William Styron, Sophie van der Stap, N. P. van Wyk Louw, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata, Athol Fugard, Nnimmo Bassey

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: The Long March

“One noon, in the blaze of a cloudless Carolina summer, what was left of eight dead boys lay strewn about the landscape, among the poison ivy and the pine needles and loblolly saplings. It was not so much as if they had departed this life but as if, sprayed from a hose, they were only shreds of bone, gut, and dangling tissue to which it would have been impossible ever to impute the quality of life, far less the capacity to relinquish it. Of course, though, these had really died quickly, no doubt before the faintest flicker of recognition, of wonder, apprehension, or terror had had time to register in their minds. But the shock, it occurred to Lieutenant Culver, who stood in the shady lee of an ambulance and watched the scene, must have been fantastic to those on the periphery of the explosion, those fifteen or so surviving marines who now lay on the ground beneath blankets, moaning with pain and fright, and who, not more than half an hour before, had been waiting patiently in line for their lunch before the two mortar shells, misfired—how? why? the question already hung with a buzzing, palpable fury in the noontime heat—had plummeted down upon the chow-line and had deadened their ears and senses and had hurled them earthward where they lay now, alive but stricken in a welter of blood and brain, scattered messkits and mashed potatoes, and puddles of melting ice cream. Moments ago in the confusion—just before he had stolen off from the Colonel’s side to go behind a tree and get sick—Lieutenant Culver had had a glimpse of a young sweaty face grimed with dust, had heard the boy’s voice, astonishing even in that moment of nausea because of its clear, unhysterical tone of explanation: “Major, I tell you I was on the field phone and I tell you as soon as they come out the tube I knew they were short rounds and so I hollered …” Of course it had been an accident. But why? He heard the Major shout something, then Culver had heard no more, retching on the leaves with a sound that, for the moment, drowned out the cries and whines of the wounded and the noise of trucks and ambulances crashing up through the under-brush.
It was not that he had a weak stomach or that he was unacquainted with carnage that allowed him to lose control. If anything, he prided himself on his stomach, and as for blood he had seen a lot spilled on Okinawa and had himself (although through no act of valor whatever) received a shrapnel wound —in the buttocks, a matter which even in retrospect, as he had often been forced to remind his wife, possessed no elements of comedy at all. In this case it was simply that on the one hand he himself had been shocked. The sight of death was the sort of thing which in wartime is expected, which one protects one-self against, and which is finally excused or at least ignored, in the same way that a beggar is ignored, or a head cold, or a social problem.”

 
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

 

De Nederlandse schrijfster Sophie van der Stap werd geboren in Amsterdam op 11 juni 1983. Zie ook alle tags voor Sophie van der Stap op dit blog.

Uit: Buiten spelen

“Die vissenkom is niet zomaar uit de lucht komen vallen. Ze had al een plekje veroverd in mijn hoofd en lag ergens, onder een stapel versere gedachten, te wachten totdat ik haar weer op zou pakken.
Op de dag voor mijn vertrek naar Parijs – waar ik naartoe ging om aan een nieuw leven te beginnen (ja dat kan) – kwam dit beeld van de vissenkom met Job aangefietst over de Lijnbaansgracht. Zoals gewoonlijk was Job niet met lege handen gekomen. Hij ging zitten op een van de lege stoelen om de keukentafel en ik schonk ons allebei een glas rode wijn in zonder te weten dat het boek dat hij dit keer voor me mee had genomen, er eentje was dat me heel lang zou achtervolgen. Of beter gezegd, leiden. Maar misschien is dat wel hetzelfde.
Op de voorkant van het boek stond een zwarte kat afgebeeld, en profil, niet zoals je je een Amsterdamse vensterbankkat voorstelt, dik en lui achter het raam, maar eentje die je voor je ziet als je aan Parijs denkt: balancerend over de glinsterende daken van de stad, de staart zelfbewust in de lucht en de pootjes elegant achter elkaar. Verder was er een stukje Parijse hemel. Boven die hemel stond de titel geschreven: Elegant als een egel. Auteur: Muriel Barbery. Ik had meteen zin om het boek open te slaan.
In het boek stelt Paloma, een hoogbegaafd twaalfjarig meisje, de vraag of het leven wel waard is om te leven als ze toch al weet hoe het eindigt: in een vissenkom. De vissenkom werkt als volgt. Je wordt erin geboren en je gaat erin dood. Je kunt een beetje naar links zwemmen en een beetje naar rechts, maar daar houdt het op. Soms raak je de wand en kijk je naar buiten, naar de wereld die erachter ligt. Het is er mooi en je kijkt lang, want daar is je fantasie nooit te groot. In de jaren na je geboorte leef je in de waan dat je leven nog alle kanten op kan schieten. Je kunt astronaut worden, bergbeklimmer, waarschijnlijk win je en passant nog een NobeIprijs voor de Vrede, en op een dag komt de prins in de witte Porsche langs gereden, hij steekt zijn hand uit en jij stapt in.”


