Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Proposition of Geometry

Our art is occupied, and bound to be occupied, not so much in making stories true as in making them typical . . . Life is monstrous, infinite, illogical, abrupt and poignant; a work of art, in comparison is neat, finite, self-contained, rational, flowing, and emasculate . . . A proposition of geometry does not compete with life; and a proposition of geometry is a fair and luminous parallel for a work of art. Both are reasonable, both untrue to the crude fact; both inhere in nature, neither represents it.

There! There is my manifesto, the most concise expression of my notion of art that I've ever met. Indulge me by guessing who wrote that passage. (No googling now!)

Hint: there are not many writers of English who would grasp that the opposite of "poignant" is "emasculate." And not many that could hammer prose that fine without breaking it.

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