Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ars Longa, My Ass: How Vivaldi Became a Household Name

From an essay by Guy Davenport in Harper's, January 2002, p. 63:

"If Olga and Ezra [Pound] had not sought out Vivaldi's manuscripts, edited them, and, most crucially, microfilmed them, we too would not be familiar with him. Bach admired him, but after Vivaldi's death (in 1741), the world forgot him. FBI agents were the first to hear him in America in our time: the shortwave broadcasts that Pound made from Rome in World War II were preceded by Vivaldi concerti."

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Get Over Yerselves

From "Goodness Knows Nothing of Beauty," by William Gass:

"That attachment to human life which demands that it be chosen over everything else is mostly humbug. It can be reasonably, if not decisively, argued that the world is already suffering from a surfeit of such animals; that most human beings rarely deserve the esteem some philosophers have for them; that historically humans have treated their pets better than they have treated one another; that no one is so essential he or she cannot be replaced a thousand times over; that death is inevitable anyhow; that it is our sense of community and our own identity which lead us to persist in our parochial overestimation; that it is rather a wish of philosophers than a fact that man be more important than anything else that's mortal, since nature remains mum and scarcely supports the idea, nor do the actions of man himself. Man makes a worse God than God, and when God was alive, he knew it. "

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