My friend Kenneth Harrison sent me a fascinating article about Dickinson's working methods, which is strikingly reminiscent of Musil, the unfinished and unfinishable. Brenda Wineapple, in her essay, "On Emily Dickinson" in Salmagundi: Spring 2011. 170-171, writes:
It strikes me that it is no accident that these two seemingly distant writers shared a resistance to final versions and completion. Both were of the school of possibility and of telling the truth but telling it slant, the school of continual striving, the school of timeless momentariness and its awareness of mortality; both were transcendentalists who yet knew well about gravity and the sluggish persistence of matter; both were really unprepared to share their work with the world outside, while they both craved resonance, response, an admiring public--if only that public would not pry too much or ask them to hurry, to pander, to lie ( a practically impossible thing to expect of a public); both were bound to the beautiful treacherous practice of the sort of perfection which first manifests itself as messiness (like when one's room is initially much messier when one first begins to clean it up); and this devotion to the infinite facets, the myriad words and arrangements, could only be indulged by those who were somehow not quite bound to any one finite world, but rather by those who had to create infinite, unfinished portals into multiple universes of words. Dickinson might have been referring, with her royal We, to herself and Musil then, when she said, "It is finished can never be said of us". Or perhaps she meant that none of us, not one of us mortal humans, is ever really finished. . . .
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013