Thursday, February 26, 2009

Readings / QdJ: I Can Relate to That

Today’s posting shall be a combined “Readings” and “Quote du Jour”:

In response to my email inquiry as to whether he had ever written anything on poet and critic, William Empson—my recent interest in whom I had previously posted on below—fellow poetry enthusiast and soi-disant fascist hyena, John Derbyshire, kindly sent me a link to this article which deals with what I consider to be Empson’s best (or at least most accessible) poem, “Villanelle”. Follow the link and read the poem. Even listen to Derb read it, if you will.

Derb has now followed up by sending me a second link, turning me onto an article about the British writer, William Hazlitt. It includes a rather longish introductory discussion of a phenomenon known as “Philocaption.” As a word, that was a new one on me, although I was, of course, quite familiar with the phenomenon:

"Philocaption, an inordinate love of one person for another”...

What follows, then, is the promised Quote du Jour, with special emphasis on that portion that I’ve bolded:

“In a startling digression in the middle of that 1823 essay, Hazlitt, in Jon Cook's words, ‘looks back upon an existence that had somehow failed to happen’:

“So have I loitered my life away, reading books, looking at pictures, going to plays, hearing, thinking, writing on what pleased me best. I have wanted only one thing to make me happy; but wanting that, have wanted everything!"

As noted above, I can relate to that.