WHEN A POSTCARD STANDS BETWEEN DESIRE AND FULFILLMENT
Dear Time’s Waste - ‘Blue and Gold’
What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?
I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking
‘Is this the one I am too appear for,
Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar?
- Sylvia Plath, A Birthday Present (extract)
‘When Latimer, the narrator of Eliot’s The Lifted Veil, is mysteriously endowed with the “gift” of foresight and the ability to read other characters’ minds he finds nothing worth seeing (11). Instead of a beautiful revelation, a sublime unveiling of the other’s soul, Latimer finds only a nullifying absence. Writing on what he calls his “abnormal power of penetration,” Latimer tells us how, by no effort of his own will, “the vagrant, frivolous ideas and emotions of some uninteresting acquaintance […] would force themselves on my consciousness, like an importunate, ill-played musical instrument” (33). For Latimer, it seems that possessing the capability of seeing and knowing everything means that, in effect, he sees and knows nothing. His penetrating vision is also a blinding one.’
Ryan Barnett, ‘Behind The Veil’
“Talking music, you can, decrescendo, diminuendo, attenuate little by little the intensity of the sound, but also “diminish” the intervals. Whilst in the language of rhetoric, a little like litotes, like extenuation or reticence, a “diminution” consists in saying less, sure, but with a view to letting more be understood.”
- Jacques Derrida, ‘A Silkworm of One’s Own’