“Only solitude, difficult, humiliating, even corrosive as it is, can safeguard art and thought from corruption. The media, the lust to communicate by socially sanctioned and rewarded means, the manipulation of discourse towards approval and success, are an irreparable waste of spirit.”
George Steiner, Grammars of Creation
In Adam Phillips review (2001) of Steiner’s book, he writes, “Steiner suggests in this book that our sense of ourselves as creators – and we can only bear ourselves in his view as creators and inventors, a distinction that is at the heart of the book . . .”
The description brings to mind a writer whose work I am interested to explore: Ludwig Hohl. The English language rights to his magnum opus, The Notes – or Of the Unpremature Reconciliation are owned by Yale University Press, so there is at least a chance the work of this Swiss writer will be more widely available in the future.
In Grammars of Creation, Steiner wrote of Hohl: “He was a voyeur into the nuances and tremors of sensibility. Hohl experienced physical and psychological phenomena as interminably fragmented with disenchanted scruple, he fitted these fragments into a language-mosaic of exceptional lucidity.” In his book, Steiner develops Hohl’s central thesis, that the purpose of life is to fully exercise our creative forces as fully as possible.