“Creation, infinitely rarer [than invention], can, indeed must, open on to “the terra incognita of the soul” (Coleridge). Its avenues are those of the trackless. It can, as Walter Benjamin argues, wait for us to follow, to catch up with it, although it is implausible to suppose that we will do so.”
– George Steiner, Grammars of Creation
This reminds me of Kafka’s letter to Oskar Pollak: “Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle.” (There is of course his more often quoted passage about the ‘axe for the frozen sea’.) Steiner’s paragraph above, and in expanded detail in his book, is as good a description of the spirit of extreme seriousness that ought accompany the splendour of reading.
Wonderful! I’ve picked up a copy of that to read after Errata.
I know of it, and will certainly get around to it at some point. The others I have on the way are Language and Silence: Essays and Notes, 1958-66, The Uncommon Reader and The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan.
I think my rough plan is to read Errata, A Long Saturday and then work back chronologically from The Poetry of Thought.