Monday, January 08, 2007


Ship ahoy

In the course of translating a short book of meditations by Saul Steinberg--tentatively titled The Rose Is From The Cabbage Family--I went back and reread Reflections and Shadows, a similarly dapper, diminutive collection published in 2002. On many occasions, the artist referred to himself as a "novelist manqué," for whom the visual arts were merely an acceptable substitute. Not true, of course. Yet his prose did share much of the wit, strangeness, and melancholy displacement you find in his drawings. Here's a tiny bit I've always liked, a Proustian principle enunciated by a guy who thoroughly despised his Romaninan childhood:
Nothing that has been deposited in the memory is lost. Memory is a computer that all one's life goes on accumulating data which are not always used, since man is often like an ocean liner that sets sail with only a single cabin occupied.
More on Steinberg later, since I've meaning to write about the fantastic show of his work at the Morgan Library. At the moment, duty calls.

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