Tags » Paul Valery

The Sea, The Sea: Iris Murdoch and Me

I closed Iris’ Murdoch’s 1978 novel Booker-winning novel yesterday with frustration. Maybe I should have been an English major?

I didn’t read the introduction until after I’d read the last page–introductions being full of spoilers, in my experience. 320 more words

Reading

Symmetry

The universe is built on a plan the profound symmetry of which is somehow present in the inner structure of our intellect.

~Paul Valery

Disappearing Into That Nothingness

Elizabeth Sewell, Paul Valéry (1952)

Then there is Mallarmé himself, sitting, as he admitted in a letter to a close friend, in front of a mirror as he wrote, to make sure that he would not disappear into that nothingness which during the writing of… 38 more words

Phantom Books

Between the clarity of life and the simplicity of death . . .

After reading Elizabeth Sewell’s Valéry, reading one of Valéry’s essays, which Sewell writes of so lucidly, was inevitable. With its uncompelling title, an allusion to Descartes, despite Sewell’s preparation, I was ill prepared for its fireworks. 153 more words

Paul Valéry

Characteristic Activity of the Mind of God (Elizabeth Sewell)

It is promising that the first of Studies in Modern Literature and Thought that I started is Elizabeth Sewell’s Paul Valery. In a letter, Wallace Stevens thought it truly wonderful and recommended accompanying it with a Rhine wine or Moselle. 551 more words

Paul Valéry

Reading Lately ...

I’m much more familiar with Iliad than The Odyssey. As a teenager, with the help of a magnifying glass and Liddell and Scott’s ancient Greek lexicon, I learnt to write the first line of… 292 more words

Jean-Paul Sartre

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“What is most beautiful finds no place in the eternal… Nothing beautiful is separable from life, and life is that which dies.”

~ Paul Valery, Eupalinos, or The Architect

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