26 October 2019

Silent Friends

Robert Milne Williamson, Bits From an Old Book Shop (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1904), p. 30:
The pleasure derived from collecting books is a pleasure that never palls; a joy for ever. Once a lover always a lover, is a true saying when applied to a lover of books. As old age draws near, the man who has found his delight in athletic sports is unable to indulge his taste, but the lover of books can find a solace and joy in the companionship of his silent friends which increase as the years go round.

Ferdinand Hodler, Lesender Pfarrer (1885)

21 October 2019

A Daily Exhortation

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5.5 (tr. George Chrystal):
Be sincere, be dignified, be painstaking; scorn pleasure, repine not at fate, need little; be kind and frank; love not exaggeration and vain talk; strive after greatness.

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the Capitoline Museums
Image credit to rjhuttondfw on Flickr

16 October 2019

The Manners of an Unhousebroken Mutt

Ernst Jünger's translator Hilary Barr replies to Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books (December 16, 1993):
Quite apart from the many instances of intellectual fraud, Mr. Buruma is guilty of treacherously abusing the Jüngers’ hospitality. Pretending to be an admirer, he gained access to Ernst Jünger for an interview, then performed a hatchet job on him. His cruel personal caricatures of his host and hostess, where he describes them as “barking” and “snorting,” are particularly noisome. Indeed, Buruma displays the manners of an unhousebroken mutt.

Ernst Jünger writes in On the Marble Cliffs: “Tief ist der Haß, der in den niederen Herzen dem Schönen gegenüber brennt.” (Deep is the hatred that burns in base hearts in the presence of beauty.)
Rudolf Schlichter, Ernst Jünger (1937)

7 October 2019

They Had Everything but Money

Wendell Berry, "The Work of Local Culture," What Matters? (Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 2010), pp. 144-145:
I was walking one Sunday afternoon several years ago with an older friend. We went by the ruining log house that had belonged to his grandparents and great-grandparents. The house stirred my friend's memory, and he told how the oldtime people used to visit each other in the evenings, especially in the long evenings of winter. There used to be a sort of institution in our part of the country known as "sitting till bedtime." After supper, when they weren't too tired, neighbors would walk across the fields to visit each other. They popped corn, my friend said, and ate apples and talked. They told each other stories. They told each other stories, as I knew myself, that they had all heard before. Sometimes they told stories about each other, about themselves, living again in their own memories, and thus keeping their memories alive. Among the hearers of these stories were always the children. When bedtime came, the visitors lit their lanterns and went home. My friend talked about this, and thought about it, and then he said, "They had everything but money."

They were poor, as country people often have been, but they had each other, they had their local economy in which they helped each other, they had each other's comfort when they needed it, and they had their stories, their history together in that place. To have everything but money is to have much. And most people of the present can only marvel to think of neighbors entertaining themselves for a whole evening without a single imported pleasure and without listening to a single minute of sales talk.

William Kuralek, After Church During Indian Summer (1976)

4 October 2019

Highly Speculative Work

Stanley Unwin, The Truth About Publishing (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1929), pp. 312-313:
The publication of translations is highly speculative, much more so than the publication of an original work, because there are in effect two authors to pay instead of one, and both, as a rule, call for immediate payment and are unable or unwilling to let their remuneration depend upon the result. Foreign authors and publishers who have heard of the wonderful sales of some particular translated book are apt to have the most fantastic ideas of the value of the English translation rights, and if the word “America” is breathed, I have known foreign publishers name a figure for which one would think they would be pleased to sell their whole business. Even twenty years ago, translation rights were almost invariably sold for a small lump sum; to-day the most impossible royalties are asked. Probably the fairest plan to both parties is a lump sum for a definite number of copies with a royalty thereafter. It would seem to be clear that if a royalty is granted from the start, it should only be a proportion of what would be paid for an original work. In other words, there is no justification for paying a foreign author plus a translator more than would be paid for a corresponding work by an English author. This sounds obvious, but one constantly encounters publishers (American publishers in particular) who in the same breath admit that they cannot afford more than 10 per cent, royalty for a work by an unknown writer, and that they have just agreed to pay 10 per cent, for some translation rights of a work by an author of whom few people have ever heard. They seem oblivious of the fact that by the time they have paid the translator they are probably paying the equivalent of 20 per cent, for authorship. One such publisher recently admitted to me that he had never yet made any money on translations. I am afraid he never will.

Georg Friedrich Kersting, Der elegante Leser (1812)

1 October 2019

Resist Your Time

Lord Acton, Essays in Religion, Politics, and Morality: Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. 3 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988), p. 620:
"Resist your time — take a foothold outside it — see other times and ask yourself whether the time of our ancestors is fit for us."

Ferdinand Hodler, Spaziergänger im Wald (1885)