David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

08 April 2015


Re. correspondence received :

     The actual subject matter of the book is the position of the artist in the world and in history :
of the man who does not "do" like human beings but who "creates" like God - though in appearance only. The artist is forever excluded from reality, and banished into the "empty province of beauty". His playing at eternity - and this bewitching game that we call beauty - turns into the "laughter that destroys reality," the laughter that springs from the terrible intuition that the Creation itself, and not merely man's playing at creating, can be destroyed.

- Hannah Arendt, p.124  Reflections on Literature and Culture


 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...