Sophie van der Stap (Amsterdam, 11 juni 1983)

 

De Zuid-Afrikaans schrijver en dichter Nicolaas Petrus van Wyk Louw werd geboren in Sutherland op 11 juni 1906. Zie ook alle tags voor N. P. van Wyk Louw op dit blog.

Aanraking van de dood

Slechts rakelings streek over mijn haren
de wind van Zijn vleugelslag, en Zijn schaduw
was koelte rondom mij; ik kon niet zien
of Hij vernietiging of leven gaf,
ik kon geen laatste, dappere woorden vinden;
ik boog alleen, en rondom mij was een wand
van vrees, totdat ik kon luisteren, helemaal verblind,
hoe Hij vér wegruisde over het land.
Maar toen de vrees weggewaaid was van mijn ogen,
stond alles er nieuw bij, van vreemde smart
dooraderd en diep verbonden door alle tijden heen;
er was een grote liefde in mij, en mededogen,
en een besef van het duister in ons hart,
want alles was doorweekt van sterfelijkheid.

Vertaald door Peter Pit

 

Grense

My naakte siel wil sonder skrome
in alle eenvoud tot jou gaan,
soos uit diepe slaap ons drome,
soos teen skemerlug die bome
opreik na die bloue maan;

gaan met al sy donker wense,
en die heilige, nooit-gehoorde
dinge sê, waarvoor die mense
huiwer, en wat om die grense
flikker van my duister woorde.

Voël

’n Voël vlieg voor my venster verby,
’n naalddun lyn wat daaroor gly
en die glas in twee vlakke sny;

die wêrelde val apart en bly
elk in sy enkelheid geskei –
ek hierbinne, en daarbuite hy.


N. P. van Wyk Louw (11 juni 1906 – 18 juni 1970)

 

De Britse dichteres en schrijfster Renée Vivien (eig. Pauline Mary Tarn) werd geboren op 11 juni 1877 in Londen. Zie ook alle tags voor Renée Vivien op dit blog.

Lassitude

Je dormirai ce soir d’un large et doux sommeil…
Fermez bien les rideaux, tenez les portes closes.
Surtout, ne laissez pas pénétrer le soleil.
Mettez autour de moi le soir trempé de roses.

Posez, sur la blancheur d’un oreiller profond,
De ces fleurs sans éclat et dont l’odeur obsède.
Posez-les dans mes mains, sur mon cœur, sur mon front,
Les fleurs pâles au souffle amoureusement tiède.

Et je dirai très bas : « Rien de moi n’est resté…
Mon âme enfin repose… ayez donc pitié d’elle.
Qu’elle puisse dormir toute une éternité. »
Je dormirai, ce soir, de la mort la plus belle.

Que s’effeuillent les fleurs, tubéreuses et lys,
Et que meure et s’éteigne, au seuil des portes closes,
L’écho triste et lointain des sanglots de jadis.
Ah ! le soir infini ! le soir trempé de roses !

 

Les Arbres

Dans l’azur de l’avril, dans le gris de l’automne,
Les arbres ont un charme inquiet et mouvant.
Le peuplier se ploie et se tord sous le vent,
Pareil aux corps de femme où le désir frissonne.

Sa grâce a des langueurs de chair qui s’abandonne,
Son feuillage murmure et frémit en rêvant,
Et s’incline, amoureux des roses du Levant.
Le tremble porte au front une pâle couronne.

Vêtu de clair de lune et de reflets d’argent,
S’effile le bouleau dont l’ivoire changeant
Projette des pâleurs aux ombres incertaines.

