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 (V)


Upon the fourth day of the assassination,
a party of the police came, very unexpectedly,
into the house…

… I felt no embarrassment whatever…

… they descended into the cellar…
… I quivered not in a muscle…

… the police were thoroughly satisfied
and prepared to depart.

The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained.
I burned to say if but one word,
by way of triumph,
and to render doubly sure their assurance
of my guiltlessness.

‘Gentlemen… I delight to have allayed your suspicions…
By the bye, gentlemen, this –
this is a very well-constructed house…
I may say an excellently well-constructed house.
These walls – are you going gentlemen? –
these walls are solidly put together’

And here,

through the mere frenzy of bravado,
I rapped heavily with a cane…
upon the very portion of the brickwork
behind which stood the corpse
of the wife of my bosom…

But may God shield and deliver me
from the fangs
of the Arch-Fiend!

… I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! –

By a cry,
at first muffled and broken,
like the sobbing of a child,
and then quickly swelling into
a long,
and continuous scream,
utterly anomalous and inhuman

-         a howl –

a wailing shriek,
half of horror and half of triumph,
such as might have arisen only out of hell,
conjointly from the throats
of the damned in their agony
of the demons that exult in the damnation.

Of my own thoughts is folly to speak.

Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall.
For one instant the party… remained motionless…

In the next
a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall.

It fell bodily.

The corpse… stood erect…
… upon its head,
with the red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire,
sat the hideous beast
whose craft had seduced me into murder,
and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman.

I had walled the monster up within the tomb.

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