The reader! You, dogged, uninsultable, print-oriented bastard, it's you I'm addressing, who else, from inside this monstrous fiction. You've read me this far, then? Even this far? For what discreditable motive? How is it you don't go to a movie, watch TV, stare at a wall, play tennis with a friend, make amorous advances to the person who comes to your mind when I speak of amorous advances? Can nothing surfeit, saturate you, turn you off? Where's your shame?
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Somewhere in the world there was a young woman with such splendid understanding that she'd see him entire, like a poem or story, and find his words so valuable after all that when he confessed his apprehensions she would explain why they were in fact the very things that made him precious to her... and to Western Civilization! There was no such girl, the simple truth being.
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The Genie declared that in his time and place there were scientists of the passions who maintained that language itself, on the one hand, originated in 'infantile pregenital erotic exuberance, polymorphously perverse, ' and that conscious attention, on the other, was a 'libidinal hypercathexis' - by which magic phrases they seemed to mean that writing and reading, or telling and listening, were literally ways of making love.
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Unhappily, things get clearer as we go along. I perceive that I have no body. What's less, I've been speaking of myself without delight or alternative as self-consciousness pure and sour; I declare now that even that isn't true. I'm not aware of myself at all, as far as I know. I don't think... I know what I'm talking about.
There's a great difficulty in making choices if you have any imagination at all. Faced with such a multitude of desireable choices, no one choice seems satisfactory for very long by comparison with the aggregate desirability of all the rest, though compared to any one of the others it would not be found inferior. All equally attractive but none finally inviting.
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Printed prose is historically a most peculiar, almost an aberrant way of telling stories, and by far the most inherently anesthetic: It is the only medium of art I can think of which appeals directly to none of our five senses. The oral and folk tradition in narrative made use of verse or live-voice dynamics, embellished by gesture and expression--a kind of rudimentary theater--as do the best raconteurs of all times. Commonly there was musical accompaniment as well: a kind of one-man theater-of-mixed-means.
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The Genie declared that in his time and place there were scientists of the passions who maintained that language itself, on the one hand, originated in 'infantile pregenital erotic exuberance, polymorphously perverse,' and that conscious attention, on the other, was a 'libidinal hypercathexis' - by which magic phrases they seemed to mean that writing and reading, or telling and listening, were literally ways of making love.
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My dear fellow,' Burlingame said, 'we sit here on a blind rock careening through space; we are all of us rushing headlong to the grave. Think you the worms will care, when anon they make a meal of you, whether you spent your moment sighing wigless in your chamber, or sacked the golden towns of Montezuma? Lookee, the day's nigh spent; 'tis gone careening into time forever. Not a tale's length past we lined our bowels with dinner, and already they growl for more. We are dying men, Ebenezer: i'faith, there's time for naught but bold resolves!
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To turn experience into speech - that is, to classify, to categorize, to conceptualize, to grammarize, to syntactify it - is always a betrayal of experience, a falsification of it; but only so betrayed can it be dealt with at all, and only in so dealing with it did I ever feel a man, alive and kicking.
Somewhere in the world there was a young woman with such splendid understanding that she'd see him entire, like a poem or story, and find his words so valuable after all that when he confessed his apprehensions she would explain why they were in fact the very things that made him precious to her...and to Western Civilization! There was no such girl, the simple truth being.
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