Les tilleuls ont l’odeur des âpres cheveux bruns,
Et des acacias aux verdures lointaines
Tombe divinement la neige des parfums.

 
Renée Vivien (11 juni 1877 – 10 november 1909)
Cover

 

De Franse schrijver Jean-Pierre Chabrol werd geboren op 11 juni 1925 in Chamborigaud. Zie ook alle tags voor Jean-Pierre Chabrol op dit blog.

Uit: La banquise

“Le petit village cévenol de Bouscassel est en fête. Son unique rue, qui longe la rivière, est pavoisée de drapeaux rouges et de quelques drapeaux tricolores. Les gens rient, se donnent l’accolade à s’en étouffer, chantent des couplets de La Jeune Garde, parfois de L’Internationale mais surtout des refrains populaires arrangés pour la circonstance. Par moments, la joie s’exprime par quelques coups de feu tirés en l’air. Certains hommes en civil, arborant le brassard FFI, sont armés, qui d’un fusil de guerre allemand, qui d’un revolver… Ils ont rajouté ce qu’ils ont trouvé comme accessoires pour faire plus militaire, celui-ci un ceinturon, celui-là un casque de la guerre de 14… Il traîne là-dessus des souffles composés d’odeurs fortes où priment tour à tour la poudre, la poussière, la vinasse, la sueur et la crasse, et qui ont presque complètement étouffé le parfum des foins coupés, aux portes du village, que l’on rentrait dans les granges, il y a peu. C’est, dans l’air cotonneux de cette matinée d’un mois d’août torride, un pétillement très gai. Devant le bistrot de Marie, dite « la Rumeur » à cause de sa langue, les gens se servent librement au robinet d’un tonneau que son mari, dit « le Gamate » parce qu’il est aussi maçon, vient de mettre en perce. Le bureau de tabac a été pillé, chacun s’est servi, les premiers arrivés fument des cigares, les gosses jouent au canon avec la carotte de l’enseigne, en se gavant de réglisse. Une belle maison aux volets dos ne pavoise pas, les gens grondent en la longeant. Soudain, on se passe le mot : « Elle arrive, tous au pont !… » Sur le pont en dos d’âne, arrive une charrette aussitôt entourée d’une foule qui crie, certaines femmes hurlent à la mort. — Tipendjarén ! « Nous allons te pendre », le vieux cri, le hurlement oublié des rages populaires, semble resurgir soudain d’un lointain Moyen Age, tout naturellement, tout neuf. Au milieu de ce tombereau à ridelles tiré péniblement par un vieux percheron, sur une chaise, les mains liées derrière le dos, une femme est assise, une solide quadragénaire qui baisse la tête. Ce qu’elle a de plus remarquable, c’est une extraordinaire chevelure rousse dépeignée qui lui tombe sur les épaules et devant la figure qu’elle masque. En sautoir sur sa poitrine, une pancarte se balance au rythme du roulis qu’impriment à la charrette les coups de collier du vieux canasson sur les pavés disjoints de la calade. Cette planche porte ces mots d’une écriture maladroite mais parfaitement lisible même de loin. »


Jean-Pierre Chabrol (11 juni 1925 – 1 december 2001)
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De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ben Jonson werd geboren rond 11 juni 1572 in Westminster, Londen. Zie ook alle tags voor Ben Jonson op dit blog.

Hymn To The Belly

Room! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught ‘em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He’s made of himself that now he cries swag;
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.


Ben Jonson (ca. 11 juni 1572 – 6 augustus 1637) 
Cover biografie

 

De Japanse schrijver Yasunari Kawabata werd geboren op 11 juni 1899 in Osaka. Zie ook alle tags voor Yasunari Kawabata op dit blog.

