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 (II)

           

(II)

One night, returning home,
much intoxicated…
I fancied … the cat avoided my presence.
I seized him, when…
he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth.

My original soul seemed,
at once,
to take its flight from my body…

I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife,
opened it,
grasped the poor beast by the throat,
and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!

I blush,
I burn,
I shudder,
while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning…
I experienced a sentiment half of horror,
half of remorse,
for the crime of which I had been guilty;
but it was, at best,
a feeble and equivocal feeling,
and the soul remained
untouched.

I again plunged into excess,
and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed...

… and then  came,
as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow,
the spirit of PERVERSENESS.

Of this spirit
philosophy takes no account.
Yet
I am not more sure
that my soul lives,
than I am
that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses
of the human heart –
one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments,
which give direction to
the character of Man.

It was this unfathomable longing of the soul
to vex itself
-         to offer violence to its own nature –
-         to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only –
that urged me to continue and finally
to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon
the unoffending brute.

One morning,
in cold blood,
I slipped a noose about its neck and
hung it
to the limb of a tree;
-         hung it
with the tears streaming from my eyes,
and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; -
hung it
because I knew that it had loved me,
and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; -
hung it
because I knew that in so doing I was committing…
a deadly sin that would so
jeopardize my immortal soul…

On the night… this most cruel deed was done…
the whole house was blazing…
the destruction was complete…
The walls, with one exception, had fallen in.
This exception was…
a compartment wall…

I approached and saw,
as if graven in bas-relief upon the white surface,
the figure of a gigantic
cat

… there was a rope about the animal’s neck…



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