Currently reading Miklós Szentkuthy’s Towards the One & Only Metaphor

May 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Below is a quote from an early part of Miklós Szentkuthy’s 1935 novel, Towards the One & Only Metaphor, published in English translation in 2013 and translated by Tim Wilkinson:

Yesterday a friend of mine, who for me will be a permanent symbol of a non-lyrical, ‘objective’ person (an absolute musician and absolute mathematician temperament, with heaps of ethical ‘douceur‘) took me into the observatory and, among the other things, pointed out a ball-shaped star cluster (Messier 13) on the telescope; on his table I found masses of mathematical books (afterwards I bought Eddington’s New Pathways in Science).  Nowadays I do not perceive nil in love and a mathematizing scientific realism as being an antithesis:  these scientific truths can lead ‘out of’ life just as much as poetic lyricism.  Life is:  comble d’imprécision.  What do I mean by life, I ask myself?  In what way do I arbitrarily narrow down and broaden out the word, the elastic boundaries of which everyone has already exceeded with the most comical irresponsibility, whether they be a buffoon politician or a dogmatic religious nut.  By life I mean the life of an average man on the street, an ordinary Joe, but at the same time also of a few sober ‘heroes.’  For him poetry is not infralife, science not ultralife. (pp. 24-25)

Very promising Modernist work so far…

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