Uit: Snow Country (Vertaald door Edward Seidensticker)

“Black though the mountains were, they seemed at that moment brilliant with the color of the snow. They seemed to him somehow transparent, somehow lonely. The harmony between sky and mountains was lost.’
– Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country. Translator: Edward G. Seidensticker
Small shifts in atmosphere, in emphasis, in tone of voice or choice of words, outlined against the contantly shifting backdrops afforded by the picturesque snow country resort town and its inhabitants take on great significance in this most subtle of novels. With both grace and economy, Kawabata unfolds the story of Shimamura, a wealthy dilletante from Tokyo and his liaison with Komaka, a geisha in the hot springs resort he visits. Shimamura is taken with Komaka’s innocence and simplicity; yet unwilling to fully believe that her professed love for him is real and not the pose of a geisha, or indeed that any sort of reciprocity beyond a never-defined, sporadic relationship without even the status of patron and favoured geisha is possible between them.
Both of them are, in some way, empty people, pursuing what Shimamura thinks of as wasteful effort. Shimamura, at one time a well-regarded commentator on Japanese dance and expected to soon enter into the fray himself finds his hobby getting too real and transfers his scholarly attentions to western dance, despite never having seen a ballet performance, and refusing to see ballets put up by Japanese troupes. Mountain climbing, another hobby of his, is also seen as a classic example of wasted effort – once you reach the top you have climb all the way back down again. Komako reads everything she can get her hands on, from classics to trash, and keeps a record of it all in a diary that she has been maintaining for years.
She doesn’t try to analyse what she reads, or impose any quality control on it – she just reads omnivourously and keeps a record of it. She teaches herself to play songs using sheet music, with no exposure to actual peformance practise, creating a naive and affecting but essentially quaint and insular art of her own. »


Yasunari Kawabata (11 juni 1899 — 16 april 1972)
Cover

 

De Zuidafrikaanse schrijver Harold Athol Lannigan Fugard werd geboren op 11 juni 1932 in Middelburg, Kaapprovincie. Zie ook alle tags voor Athol Fugard op dit blog.

Uit: Hello And Goodbye

“JOHNNIE. All right I made a mistake. I forgot. I applied. Satisfied?
HESTER. You didn’t forget. You lied to me. You know you posted it.
JOHNNIE. I’m telling you I forgot.
HESTER. You knew they said you must come.
JOHNNIE. Can’t I forget things too?
HESTER. And you wanted to go!
JOHNNIE. Maybe … it’s a long time ago … ten years … My memory….
HESTER. Don’t try to get out of it.
JOHNNY [desperate] What do you want me to say?
HESTER. What are you trying to hide?
JOHNNY. Nothing. So leave me alone. Understand ? Just leave us alone. Take what you want and go! [He is squirming—then a clumsy move and the crutches fall—he stands on his feet.] Look, what you’ve made me do!!
[Pause.]
Yes, I wanted to go. They are the most beautiful things in the world! Black, and hot, hissing, and the red glow of their furnaces, their whistles blowing out like ribbons in the wind! And the engine driver, grade one, and his stoker up there, leaning out of the cab, watching the world like kings! Yes, I wanted to go. I could have gone. It was up to me. He didn’t say anything to stop me posting the forms in duplicate. And when I got the letter saying I must come he even said he was happy because now his son would also work for the railways. I said I’d come home for all my holidays to be with him and give the house a good sweep out. And when I was packing my suitcase he gave me one of his railway shirts—even made a joke, with tears in his eyes—said it would fit when my muscles were big. So there we stood with tears in our eyes, him on his crutches—me with my suitcase. He came to the door and waved to me all the way down Valley Road.”

 
Athol Fugard (Middelburg (ZA), 11 juni 1932)
Scene uit een opvoering in Kaapstad, 2016

 

De Nigeriaanse dichter, schrijver, architect, en milieuactivist Nnimmo Bassey werd geboren in Akwa Ibom op 11 juni 1958. Zie ook alle tags voor Nnimmo Bassey op dit blog.

Uit:To cook a continent

« What makes possible the lack of regulation in Africa’s extractive sectors, the open robbery and the incredibly destructive extractive activities? Leading the multiplicity of factors are unjust power relations that follow from and amplify the baggage of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. From a Nigerian stand-point, but within the tradition of Pan-Africanist political economy and global political ecology, this book unpacks these issues and sets up bins for these needless and toxic loads.
Because of my own experiences, the pages that follow pay close attention to the oil industry in Africa, to the history of environmental justice struggles in the Niger Delta, to the discovery of oilfields in Uganda’s rift Valley, and to the big pull of the offshore finds in the Gulf of Guinea. As we examine the impacts of fossil fuel extraction on the continent, we also look at massive land grabs for the production of agrofuels and foods for export.
What can Africa do? And once our peoples decide, can the rest of the world act in solidarity? If not, will we continue on the path laid out by elites, a path that brings us ever closer to the brink? Must we live in denial even at a time of a rising tide of social and ecological disasters?
….

