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.

30 September 2018

Gerald Murnane and the possible present

This is Nobel Prize announcements week. 

Due to a sex abuse scandal within the Swedish Academy, however, no Nobel Prize for Literature will be awarded in 2018.

Earlier this year, before the cancellation announcement, a profile of Gerald Murnane and his writing featured in The New York Times Magazine. The article, by Mark Binelli, was titled 
Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?

photo by Morganna Magee for The New York Times 

Last week, The Wheeler Centre (Melbourne) published online an audio record of a conversation between Gerald Murnane and Sean O'Beirne. Heartily recommended.

Sean O'Beirne and Gerald Murnane - photo by Scott Limbrick

Twenty years ago, when I first arrived on the plains, I kept my eyes open. I looked for anything in the landscape that seemed to hint at some elaborate meaning behind appearances.
My journey to the plains was much less arduous than I afterwards described it. And I cannot even say that at a certain hour I knew I had left Australia. But I recall clearly a succession of days when the flat land around me seemed more and more a place that only I could interpret.

- the opening of The Plains (1982) by Gerald Murnane

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