Friday, September 23, 2005

so many fish - and they're all mine

i wanted to post something in honor of 10000 fish but it took me this long to figure out what and jenn see beat me to it - so this is in honor of 10,247 fish and counting...

Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray
-by Oscar Wilde-

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.

To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.

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.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.

The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.

No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.

Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.

From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type.

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.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

12 little fish:

Blogger Carl V. swam up to say...


I started reading Dorian Gray awhile back then put it down and didn't get back to it. I love his comedies and really need to get back to this and finish it.

1:24 AM  
Blogger theleftsock swam up to say...

did you know i just finished dorian grey? i have the bestest version ever. and stop reading my mind or ill read more pron.

1:45 PM  
Blogger theleftsock swam up to say...

gray i meant gray. no really, i did. im not kidding.

1:51 PM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

pron? sounds interesting :)

and no sock, i will not, gotta keep in touch

12:37 PM  
Blogger theleftsock swam up to say...

so does that mean youre going to call me more? ill believe it when i see it!

7:10 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

why should she, she just has to read your mind...

if i could read minds i probably wouldn't talk to anyone...

11:42 PM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

jenn darling, you took the sentiments right out of my head... hmmm- sock, you know i hate phones

12:22 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

soon we will discover that cell phone are secretly melting our faces...

12:31 PM  
Blogger theleftsock swam up to say...

if i could read minds i would probably never want to talk to anyone. too many scaries.

2:57 PM  
Blogger phylos swam up to say...

I haven't been able to stop thinking about Oscar. As if I wasn’t already convinced, I know I am amongst friends when I meet fellow lovers of Wilde.

A few years ago the British Library collected together as much Wilde memorabilia as it could lay its cultured hands on for an exhibition. It was one of the most fascinating and moving things I have ever seen. From his school books to the shirt he died in, so much of his life was there. The handwritten manuscript of Earnest open, of course on the famous “A handbag” page, also handwritten, on prison paper De Profundis his passionate letter to Douglas written while confined

and most astonishingly of all maybe, from the Home Office archives, the famous card left at the Albemarle Club for Wilde by Douglas’ father reading, "For Oscar Wilde, posing sodomite." This of course was the start of his downfall.

Many of the items remain on display in the foyer today. Take a tissue. I had to cry into the sleeve of my coat.

Continuing the theme, I lived in Reading for many years. In 2000 the path between Reading Gaol and the canal was restored and renamed in his honour to mark 100 years of since the great man’s passing.

Lovely bit of public art, so rare these days.

Reading Gaol (or jail as it prefers to be known these days) is still used and is now a young offenders institute. Also in 2000 a vacancy arose on the Board of Visitors. This is a lay body, recognised by the Home Office, which acts as a conduit between the young men confined by society and the prison authorities. It helps the vulnerable, carries out formal and informal inspections, will investigate bullying, abuse, suicides and is simply a voice for those whom many in society would prefer to forget. Having had, shall we euphemistically say, the odd brush with the law in my younger days (before becoming, of course the pillar of society like whot I am now) I applied for the vacancy. Passed the initial sifting and so got to spend a day within the gaol’s walls, the theory being if you cannot cope with the prison routine, the unlocking and locking of doors as you pass, it is better to discover this sooner rather than later. It is an oppressive atmosphere. In C wing, floor 3, is cell 3, Wilde’s home for 2 years. Nothing of course marks it out from any of the other cell on that floor, that wing or indeed that prison. It was desperately emotional though. Inside those thick walls, within that tiny space was broken the spirit of the man whose writing I have loved, we have loved for so much of my life.

The de-brief at the end of the day took place in a room opposite where the gallows used to be. You can see the different type of brick used when it was taken down and the wall patched up. A grim reminder of the poem…

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer's collar take
His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
In the black dock's dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
In God's sweet world again.

11:10 AM  
Blogger phylos swam up to say...

Screw work for the rest of the day. I'm going home to read something beautiful.

11:19 AM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

thank you for joining us this morning, phylos.

i've always been fascinated by Wilde...which would have pleased him, probably.

hmmm, i need to think of a more worthy reply.

moment please...

12:19 PM  

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