One of the worst gas flares in the Niger Delta is at a former Shell facility at Oben, on the border of Delta and Edo states. They have been roaring and crackling non-stop for over 30 years, since Shell first lit them. The flared gas comes from the crude oil extracted from the oil wells in the Oben field. As at more than 200 other flow stations across the Niger Delta, these gas flares belch toxic elements into the atmosphere, poisoning the environment and the people. Globally, gas flares pump about 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. Here in Nigeria, the climate is brazenly assaulted both in the short term by gas flaring and over the long term because of the CO2 emissions from this filthy practice. In the hierarchy of gas flares infamy, Nigeria is second only to Russia.”


Nnimmo Bassey (Akwa Ibom, 11 juni 1958)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 11e juni ook mijn blog van 11 juni 2017 deel 2.

William Styron, Sophie van der Stap, N. P. van Wyk Louw, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: Darkness Visible

“I felt a kind of numbness, an enervation, but more particularly an odd fragility—as if my body had actually become frail, hypersensitive and somehow disjointed and clumsy, lacking normal coordination. And soon I was in the throes of a pervasive hypochondria. Nothing felt quite right with my corporeal self there were twitches and pains, sometimes intermittent, often seemingly constant, that seemed to presage all sorts of dire infirmities. (Given these signs, one can understand how, as far back as the seventeenth century-in the notes of contemporary physicians, and in the perceptions of John Dryden and others—a connection is made between melancholia and hypochondria; the words are often interchangeable, and so were used until the nineteenth century by writers as various as Sir Walter Scott and the Brontes, who also linked melancholy to a preoccupation with bodily ills.) It is easy to see how this condition is part of the psyche’s apparatus of defense: unwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects—not the precious and irreplaceable mind—that is going haywire. In my case, the overall effect was immensely disturbing, augmenting the anxiety that was by now never quite absent from my waking hours and fueling still another strange behavior pattern—a fidgety recklessness that kept me on the move, somewhat to the perplexity of my family and friends.
…By now I had moved back to my house in Connecticut. It was October, and one of the unforgettable features of this stage of my disorder was the way in which my own farmhouse, my beloved home for thirty years, took on for me at that point when my spirits regularly sank to their nadir an almost palpable quality of ominousness. The fading evening light—akin to that famous “slant of light” of Emily Dickinson’s, which spoke to her of death, of chill extinction—had none of its familiar autumnal loveliness, but ensnared me in a suffocating gloom. I wondered how this friendly place, teeming with such memories of (again in her words) “Lads and Girls,” of “laughter and ability and Sighing,/ And frocks and Curls,” could almost perceptibly seem so hostile and forbidding. Physically, I was not alone. As always Rose was present and listened with unflagging patience to my complaints. But I felt an immense and aching solitude. I could no longer concentrate during those afternoon hours, which for years had been my working time, and the act of writing itself, becoming more and more difficult and exhausting, stalled, then finally ceased.”

 
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

Continue reading “William Styron, Sophie van der Stap, N. P. van Wyk Louw, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata”

William Styron, Sophie van der Stap, N. P. van Wyk Louw, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: The Confessions of Nat Turner

“I suppose the truth is simply that it was possible for benefits like these to accrue only to a Negro lucky enough to remain in the poor but relatively benign atmosphere of Virginia. For here in this worn-out country with its decrepit little farms there was still an ebb and flow of human sympathy—no matter how strained and imperfect—between slave and master, even an understanding (if sometimes prickly) intimacy; and in this climate a black man had not yet become the cipher he would become in the steaming fastnesses of the far South but could get off in the woods by himself or with a friend, scratch his balls and relax and roast a stolen chicken over an open fire and brood upon women and the joys of the belly or the possibility of getting hold of a jug of brandy, or pleasure himself with thoughts of any of the countless tolerable features of human existence.”
(…)

“I reckon even you didn’t know the actual statistics, hiding out until now like you done. But in the three days and nights that your campaign lasted you managed to hasten fifty-five white people into early graves, not counting a score or so more fearfully wounded or disabled—hors de combat, as the Frenchies say, for the rest of their natural lives. And only God knows how many poor souls will be scarred in their minds by grief and by terrible memories until the day they part this life. No,” he went on, breaking off a black wad from a plug of chewing tobacco, “no, I’ll have to hand it to you, in many respects you was pretty thorough. By sword and ax and gun you run a swath through this county that will be long remembered. You did, as you say, come damn near to taking your army into this town. And in addition, as I think I told you before, you scared the entire South into a condition that may be described as well-nigh shitless. No niggers ever done anything like this.”

