essays in this trim volume were originally written before 1922; but only published in bookform in 1930.

My danish Gyldendals Litteraturleksikon tells this a.o.:

A.T., 1874-1936, critic, pupil of Bergson and his introspective point of view, somewhere between Lemaitre’s impressionism and Taine & Brunetiere’s positivism.

First success came with ‘La Poesie de Stephane Mallarme’, 1912. In 1936 posthum. was published his Histoire de la Litterature Francaise de 1789 a nos jours.

He is described as inciting and precise, both scientific and subjective.

From my Oxfort Companion to French Litterature:

A.T. – one of the foremost lit. critics of the first half of the 20th century. Became prominent with his book on Mallarme.

Later was professor of French literature in Geneva. His uncompleted History of French Litterature (above) groups authors by generation (1789, 1820, 1850, 1885, 1914-18) rather than in the usual epochs and literary affiliations. Other works are for the most part essays and reviews, mostly for Nouvelle Revue Francaise.

Quite by chance we open the book on page 102, whence we can read (sorry, no diacritics – I’m writing Braille on a danish keyboard):

‘Cette critique des maitres, elle n’est pas une imagination de classificateur, une fausse fenetre que nous supposions pour faire pendant a la critique professionelle.

‘Elle existe au XIX’e siecle parallelement a l’autre. La chaine critique Chateaubriand, Hugo, Lamartine, Gautier, Baudelaire, Barbey d’Aurevilly, peut se comparer a la chaine de La Harpe, Villemain, Sainte-Beuve, Taine, Brunetiere, Lemaitre, Faguet.

‘Chateaubriand a baptise cette critique. Il l’appelle la critique des beautes. Mais on peut en discerner l’origine dans ce pre-romantisme que sont l’oeuvre et la conversation de Diderot. Sainte-Beuve l’a dit:

‘Avant Diderot, la critique en France avait ete exacte, copieuse et fine avec Bayle, elegante et exquise avec Fenelon, honnete et utile aved Rollin. Mais nulle part elle n’avait ete vivre, feconde, penetrante, et, si je puis dire, elle n’avait pas trouve son ame.

‘Ce fut Diderot qui, le premier, la lui donna… C’est bien a lui que revient l’honneur d’avoir introduit le premier chez nous la critique feconde des beautes, qu’il substitua a celle des defauts.’

>I think this is a very nice buy for seventyfive cents, and frankly I hope to live long enough to get around to scrutinize mr. Thibaudet more closely.

But life is fragile, lot’s of small cogs, levers and wheels have to work more or less flawlessly together to make it happen. I have – often enough, I believe – told about all the fancy kinds of more or less malicious harassment that the DeepState has found pertinent to apply to myself throughout a couple of decades.

But to our next seventyfivecents-book:

2. LA POSSESSION DU MONDE. By George DUHAMEL. Paris, 1924, Mercure De France. Paperback, 270 p. The cover quite shabby, but inside nice and the pages are not yet cut open.

The Oxford Companion says this (a.o.):

Georges Duhamel, 1884-1966, poet and essayist etc. He was an army surgeon during the first WW.

Published poetry from abt. 1907 and published books about his life as army surgeon in 1917/18, written with much compassion for the sufferings.

After 1920 his career was mainly literary, wrote mostly novels. Published books of literary critique in 1912, ’13 and ’25. Essays on various aspects of modern life, among which LA POSSESSION DU MONDE, that came in 1919.

Four vols. of reminiscences (Lumieres Sur Ma Vie, 1950). Finally came nature studies, poetry, plays, and in 1930 Scenes de la vie Future (danish ‘Red Dig, Europe’ (1931)), a warning against the overly mechanized society.

But it’s a bit ackward to find a specimen to quote, as the pages is not cut open, and I don’t have a penknife handy.
Hence here’s another quote, quite found by chance (p.54, from the essay RICHESSE ET PAUVRETE):

‘Toutes les philosophies ont fait entendre magnifiquement ces verites immortelles. Que peut-on ajouter aux paroles de Marc-Aurele, d’Epictete, du Christ, en ce qui touche la vanite de ces richesses que la societe admet comme seules valables?

‘Mais les poetes nous ont dit: ‘N’abandonnez pas le monde, car il regorge de joies pures et vraiment divines qui seront perdues si vous ne les moissonnez pas!’

‘La voie qu’il nous serait doux de suivre croise parfois celle des chretiens, parfois celle des stoiques. Nous nous arreterons parfois au jardin des oliviers, parfois au seuil de cette petite maison sans porte et sans meubles ou vivait le maitre d’Arrien.

‘Notre chemin nous conduira plus souvent encore a travers les solitudes agrestes, ou au chevet d’un homme terrasse, ou dans la souriante demeure d’un humble ami, ou encore dans l’ombre melodieuse que peuplent a jamais les ames de Beethoven ou de Jean-Sebastien Bach.

‘Nous ne nous obstinerons pas, envers et contre la masse de hommes trompes, a posseder le connu, alors que l’inconnu reste sans maitre. Nous nous detacherons de la posssion brutale pour mieux rever a la possession intime.

‘Non, nous ne pouvons plus renoncer a notre royaume, alors qu’il nous reclame et chante, pour nous, hosanna!’

>Seems nice enough; but if I get around to reading more of La Possission du Monde it will probably be mostly to enjoy Mr. Duhamel’s very pleasing mastery of the french language: Clear and unpretentious.

3. L’ALITTÉRATURE CONTEMPORAINE. By Claude MAURIAC. Paris, 1958, Éditions Albin Michel, 259p. Paperback. Original edition. Cover slightly shabby, but inside very good.

Off hand I know nothing about M. Mauriac, and I have nothing in my dictionnaries, I’m afraid. (Could it perhaps be a son of ‘le grand Francois’?).

Here’s what the publisher says on the back cover:

‘Ou en sont les ecrivains dans leurs tentatives d’apprehension et de recreation du reel?

‘Qu’a-t-on cherche et decouvert de nouveau dans les lettres depuis Mallarme et Proust?

‘Le nouvel essai de Claude Mauriac fait le point des manifestations les plus avancees, les plus audacieuses, les plus neuves de la litterature d’avant-garde.

‘La litterature?

‘A ce mot trop souvent avili, Claude Mauriac en a prefere un autre qu’il a cree en usant de l’a privatif grec: l’alitterature.

‘L’alliterature, c’est la litterature en son point extreme de rigueur: pole jamais atteint en direction duquel les auteurs se sont toujours diriges.

‘Claude Mauriac a borne ses intentions a l’alitterature contemporaine qu’il etudie chez certains de ses representants les plus significatifs.

‘Ces auteurs enigmatiques et difficiles, dont on parle si souvent sans tres bien savoir qui ils sont et ce qu’ils font, les voici examines a la suite de leur predecesseur Kafka: Antonin Artaud, Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Henri Michaux, Michel Leiris, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, d’autres encore.

‘L’alitterature contemporaine est un livre indispensable a la connaissance de la litterature contemporaine.’

>Here also the first paragraphs of the authors introduction:

‘Les expressions: ‘C’est de la litterature’, ou: ‘Le reste est litterature’ montrent a quel degre de complaisance est trop souvent tombe l’art d’ecrire. Tout en utilisant les procedes de leur epoque et en suivant peu ou prou les modes, les meilleurs auteurs ont toujours cherche a transmettre l’inexprimable par les moyens de la litterature mais, dans la mesure du possible, sans litterature.

‘D’ou le mot alitterature que j’ai forme a l’exemple d’amoralisme. L’a privatif, au lieu d’indiquer un manque designe toutefois ici une qualite, litterature, contrairement a moral, ayant dans cette acception un sens defavorable.

‘L’alitterature (c’est-a-dire la litterature delivree des facilites qui ont donne a ce mot un sens pejorativ) est un pole jamais atteint, mais c’est dans sa direction qui vont depuis qu’il y a des hommes et qui ecrivent les auteurs honnetes. Aussi l’histoire de la litterature et celle de l’alitterature sont-elles paralleles.’

