For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann.
There are gentle souls who would pronounce Lolita meaningless because it does not teach them anything. I am neither a reader nor a writer of didactic fiction, and, despite John Ray's assertion, Lolita has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann.
I'm a creature of adaptation. I take advantage of the second and the moment. My comedy breathes; it's not really that predictable. I do have a linear style, but other than that, there's a lot of abstract. I just go off on what I'm thinking. I'm not that topical. I like to talk about me and my experiences.
Facebook is about seeing what your friend is doing. Twitter, you follow different people. Flipboard is about passions and interests and topics, and so it's the same social web that all of these products are letting you look at, but Flipboard is coming at it from a more topical point of view.
Publishers have realized that, unlike the previous time period, American teenagers are both smarter and require more topical material than they had been giving them before that. For one thing, they'll read thicker books. Besides, has anybody looked at the news or read the newspapers recently?
History is a sly boots, and for a generation of blacks that cannot identify with the frustrations of Jim Crow, and for whites who cannot understand the hard deal that faces working-class blacks, it is difficult to reconcile Hughes's reputation as a poet-hero with his topical verse and uncomplicated prose.
Social questions are too sectional, too topical, too temporal to move a man to the mighty effort which is needed to produce greatpoetry. Prison reform may nerve Charles Reade to produce an effective and businesslike prose melodrama; but it could never produce Hamlet, Faust, or Peer Gynt.
George Bernard Shaw
It's an eclectic film and I think we served the novel really well. And we had a great cast who worked for free. Everyone read it and said, I'm in, from Nick [Nolte] to Albert [Finney] to Omar [Epps] to Barbara [Hershey]. We really had fun and shot it in a very short time. I think the subject matter is more topical today, more to the point, than it was 30 years ago, when it concerned the Vietnam War.
A man is the prisoner of his power. A topical memory makes him an almanac; a talent for debate, disputant; skill to get money makes him a miser, that is, a beggar. Culture reduces these inflammations by invoking the aid of other powers against the dominant talent, and by appealing to the rank of powers. It watches success.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Topical-sketch writing were incredibly rational and well reasoned: don't do a joke if the subject doesn't deserve it. An ad hominem attack on someone might get you a cheap laugh, but it doesn't earn you any long-term trust. The biggest rule was: you attack whoever's in power. Don't bring your personal bias to the table.
The constancies and equivalences adumbrated work havoc with such settled topical blocks as myth and philosophy, natural reason and revelation, philosophy and religion, or the Orient with its cyclical time and Christianity with its linear history. And what is modem about the modem mind, one may ask, if Hegel, Comte, or Marx, in order to create an image of history that will support their ideological imperialism, still use the same techniques for distorting the reality of history as their Sumerian predecessors?
THE METAPHYSICAL POETS Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime (Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress) While theatre was the most public literary form of the period, poetry tended to be more personal, more private. Indeed, it was often published for only a limited circle of readers. This was true of Shakespeare's sonnets, as we have seen, and even more so for the Metaphysical poets, whose works were published mostly after their deaths. John Donne and George Herbert are the most significant of these poets. The term 'Metaphysical' was used to describe their work by the eighteenth-century critic, Samuel Johnson. He intended the adjective to be pejorative. He attacked the poets' lack of feeling, their learning, and the surprising range of images and comparisons they used. Donne and Herbert were certainly very innovative poets, but the term 'Metaphysical' is only a label, which is now used to describe the modern impact of their writing. After three centuries of neglect and disdain, the Metaphysical poets have come to be very highly regarded and have been influential in recent British poetry and criticism. They used contemporary scientific discoveries and theories, the topical debates on humanism, faith, and eternity, colloquial speech-based rhythms, and innovative verse forms, to examine the relationship between the individual, his God, and the universe. Their 'conceits', metaphors and images, paradoxes and intellectual complexity make the poems a constant challenge to the reader.
As a special branch of general philosophy, pathogenesis had never been explored. In my opinion it had never been approached in a strictly scientific fashion-that is to say, objectively, amorally, intellectually. All those who have written on the subject are filled with prejudice. Before searching out and examining the mechanism of causes of disease, they treat of 'disease as such', condemn it as an exceptional and harmful condition, and start out by detailing the thousand and one ways of combating it, disturbing it, destroying it; they define health, for this purpose, as a 'normal' condition that is absolute and immutable. Diseases ARE. We do not make or unmake them at will. We are not their masters. They make us, they form us. They may even have created us. They belong to this state of activity which we call life. They may be its main activity. They are one of the many manifestations of universal matter. They may be the principal manifestation of that matter which we will never be able to study except through the phenomena of relationships and analogies. Diseases are a transitory, intermediary, future state of health. It may be that they are health itself. Coming to a diagnosis is, in a way, casting a physiological horoscope. What convention calls health is, after all, no more than this or that passing aspect of a morbid condition, frozen into an abstraction, a special case already experienced, recognized, defined, finite, extracted and generalized for everybody's use. Just as a word only finds its way into the Dictionary Of The French Academy when it is well worn stripped of the freshness of its popular origin or of the elegance of its poetic value, often more than fifty years after its creation (the last edition of the learned Dictionary is dated 1878), just as the definition given preserves a word, embalms it in its decrepitude, but in a pose which is noble, hypocritical and arbitrary-a pose it never assumed in the days of its vogue, while it was still topical, living and meaningful-so it is that health, recognized as a public Good, is only the sad mimic of some illness which has grown unfashionable, ridiculous and static, a solemnly doddering phenomenon which manages somehow to stand on its feet between the helping hands of its admirers, smiling at them with its false teeth. A commonplace, a physiological cliche, it is a dead thing. And it may be that health is death itself. Epidemics, and even more diseases of the will or collective neuroses, mark off the different epochs of human evolution, just as tellurian cataclysms mark the history of our planet.