a fool in the forest

Epigraphs

  • A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the
        forest,
    A motley fool; a miserable world!
    As I do live by food, I met a fool
    Who laid him down and bask'd him
        in the sun,
    And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good
        terms,
    In good set terms and yet a motley
        fool.

    As You Like It,
    Act II, Scene 7

    L'homme y passe à travers des
        forêts de symboles
    Qui l'observent avec des regards
        familiers.

    Les Fleurs du Mal,
    “Correspondances”

    [T]here is almost no subject-matter, and what little one can disentangle is foolish....
    One would call the style verbose, except that by definition verbosity is the use of words in excess of the occasion, and there seems to be no occasion.

    Yvor Winters,
    Forms of Discovery, Ch. 7


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    February 22, 2005

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    Comments

    Aaron Haspel

    You know, George, Chekhov's is one of those remarks that was meant ironically and has come down to posterity as a literal dictum. He would have a great laugh if he could know that today it's the most famous thing he ever said.

    I am quite sure he was making fun of detective stories and excessively "neat" writing in general. All of his own work, not just Uncle Vanya, shows the contrary tendency. It's full of loose ends that he shows no interest whatever in tying up. Not unlike life.

    George Wallace

    Thank you kindly, Aaron, for dropping by.

    I have always had the same understanding of Chekhov's remark: that he was critiquing the "well made" plays of some of his contemporaries and that his own art took him well away from such mechanical tricks. Which means, I suppose, that Jerry Brown's comment is based in a misunderstanding of Chekhov (but not necessarily in a misunderstanding of the forces at work in the life of Hunter Thompson).

    I'm not as familiar with Chekhov's stories as I am with the plays, but it seems to me that he mostly does without the actual use of firearms subsequent to the duel in The Seagull. Vanya, certainly, is still with us in the end, however unhappily, notwithstanding his suicidal ideations in Act IV.

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