vrijdag 25 januari 2013

"He was unique too in the necessity he felt to see the crisis [the death of culture] in all its specificity' of detail. For him the modern barbarism was not merely a large general tendency which could be comprehended by a large general emotion; he was constrained to watch it with a compulsive and obsessive awareness of its painful particularities. He was made rabid - to use his own word - by this book, this phrase, this solecism, this grossness of shape or form, this debasement of manners, this hollow imitation of thought [. . . ] What he wanted to do, he said, was nothing less than to take account of the whole intellectual life of France. "If it were treated briefly, made concise and light, it would be a fantasy - more or less witty, but without weight or plausibility; whereas if I give it detail and development I will seem to be believing my own story, and it can be made into something serious and even frightening." And he believed that it was by an excess of evidence that he would avoid pedantry."

- Lionel Trilling over Gustave Flaubert

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