 
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)
In 1967

Continue reading “William Styron, Sophie van der Stap, N. P. van Wyk Louw, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata”

William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata, Athol Fugard

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: Darkness Visible

“When I was aware that I had been laid low by the disease, I felt a need, among other things, to register a strong protest against the word “depression.” Depression, most people know, used to be termed ‘melancholia,” a word which appears in English as early as the year 1305 and crops up more than once in Chaucer, who in his usage seemed to be aware of its pathological nuances. “Melancholia” would still appear to be a far more apt and evocative word for the blacker forms of this disorder, but it was usurped by a noun with a bland tonality and lacking any magisterial presence, used indifferently to describe an economic decline or a rut in the ground, a true wimp of a word for such a major illness. It may be that the scientist generally held responsible for its currency in modern times, a Johns Hopkins Medical School faculty member justly venerated—the Swiss-born Adolf Meyer—had a tin ear for the finer rhythms of English and therefore was unaware of the semantic damage he had inflicted by offering “Depression” as a descriptive noun for such a dreadful and raging disease. Nonetheless, for over seventy-five years the word had slithered innocuously through the language like a slug, leaving little trace of its intrinsic malevolence and preventing, by its very insipidity, a general awareness of the horrible intensity of the disease when out of control.
As one who has suffered from the malady in extremis yet returned to tell the tale, I would lobby for a truly arresting designation. “Brainstorm,” for instance, has unfortunately been preempted to describe, somewhat jocularly, intellectual inspiration. But something along these lines is needed. Told that someone’s mood disorder has evolved into a storm—a veritable howling tempest in the brain, which is indeed what a clinical depression resembles like nothing else—even the uninformed layman might display sympathy rather than the standard reaction that ‘depression” evokes, something akin to So what?” pr “You’ll pull out of it” or “We all have bad days. The phrase “nervous breakdown” seems on its way out, certainly deservedly so, owing to its insinuation of a vague spinelessness, but we still seem destined to be saddled with “depression” until a better, sturdier name is created.”

 
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

Continue reading “William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata, Athol Fugard”

William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: Sophies keuze (Vertaald door Wim Dielemans)

Mijn hart raakte altijd even van slag en ik voelde me misselijk worden, wanneer Wanda het over wapens had, of over geheime ontmoetingen, of wat verder maar met gevaar te maken had, of met de mogelijkheid door de Duitsers opgepakt te worden. Gepakt worden als je joden hielp, betekende de dood, weet je. Ik werd dan helemaal klam en slap – o, ik was zo’n lafaard! Ik hoop dat Wanda nooit iets van die symptomen gemerkt heeft, en als ik er last van had, vroeg ik me soms af of lafheid misschien niet één van die dingen was die ik van mijn vader had geërfd.”
(…)

“Sophie herinnerde zich nog dat de adem van de Gestapo-agent naar kaas had geroken, en ook de woorden die hij had gesproken, terwijl het mes de bil van wat tot voor kort een tevreden varken was geweest binnendrong. ‘Waarom zeg je niet “Au”, Liebchen?’ In haar angst was ze tot niet meer in staat geweest dan het stamelen van een wanhopig gemeenplaats, hetgeen werd beloond met een compliment wegens de voortreffelijkheid van haar Duits.”

 
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

Continue reading “William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Yasunari Kawabata”

William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Athol Fugard, Yasunari Kawabata

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

 

Uit: Sophie’s Choice

„Sometime during my thirties the nickname and I mysteriously parted company, Stingo merely evaporating like a wan ghost out of my existence, leaving me indifferent to the loss. But Stingo I still was during this time about which I write. If, however, it is perplexing that the name is absent from the earlier part of this narrative, it may be understood that I am describing a morbid and solitary period in my life when, like the crazy hermit in the cave on the hill, I was rarely called by any name at all.