>Finally, here’s a small sample quote from page 31:

‘Kafka fut le premier a signaler sa parente avec Kierkegaard: ‘J’ai recu aujourd’hui le LIVRE DU JUGE de Kiergegaard. Comme je le pressentais, son cas est tres semblable au mien en depit de differences essentielles, it est situe pour le moins du meme cote du monde. Il me confirme comme un ami…’ (21 aout 1913).

‘Il revient le 27 aout 1916 sur cette fraternite et l’inutilite des comparaisons insensees qu’il a coutume de faire entre Kierkegaard et lui. (Il y ajoute Flaubert et Franz Grillparzer). Nous devons surtout retenir cette indication sur les etres situes du meme cote du monde.

‘La encore, la surtout, le physique ouvre sur le metaphysique. Toute une race d’ecrivains de Kleist a Dostoiewsky vivent sur cet autre versant. Kafka fait penser a un auteur contemporain qui est bien de son espece, celle des endormis (mais il s’agit de l’autre sommeil), des reveurs eveilles, des David (combattant quel Goliath?): Julien Green.

‘Le sentiment d’etrangete a soi-meme et au monde (ce sont tous les deux des etrangers sur la terre); la toute particuliere importance donnee aux songes et la tendance a les juger d’une verite plus grande que la pretendue realite exterieure, bien d’autres trait encore rapprochent ces deux hommes.

‘Mangue il est vrai chez Kafka, tout au moins dans sa forme sensible, cette initiation au surnaturel qui caracterise Julien Green. Mais il a neanmoins ecrit: ‘Je vis en ce monde comme si j’etais absolument sur d’une deuxieme vie…’ (21 fevrier 1911).

‘Et ceci encore (qui pourrait etre de Green): ‘Comme j’aimerais expliquer le sentiment de bonheur qui m’habite de temps a autre, maintenant, par exemple…’ (16 decembre 1910).

>What made me buy the book, though, was mostly that GEORGES SIMENON appears among the 17 authors treated.

In my late teens and early tweens I read stacks of Simenon’s crime novels in french. It was probably more to hone my french rather than by an irresistable attraction to the plots, I think. Frankly I thought his books rather boring, and I’m certainly not planning to read them again.

But I look forward to reading twenty pages of critique of Simenon, the author, and his books, and hope I may get the leisure.

4. BILAN LITTÉRAIRE DU XXe SIÈCLE. By R.-M. ALBÉRÈS. 1956, Aubier, Editions Montaigne. 272 p. Paperback, original edition.

Like for M. Mauriac I have no informations about this author, M. Albérès. The book seems to be another literary history of 20.century french poetry and fiction.

There’s a wast table of content on the last pages, too much to copy here. I have to contend with giving a very small sample quote from chaptre III, part 2.: ORIGINES ESOTERIQUES DE LA POESIE MODERNE. On page 145 you can read:

‘Le debut du XXe siecle opposait la critique dogmatique de Sarcey a la critique universitaire de Lanson, la critique systematique de Brunetiere a la critique impressionniste de Jules Lamaitre.

‘Ces divergences ont perdu leur sens. La critique savante a repris sa place d’element fondamental mais qui ne saurait se suffire a lui-meme. Le dogmatisme du gout a cede au sens de la relativite et a la modestie, tandis que l’impressionnisme se donne pour ce qu’il est: la reaction d’une sensibilite, dans un article de journal(?).

‘Pourtant M. Robert Kemp ou M. Marcel Thiebaut unissent avec charme des gouts personnels tres fins et des principes. Quant aux systemes, sauf chez les sartriens ou les marxistes, ils ont totalement disparu: il ne peut etre question que de methodes.’

Note 1.

Like it may control our new government completely?

Lykketoft – Bjerregaard – Pind

Face Detection in Copenhagen

The Autodafés and The Secret Courts of Law in Denmark








Crossposted on www.gamleboeger.dk and

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