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Little Lessons from the Masters II

 Flaubert and de Maupassant:

"You must—do you hear me, young man?—you must work harder," Flaubert told him in 1878. "Too many whores! Too much boating! Too much exercise! Yes, that's right: a civilized man does not require as much locomotion as doctors would have us believe." For Flaubert, keeping fit was a frivolous waste of time and energy:
What you lack are principles. Say what you like, you can't do without principles. The only question is: which ones? For an artist, there is only one: sacrifice everything to art. Life should be treated as a means to an end, and nothing more.

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.
                                                                                                                       -- Walter Benjamin

Nestor, [a poet] from Greek Asia Minor, was a man who enjoyed a wide following in the early third century AD... He rewrote the entire Iliad, avoiding in each "book" the particular letter by which it was numbered.  The statue of Nestor has been found, but unfortunately lacks its head.
                                                                                                                     -- Robin Lane Fox


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
There can never be "too many whores"! I'm with Guy on this one. In fact, "More whores; less boating" would be my advice.
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Well too many for de Maupassant, who died in his forties from rampant syphilis.
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
I love it! Who knew that Georges Perec had a late-antique precursor? (Georges Perec probably did, and you did, but I did not. Of course, my own ignorance does not particularly limit the number of people otherwise included in the list of "those who knew.")
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
lipogrammic Homer
i would think the reference is to the lipogrammic Odyssey of Tryphiodorus:


the most knowledgeable writer on this subject, the OuLiPolean Raymond Queneau, has an essay on lipograms well worth perusing in the English-language anthology OuLiPo: a Primer of Potential Literature (IIRC).


he disentangles some oft-repeated disinformation especially about the lipogram in ancient times

Apr. 14th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: lipogrammic Homer
Fox in his book "Pagans and Christians" notes that Septimius Nestor wrote erudite poems on curious stories, odd facts about farming and the habits of hyenas." He gives no source, though the inscription on Nestor's tomb is in the Epigrafia Greca vol. IV. Doesn't sound like a confusion. I am glad of the word "lipogram," thank you.
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
Re: lipogrammic Homer
the book i gave was right, but the article is:

Georges Perec's
"Histoire du lipogramme"

& i think Nestor's Iliad does indeed come as a belated companion to Tryphiodorus.

Apr. 17th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: lipogrammic Homer
er...Nestor came first (i was thinking T. a contemporary of Callimachus); & after digging through 15 boxes of books, i have a quote from Perec (op cit): "It is difficult to understand why Addison attacks Tryphiodorus in particular, whom he had never read, for his work was lost. Nothing remains either of Nestor's Iliad... All of which does not prevent Nestor and Tryphiodorus from being the best-known, the most cited of lipogrammatists."

Nestor has a whole chapter in a recent book called Severan Culture:


which luckily for me i can read gratis at the local college library...

Apr. 15th, 2009 09:51 am (UTC)
Guy to Gustave "That's the pot calling the kettle noir."
Flaubert was no stranger to long walks and whores.

Tiny Man In Soiled Beret and Gaulois Stained Teeth.
Apr. 15th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
And how about the long established relationship between syphyllis & genius?
Apr. 18th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
Camp Concentration by the late Thomas Disch covers this topic thoroughly, in fictional form.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )