Category Archives: religion

Suttree

Suttree influences

from books-and-movies-that-influenced-the-writing-of-suttree thread at http://www.cormacmccarthy.com

Davis Grubbs

Night of the Hunter

George Washington Harris

Sut Lovingood: Yarns Spun By a Nat’ral Born Durn’d Fool

William Faulkner

Sutpen in Absalom, Absalom! and The Reivers

William Shakespeare

(influences liked by Faulkner) Falstaff, Prince Hal, Nick Bottom, Mercutio, Huck Finn, Jim

Falstaff at Herne’s Oak, from “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Act V, Scene v, James Stephanoff, 1832. Via Wikimedia.

Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1848-1851). Titania and Bottom. Edwin Henry Landseer (1802–1873). Via Wikimedia.

Joseph Conrad

Dante Alighieri

James Joyce

Ulysses

Nelson Algren

The Neon Wilderness and A Walk on the Wild Side

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walt Whitman

T.S. Eliot

W. B. Yeats

John Keats

Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha

Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn

Herman Melville

H. L. Mencken

(Henry Louis Mencken) See The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1907)

Scopes Trial (1925)

The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes/The Scopes Monkey Trial and Tennessee’s Butler Act. (On human evolution)

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A Christmas Carol

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. New York: Bantam, 2009. Print. (First ed. 1895)

“Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall.” p. 12

“”Business cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was by business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.!”” p. 17

“Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor adobe?”p. 17

“The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.” p. 19

“The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.” p. 19

“They walked along the road; Scrooge recognising every gate, and post, and tree; until a little market-town appeared in the distance, with its bridge, its church, and winding river.” p. 25

“It opened before them, and disclosed a long, bare, melancholy room, made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he had used to be.” p. 26

“”What Idol has displaced you?” he rejoined.
“A golden one.” p. 34

“If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” p. 50

“It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”” p. 50

“And now, without a word of warning from the Ghost, they stood upon a bleak and desert moor, where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about, as though it were the burial-place of giants” p. 53

“Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red, which glared upon the desolation for an instant, like a sullen eye, and frowning lower, lower, lower yet, was lost in the thich gloom of darkest night.” p. 53

“lifted his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him.” p. 62

“in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.” p. 63

“Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags, masses of corrupted fat, and sepulchres of bones.” p. 67

“He thought, if this man could be raised up now, what would be his foremost thoughts? Avarice, hard dealing, griping cares? They have brought him to a rich end, truly!” p. 71

“A cat was tearing at the door, and there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone. What they wanted in the room of death, and why they were so restless and disturbed, Scrooge did not dare to think.” p. 71

“Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset” p. 85

“Dickens spent considerable energy giving public readings of his own works.” p. 87

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A Bend in The River

Naipaul, V. S. A Bend in the River. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print. (First ed. 1979)

“The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” p. 3

“In the darkness of the river and forest you could be sure only of what you could see–made a noise–dipped a paddle in the water–you heard yourself as though you were another person. The river and the forest were like presences, and much more powerful than you.” p. 8

“Zabeth was a magician, and was known in our region as a magician. Her smell was he smell of her protecting ointments. Other women used perfumes and scents to attract; Zabeth’s ointments repelled and warned.” p. 10

“Without Europeans, I feel, all our past would have been washed away, like the scuff marks of fishermen on the beach outside our town.” p. 12

***”All that had happened in the past was washed away; there was always only the present. It was as though, as a result of some disturbance in the heavens, the early morning light was always receding into the darkness, and men lived in a perpetual dawn.” p. 12

“When things went wrong they had the consolations of religion. This wasn’t just a readiness to accept Fate; this was a quiet and profound conviction about the vanity of all human endeavour.” p. 16

“a relisher of life, a seeker after experience” p. 25

“I wondered about the nature of my aspirations, the very supports of my existence; and I began to feel that any life I might have anywhere–however rich and successful and better furnished–would only be a version of the life I lived now.” p. 42

**”Always, sailing up from the south, from beyond the bend in the river, were clumps of water hyacinths, dark floating islands on the dark river, bobbing over the rapids. It was as if rain and river were tearing away bush from the heart of the continent and floating it down to the ocean, incalculable miles away… Night and day the water hyacinth floated up from the south, seeding itself as if travelled.” p. 46

Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth)

“They said they were poor and wanted money to continue their studies. Some of these beggars were bold, coming straight to me and reciting their requests; the shy ones hung around until there was no one else in the shop. Only a few had bothered to prepare stories, and these stories were like Ferdinand’s: a father dead or far away, a mother in a village, an unprotected boy full of ambition… The guilelessness, the innocence that wasn’t innocence–I thought it could be traced back to Ferdinand, his interpretation of our relationship and his idea of what I could be used for.” p. 55

“The people here were malins the way a dog chasing a lizard was malins because they lived with the knowledge of men as prey.” p. 56

“Every carving, every mask, served a specific religious purpose, and could only be made once. Copies were copies; there was no magical feeling or power in them; and in such copies Father Huismans was not interested. He looked in masks and carvings for a religious quality; without that quality the things were dead and without beauty.” p. 61  

“The first Roman hero, travelling to Italy to found his city, lands on the coast of Africa. The local queen falls in love with him, and it seems that the journey to Italy might be called off. But then the watching gods take a hand; and one of them says that the great Roman god might not approved of a settlement in Africa, of a mingling of peoples there, of treaties of union between Africans and Romans.”  p. 62

Dido and Aeneas, from a Roman fresco, Pompeian Third Style (10 BC – 45 AD), Pompeii, Italy. Via Wikimedia.

 See Dido and Aeneas

Read Aeneid by Virgil

Map of Aeneas’ journeys by Rcsprinter123. Via Wikimedia.

“This is Zabeth’s world. This is the world to which she returns when she leaves my shop. But Zabeth’s world was living, and this was dead. That was the effect of those masks lying flat on the shelves, looking up not forest or sky but at the underside of other shelves. They were masks that had been laid low, in more than one way, and had lost their power.” p. 65

“wandering back to the food stalls: little oily heaps of fried flying ants (expensive, and sold by the spoonful) laid out on scraps of newspaper; hairy orange-coloured caterpillars with protuberant eyes wriggling in enamel basins; fat white grubs kept moist and soft in little bags of damp earth, five or six grubs to a bag–these grubs, absorbent in body and of neutral taste, being an all-purpose fatty food, sweet with sweet things, savory with savory things. These were all forest foods, but the villages had been cleaned out of them (grubs came from the heart of a pal tree); and no one wanted to go foraging too far in the forest.” p. 66

“While he lived, Father Huismans, collecting the things of Africa, had been thought a friend of Africa. But now that changed. It was felt that the collection was an affront to African religion… The masks themselves, crumbling n the slatted shelves, seemed to lose the religious power Father Huismans had taught me to see in them; without him, they simply became extravagant objects.” p. 84

“It wasn’t the ice cream that attracted Mahesh. It was the idea of the simple machine, or rather the idea of being the only man in the town to own such a machine… They are dazzled by the machines they import. That is part of their intelligence; but they soon start behaving as though they don’t just own the machines, but the patents as well; they would like to be the only men in the world with such magical instruments.” p. 90

“They didn’t see, these young men, that there was anything to build in their country. As far as they were concerned, it was all there already. They had only to take. They believed that, by being what they were, they had earned the right to take; and the higher the officer, the greater the crookedness–if that word had any meaning.” p. 91

“It seemed as easy as that, if you came late to the world and found ready-made those things that other countries and peoples had taken so long to arrive at–writing, printing, universities, books, knowledge. The rest of us had to take thngs in stages. I thought of my own family, Nazruddin, myself–we were so clogged by what the centuries had deposited in our minds and hearts. Ferdinand, starting from nothing, had with one step made himself free, and was ready to race ahead of us.” p. 102-103

“We lived on the same patch of earth; we looked at the same views. Yet to him the world was new and getting newer. For me that same world was drab, without possibilities.” p. 103

“”Would the honourable visitor state whether he feels that Africans have been depersonalized by Christianity?”
¶Indar did what he had done before. He restated the question. He said, “I suppose you are really asking whether Africa can be served by a religion which is not African. Is Islam an African religion? Do you feel that Africans have been depersonalized by that?”” p. 121

“You are men of the modern world. Do you need African religion? Or are you being sentimental about it? Are you nervous of losing it? Or do you feel you have to hold on to it just because it’s yours?” p. 122

Raymond “I find that the most difficult thing in prose narrative is linking one thing with the other. The link might just be a sentence, or even a word. It sums up what has gone before and prepares one for what is to come.” p. 136

To read A History of Rome by Theodor Mommsen 

Theodor Mommsen. Ludwig Knaus. 1881. Via Wikimedia.

“There may be some parts of the world–dead countries, or secure and by-passed ones–where men can cherish the past and think of passing on furniture and china to their heirs. Men can do that perhaps in Sweden or Canada. Some peasant department of France full of half-wits in châteaux; some crumbling Indian palace-city, or some dead colonial town in a hopeless South American country. Everywhere else men are in movement, the world is in movement, and the past can only cause pain.” p. 141

“But I hadn’t understood to what extent our civilization had also been our prison. I hadn’t understood either to what extent we had been made by the place where we had grown up, made by Africa and the simple life of the coast, and how incapable we had become of understanding the outside world.” p. 142

“But this lady also thought that my education and background made me extraordinary,and I couldn’t fight the idea of my extraordinariness.
¶”An extraordinary man, a man of two worlds, needed an extraordinary job. And she suggested I become a diplomat.” p. 145

“there was the Edgware Road, where the shops and restaurants seemed continually to be changing hands; there were the shops and crowds of Oxford Street and Regent Street. The openness of Trafalgar Square gave me a lift, but it reminded me that I was almost at the end of my journey.” p. 146

“Now I saw differently. And I understood that London wasn’t simply a place that was there, as people say of mountains, but that it had been made by men, that men had given attention to details as minute as those camels.
¶I began to understand at the same time that my anguish about being a man adrift was false, that for me that dream of home and security was nothing more than a dream of isolation, anachronistic and stupid and very feeble. I belonged to myself alone.” p. 151

“We solace ourselves with that idea of the great men of our tribe, the Gandhi and the Nehru, and we castrate ourselves. ‘Here, take my manhood and invest it for me. Take my manhood and be a greater man yourself, for my sake!’ No! I want to be a man myself.” p. 152

“The job is thee, waiting. But it doesn’t exist for you or anyone else until you discover it, and you discover it because it’s for you and you alone.” p. 153

“These three people were in many ways alike–renegades, concerned with their personal beauty, finding in that beauty the easiest form of dignity.” p. 157

“Rustic manners, forest manners, in a setting not of the forest. But that was how, in our ancestral lands, we all began–the prayer may on the sand, then the marble floor of a mosque; the rituals and taboos of nomads, which transferred to the palace of a sultan or a maharaja, become the traditions of an aristocracy.” p. 161

“In spite of the corrupt physical ways our passion had begun to take, the photographs of Yvette that I preferred were the chastest. I was especially interested in those of her as a girl in Belgium, to whom the future was still a mystery.” p. 184

“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.” p. 198

“Uganda was beautiful, fertile, easy, without poverty, and with high African traditions. It ought to have had a future, but the problem with Uganda was that it wasn’t big enough. The country was now too small for its tribal hatreds.” p. 200-201

Shoba and Mahesh “Acid on the face of the woman, the killing of the man–they were the standard family threats on these occasions,” p. 203

“”You can hire them, but you can’t buy them.” It was one of his sayings; it meant that stable relationships were not possible here, that there could only be day-to-day contracts between men, that in a crisis peace was something you had to buy afresh every day.” p. 210

“We came down slowly, leaving the upper light. Below the heavy cloud Africa showed as a dark-green, wet-looking land. You could see that it was barely dawn down there; in the forests and creeks it would still be quite dark.” p. 247

“The water hyacinths, “the new thing in the river,” beginning so far away, in the centre of the continent, bucked past in clumps and tangles and single vines, here almost at the end of their journey.” p. 249

“If there was a plan, these events had meaning. If there was law, these events had meaning. But there was no plan; there was no law; this was only make-believe, play, a waste of men’s time in the world. And how often here, even in the days of bush, it must have happened before, this game of warders and prisoners in which men could be destroyed for nothing. I remembered what Raymond used to say–about events being forgotten, lost, swallowed up.” p. 267

“The searchlight lit up the barge passengers, who, behind bars and wire guards, as yet scarcely seemed to understand that they were adrift. Then there were gunshots. The searchlight was turned off; the barge was no longer to be seen. The steamer started up again and moved without lights down the river, away from the area of battle. The air would have been full of moths and flying insects. The searchlight, while it was on, had shown thousands, white in the white light.
¶July 1977-August 1978″ p. 278

 

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Nobel Laureates 1994-1990

大江 健三郎 Kenzaburō Ōe 1994

Japan (novel)

Work: 個人的な体験 A Personal Matter, 万延元年のフットボール The Silent Cry

Toni Morrison 1993

US (novel)

Work: The Bluest EyeBelovedSong of Solomon

Derek Walcott 1992

Santa Lucia (poetry/drama)

Work: Dream on Monkey Mountain, Omeros,  

Nadine Gordimer 1991

South Africa (novel/short story)

Work: The ConservationistBurger’s DaughterJuly’s People

Octavio Paz 1990

Mexico (poetry/essay)

Work: Piedra de solSalamandraEl laberinto de la soledadVislumbres de la India

NOBEL LAUREATES 2004-2000

Elfriede Jelinek 2004

Germany (drama/novel)

Die Klavierspielerin (The Piano Teacher), Die Kinder der Toten (The Children of the Dead)Greed, Lust

J. M. Coetzee 2003

South Africa (novel/essay)

Work: Boyhood, Life & Times of Michael KWaiting for the Barbarians 

Imre Kertész 2002

Hungary (novel)

Work: FatelessnessKaddish for an Unborn Child

Sir V. S. Naipaul 2001

Trinidad and Tobago/UK (novel)

Work: The Loss of El DoradoThe Enigma of ArrivalGuerrillas  

高行健 Gao Xingjian 2000

China/France (novel/screenwriter)

Work: 給我老爺買魚竿 Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather, 靈山 Soul Mountain一個人的聖經 One Man’s Bible

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Boy: Tales of Childhood

Dahl, Roald. Boy: Tales of Childhood. Great Britain: Penguin, 1984. Print.

On his dad “He was a tremendous diary-writer. I still have one of his many notebooks from the Great War of 1914-18. Every single day during those five war years he would write several pages of comment and observation about the events of the time.” p. 18

“His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn bay within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things.” p. 19

“I can remember very clearly the journeys I made to and from the school because they were so tremendously exciting.” p. 23

“‘But how do they turn the rats into liquorice?’ the young Thwaites had asked his father.
‘They wait until they’ve got ten thousand rats,’ the father had answered, ‘then they dump them all into a hude shiny steel cauldron and boil them up for several hours.'” p. 30

“‘There is no cure for ratitis. I ought to know. I’m a doctor.'” p. 31

“Whether or not the wily Mr Coombes had chalked the cane beforehand and had thus made an aiming mark on my grey flannel shorts after the first stroke, I do not know. I am inclined to doubt it because he must have known that this was a practice much frowned upon by Headmasters in general in those days. It was not only regarded as unsporting, it was also an admission that you were not an expert at the job.” p. 50

Christiania (name for Oslo), Norway

“‘Skaal, Bestemama!’ She will then lift her own glass and hold it up high. At the same time your own eyes meet hers, and you must keep looking deep into her eyes as you sip your drink. After you have both done this, you raise your glasses high up again in a sort of silent final salute, and only then does each person look away and set down his glass.” p. 58

the island of Tjøme in Norway

“There were the wooden skeletons of shipwrecked boats on those islands, and big white bones” p. 65

Dar es Salaam

“In which direction from where I was lying was Llandaff?… Therefore, if I turned towards the window I would be facing home. I wriggled round in my bed and faced my home and my family.” p. 89-90

“‘Life is tough, and the sooner you learn how to cope with it the better for you.'” p. 98

Captain Hardcastle’s mustache “The only other way he could have achieved this curling effect, we boys decided, was by prolonged upward brushing with a hard toothbrush in front of the looking-glass every morning.” p. 109

“His eyes rover the Hall endlessly, searching for mischief. The only noises to be heard were Captain Hardcastle’s little snorting grunts and the soft sound of pen-nibs moving over paper.” p. 113

“‘I have learnt one thing about England,’ my mother went on. ‘It is a country where men love to wear uniforms and eccentric clothes.'” p. 139

Archbishop of Canterbury

“But Corkers, an eccentric old bachelor, was neither dull nor colourless. Corkers was a charmer, a vast ungainly man with drooping bloodhound cheeks and filthy clothes… He would come lumbering into the classroom and sit down at his desk and glare at the class. We would wait expectantly, wondering what was coming next.” p.150

“Another time, he brought a two-foot-long grass-snake into class and insisted that every boy should handle it in order to cure us for ever, as he said, of a fear of snakes.” p. 151-152

Eton-fives

Ctesiphon palace ruin, with the arch in the centre, 1864. Via Wikimedia.

