O.Wilde, Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...)
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...)

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...)
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...

O. Wilde (1854-1900),
Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Black Cat, E.A. Poe (I)


For the most wild yet most homely narrative
which I am about to pen,
I neither expect nor solicit belief.

Mad indeed would I be to expect it,
in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.
Yet, mad am I not –
and very surely do I not dream.

to-morrow I die,
and today I would unburden my soul…

From my infancy
I was noted for the docility and humanity
of my disposition…
I was especially fond of animals…

I married early,
and was happy to find in my wife a disposition
not uncongenial with my own…
We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog,
rabbits, a small monkey,

and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal,
 entirely black,
and sagacious to an astonishing degree…
in speaking of his intelligence,
my wife…
made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion
which regarded all black cats as
witches in disguise…

– this was the cat’s name –
was my favourite pet and playmate
I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever
I went about the house.
It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him
from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner,
for several years,
during which my general temperament and character
– though the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance  -
had (I blush to confess it) experienced
a radical alteration for the worse.

I grew,
day by day,
more moody,
more irritable,
more regardless of the feelings of others.
I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife.
At length, I even offered her personal violence.
My pets, of course, were made to feel
the change in my disposition…
For Pluto,
I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me
from maltreating him…

my disease grew upon me
– for what disease is like  Alcohol! –
and at length… even Pluto began to experience
the effects of my ill temper…

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