I was glad to be shut of my job–the first and only salaried position, excluding the military, of my life–even though its loss seriously undermined my already modest solvency. Also, I now think it was constructive to learn so early in life that I would never fit in as an office worker, anytime, anywhere. In fact, considering how I had so coveted the job in the first place, I was rather surprised at the relief, indeed the alacrity, with which I accepted my dismissal only five months later. In 1947 jobs were scarce, especially jobs in publishing, but a stroke of luck had landed me employment with one of the largest publishers of books, where I was made “junior editor”–a euphemism for manuscript reader. That the employer called the tune, in those days when the dollar was much more valuable tender than it is now, may be seen in the stark terms of my salary–forty dollars a week. After withholding taxes this meant that the anemic blue check placed on my desk each Friday by the hunchbacked little woman who managed the payroll represented emolument in the nature of a little over ninety cents an hour. But I had not been in the least dismayed by the fact that these coolie wages were dispensed by one of the most powerful and wealthy publishers in the world; young and resilient, I approached my job–at least at the very beginning–with a sense of lofty purpose; and besides, in compensation, the work bore intimations of glamour: lunch at “21,” dinner with John O’Hara, poised and brilliant but carnal-minded lady writers melting at my editorial acumen, and so on.“

 

William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

Continue reading “William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson, Athol Fugard, Yasunari Kawabata”

William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson

De Amerikaanse schrijver William Styron werd op 11 juni 1925 in Newport News in de staat Virginia geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 11 juni 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor William Styron op dit blog.

Uit: Sturz in die Nacht

(Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, vertaald door Willy Winkler)

 “In Paris, an einem kalten Abend Ende Oktober 1985, wurde mir zum ersten Mal voll bewusst, dass der Kampf mit meiner psychischen Störung – ein Kampf, der mich schon seit einigen Monaten in Anspruch nahm – tödlich ausgehen könnte. Das war mir in dem Augenblick klar, als das Auto, in dem ich saß, eine vom Regen glänzende Straße in der Nähe der ChampsÉlysées hinabfuhr und an einem matt leuchtenden Neonschild mit der Aufschrift HÔTEL WASHINGTON vorbeiglitt. Beinah fünfunddreißig Jahre war es her, seit ich das Hotel gesehen hatte, als es im Frühjahr 1952 für einige Nächte meine erste Unterkunft in Paris gewesen war. Während der ersten Monate meines »Wanderjahrs « war ich im Zug von Kopenhagen nach Paris gekommen und dank der nachdrücklichen Laune eines New Yorker Reisebüroangestellten im Hôtel Washington gelandet.

Damals war das Hotel eine der vielen feuchten, anspruchslosen Herbergen für vorwiegend amerikanische Touristen, die nur über sehr bescheidene Mittel verfügten, dafür aber, wenn

sie wie ich reagierten und zum ersten Mal aufgeregt mit den Franzosen und ihren komischen

Gepflogenheiten in Berührung kamen, nie vergessen würden, wie das exotische Bidet, unverrückbar

an seinem Platz im tristen Schlafzimmer, zusammen mit der Toilette am anderen Ende des schwach beleuchteten Flurs buchstäblich den Abgrund zwischen der gallischen und der angelsächsischen Kultur definierte.

Im Washington war ich allerdings nur kurz geblieben: Innerhalb weniger Tage hatten mich

neugewonnene junge amerikanische Freunde zum Auszug überredet und mich in einem noch schäbigeren, dafür aber bei weitem pittoreskeren Hotel am Montparnasse in nächster Nähe von Le

Dôme und anderen, einem Literaten angemessenen Lokalen untergebracht. (Ich war Mitte zwanzig, hatte soeben meinen ersten Roman veröffentlicht und war eine Berühmtheit, allerdings eine recht bescheidene, weil nur sehr wenige in Paris lebende Amerikaner von meinem Buch gehört, geschweige denn es gelesen hatten.) Und im Lauf der Jahre verschwand das Hôtel Washington

allmählich aus meinem Bewusstsein.”

   


William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)

Continue reading “William Styron, Renée Vivien, Jean-Pierre Chabrol, Sophie van der Stap, Ben Jonson”