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 (IV)




(IV)

Alas! Neither by day nor by night
knew I the blessing of rest any more!
During the former the creature left me no moment alone,
and in the latter I started
hourly from dreams of unutterable fear
to find the hot breath of
the thing upon my face…
… an incarnate nightmare…
… incumbent eternally upon my heart!

… the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed…
The moodiness of my usual temper increased
to hatred of all things and of all mankind…
… my uncomplaining wife… was the most usual
and the most patient of sufferers.

One day…
I aimed a blow at the animal…
… but this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife.
Goaded by the interference into a rage
more than demoniacal,
I withdrew my arm from her grasp
and buried the axe in her brain.

She fell dead upon the spot without a groan.

This hideous murder accomplished,
I set myself forthwith…
to the task of concealing the body.

Many projects entered my mind…

… I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments
and destroying them by fire…
… I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar…
… I deliberated about casting it in a well in the yard…
… about packing it in a box… and…
… getting a porter to take it from the house…

Finally I determined to wall it up in the cellar,
as the monks of the Middle Ages
are recorded to have walled up their victims…

By means of a crowbar I easily dislodged the bricks,
and,
having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall…
I relaid the whole structure as it originally stood.

When I had finished,
I felt satisfied that all was right…

My next step was to look for the beast which had been
the cause of so much wretchedness,
for I had, at length,
firmly resolved to put it to death…

… it did not make its appearance during the night;
and thus for one night, at least,
since its introduction into the house,
I soundly and tranquilly slept;
aye,
slept
even with the burden of murder upon my soul.

The second and the third day passed,
and still my tormentor came not.

Once again I breathed like a freeman.
The monster,
in terror,
had fled the premises for ever!

My happiness was supreme!
The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little.

Some few inquiries had been made,
but
these had been readily answered.
Even a search had been instituted –
but
of course nothing was to be discovered.

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