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 (III)



For months I could not rid myself
of the phantasm of the cat; and…
there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed,
but was not,
I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal,
and to look about me…
for another pet of the same species…

One night as I sat,
in a den of more than infamy,
my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object…

… it was a black cat
-         a very large one –
fully as large as Pluto,
and closely resembling him in every respect
but one…

this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white,
covering nearly the whole region of the breast.

He… appeared delighted with my notice.

This, then
was the creature of which I was in search…
when it reached the house
it domesticated itself at once,
and became immediately a great favourite
with my wife.

For my own part,
I soon found a dislike to it arising within me…
… its evident fondness for myself
rather disgusted and annoyed me…

I avoided the creature…
what added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast,
was the discovery… that,
like Pluto,
it had also been deprived of one of its eyes.

With my aversion to this cat, however,
its partiality for myself seemed to increase…

I am almost ashamed to own…
that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me,
had been heightened by …
the character of the mark of the white hair…
this mark…
… had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness
of outline…

it was now the representation of an object
that I shudder to name…
the image
of a hideous -
of a ghastly thing –
of the GALLOWS ! –

oh, mournful and terrible engine
of Horror and of Crime –
of Agony and of Death!

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