Arch of Ctesiphon in Iraq

500 cc Ariel

“The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him.” p. 171

“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” p. 172

Bay of Biscay

decorticator

mulberry-crop

Silence

NY Times The Passion of Martin Scorsese article

To watch Silence (2016):

To read: Silence by Shūsaku Endō (1966)

“As the hours passed, the room, already dark, seemed to diminish around us, until it resembled a screening room, or a chapel, a place where questions of how to live are posed through stories and images.”
“The Italian-American Catholicism of the area was centered on street processions devoted to saints brought over from the old country: San Gandolfo for the Sicilians on Elizabeth Street, San Gennaro for the Neapolitans on Mulberry Street.”

Mulberry Street c. 1900. Via Wikimedia/Library of Congress.

To read: Don DeLillo

“Spiritual Exercises” of St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits)

“The exercises, devised in the 1520s, invite the “exercitant” to use his imagination to place himself in the company of Jesus, at the foot of the cross, among tormented souls in hell.”

To read: Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (1522–1524)

Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

To watch again The Mission (1986) Roland Joffé

“A.O. Scott, now a chief film critic for The New York Times, once wrote that Scorsese approaches filmmaking as “a priestly avocation, a set of spiritual exercises embedded in technical problems.””

To watch Boxcar Bertha (1972), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986)

To read: The Last Temptation of Christ (1955) by Nikos Kazantzakis

To watch again The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

 

“Like the novel, the picture interrogates the very idea of Christian martyrdom, by proposing that there are instances when martyrdom — the believer holding fast to Christ to the bitter end — is not holy or even right. It makes in the way of art the arguments made in defense of “Last Temptation”: that an act can’t be fully understood if the intentions behind it aren’t taken into account, and that a seeming act of profanation can be an act of devotion if done out of an underlying faith.”
“He will go to hell — but he will go to hell for their sake.”

To watch: La Strada (1954) Federico Fellini

bitacora. dic. 1

I wake up. Tiny claws scratching the wooden floor. A tongue lapping at the water. The dogs are ready to eat. Boil the water. Soften the food. I put Yolo in the pen. He demands to be set free. Chocolino come here. Treat time. Choco sit, down, beg, spiiiiiin, down, gidaria, eat. Repeat five times. Then his plate. Down. Gidaria. Eat. He wolfs it down.
Out the door. Elevator from the 5th floor to the first. The morning sun is bright. The city has already had a few hours to get started. I wait for 155.
The 155 is almost empty. I sit at the back on one of the single seats, and continue reading The Sound and The Fury. The 155 travels east. We cross the Suyeong at Millak. I look down at the water and try to come up something pretty. Nothing comes up. Just water moving toward more water. In India it would be spiritual. People get off at Centum. We turn north. I read. We turn at Jaesong and climb up toward Jangsan mountain. I hear the bus shift gears. People get off and on. A blue and white bus with red numbers driving up a city built on a mountain slope on a sunny morning in Korea. The market at Banyeo samdong, people with grocery bags, people reading their phones. We descend into Banyeo ildong. The view opens and a large slice of city appears framed by pine forests at each side, rows of tall monolithic white buildings beyond the basin of the Suyeong. The spine of the Geumjeongsan still green. The mountain disappears behind older and smaller houses. We enter Banyeon ildong. Narrow streets. A blue work truck parked at a tight corner. Honking. I read. We turn. The bus gathers speed. I hear the bus shift gears.  We careen down the strip until the overpass. The whiny bell announces a passenger stop. An old lady with curly hair waddles to the backdoor holding the handrails as if enjoying an adventure at a moving jungle gym. I get off at the elementary school. The yellow leaves of the unheng tree strewn on the sidewalk. I think of my dad and how once as a kid I pretended to be a blind boy or an old man, using an imaginary cane to prod my way around the subsuelo hallway of the hotel. My dad frowned and asked me, ¿te haci de ciego o de viejo? I pondered the question. I looked at the corral my dad had been chatting with before he’d decided to test my morals. His friend looked back at me, grinned and waited for my response. I looked at my dad. De viejo, I said. Ah, bien, porque algun dia vai a ser viejo. I buy an ice americano at Amico for 2,500 won. The lady that made it hands it to me and bends the end of my straw so I won’t have to. I sip and exit the coffee shop.

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