There are Monsters Ahead

Mostly unread fiction on these shelves, all monsters exceeding five-hundred pages; some philosophy, or philosophical anthropology in Blumenberg’s case. Tolstoy is missing as is my almost complete set of Heinemann’s Anthony Powell, and two huge Arno Schmidt editions. These are all in my future and the shelves that excite me most, rabbit-holes of discovery that hold in reserve so much promise and mystery.

There are a few novels missing that I’d like to read: William Gaddis’ The Recognitions, another attempt at Infinite Jest, Pynchon, Carlos Fuentes’ Terra Nostra, possibly Louis Armand’s The Combinations, and Cáo Xuěqín’s novel, Grossman’s Life and Fate, Lessing’s space fiction novels. Ever curious about Richardson’s Clarissa, but I don’t think I could sustain myself through its entirety.

Cut Off From Beauty

Of the books I have pre-ordered it is Witold Gombrowicz’s Diary that I am most keenly anticipating. The diary is one of Yale University Press’ exciting Margellos World Republic of Letters series.

Whetting my appetite still further, Thomas posted a sample that anticipates the thrill of this new publication of Gombrowicz’s diaries.

I do not believe, therefore, that death is man’s real problem or that an art that is entirely permeated by it is completely authentic. Our real issue is growing old, that aspect of death that we experience daily. Perhaps not even growing old but the fact that it is so completely, so terribly cut off from beauty. Our gradual dying does not disturb us, it is rather that the beauty of life becomes inaccessible to us. At the cemetery I spotted a young boy walking among the graves like a being from another world, mysteriously and abundantly blooming while we looked like paupers. It struck me, however, that I did not feel our helplessness as something categorically inevitable.