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Notebooks: Selections from the A.M. Klein Papers

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 290
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The fiction, criticism, and memoirs collected here focus on Klein's exploration of the role of the artist.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2313-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xx)

    The present volume consists of a selection of prose writings from the literary manuscripts in the A.M. Klein Papers at the National Archives of Canada. These manuscripts, whose dates of composition range mainly from the early forties to the mid-fifties, contain some of Klein’s most adventurous and accomplished writing. They also provide us with a fresh and, at times, surprising portrait of the poet in the final and most productive period of his career.

    The Klein Papers were acquired by the National Archives of Canada from Klein’s family in 1973. In addition to Klein’s literary manuscripts, the Papers include hundreds...

  4. Editorial Procedures
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  6. Biographical Chronology
    (pp. xxvii-2)
  7. From the ‘Raw Material’ File
    (pp. 3-50)

    Whatever I think, or imagine, is also something that happens to me. Not the least of the incidents of my life are my poems. Sentences, too, may constitute the adventures of the picaresque. The truth is, in fact, that with most people their careers are fulfilled mainly in their minds.

    This, of course, is not to underestimate the influence and the impact of the purely physical even upon the most spiritual of biographies. I, indeed, should be the last one to hold such a view. A toothache, to speak of the lesser inconveniences, can alter a Weltanschauung, and a world-philosophy...

  8. ‘Stranger and Afraid’
    (pp. 51-89)

    (Any resemblance between characters portrayed in this book and persons living or dead is purely accidental. It was not intended; if it has occurred, it is an act of God.)

    At last I have been granted the privilege of a pencil.

    It did not come without fasting.

    On the fourth day of hunger, when I was already beginning to regret my devotion to letters, the guards took me to the warden.

    Don’t you approve of our menu? he said.

    He was a witty warden.

    I did not reply. I thought I recognized the kind of question that’s bait; in any...

  9. Diary (1944)
    (pp. 90-94)

    Was supposed to meet Dave at W. Circle at 10 A.M. Hence arrived early but he was not there. Morning cold, and hall chilly. Finally Dave appeared. Had been at meeting where he was guest-speaker and was called upon to speak at 1 A.M. The local kibbudim had to be disposed of first; accordingly Dave spoke only to a head-table.

    Everything in readiness for convention – whole thing cut & dried. All the trouble expected from the conspirators – the implacable Bundists and the intransigent Poalei Zionists – did not materialize.

    Rubinstein in chair. Announced purpose of meeting, and called upon Albert Eaton...

  10. Diary (1945)
    (pp. 95-98)

    Had lunch with Dr. James at the University Club. A club right out of a cartoon in Punch, deep leather seats, trophies on the wall, lackey at the desk, heads in newspapers, and frigidity pervasive everywhere. One fogy seldom looks at the other, if he does, it is with fish-eyes, and as if he were seeing the man through water. Waited for the Dr. who arrived – a punctual man – at the first tick of one. So good to see you, he said, have you washed up? I had, so he went himself to the rear of the club to doff...

  11. ‘The Contemporary Poet’
    (pp. 99-102)
  12. ‘Marginalia’
    (pp. 103-124)

    Project:To discover the character of the poet’s initial gesture. At a given moment he is not within the poetic process; in the next moment he is, – how is the transition effected? What is the bridge that leads from the static to the dynamic? Is there a poetic attitude? If so, how is it struck?

    Medium of investigation: A study of first lines.

    Terrain of investigation: Palgrave’sGolden Treasury. Other anthologies, of course, may be used. Palgrave’s is chosen because it is more accessible and because it has acquired, if only through lapse of time, a certain classical character.


  13. ‘Towards a Psychoanalysis of G.M. Hopkins: The Art of the Rorschach’
    (pp. 125-128)

    Obviously one must reconcile oneself to the impossibility of the usual techniques of the questionnaire, the hypodermic needle, the couch, the electrodes.

    The first objective, therefore, must be to find among the ‘remains’ of the subject some materials which may have psychological implications. It is conceded that all creative writing has psychological significance; what one is seeking now is something which may substitute for the modes of investigation which the subject’s absence renders impossible.

    Materials: The poetry

    The letters

    The notebooks

    Some drawings.

    A study of the thought-sequences and mental-associations of the subject does not, considering his theme, promise to...

  14. Untitled Novel
    (pp. 129-141)

    The voice of God pronouncing the commandments was an especially created voice. – Philo of Alexandria

    The man articulated it, syllable by syllable, as if it were some mystic incantation; and Pimontel knew then that his decision had been made for him, that the word, the crossroad omen, which thrice in the past had augured a turning point in his life had again presented itself to announce, through its vocables of mingled harshness and fluidity, some new and as yet enigmatic advent.

    This sense of premonition, he assured himself, he could justly entertain. He had come a long way – had he...

  15. ‘The Golem’
    (pp. 142-181)

    On this twenty-second day of the month by the gentiles designated August, in the year by them numbered one thousand six hundred and nine, the which day, after our own true reckoninganno mundiis the eighteenth of Elul of the three hundred and sixty-ninth year of the Sixth Millenium, I, Sinai ben Issachar, aforetime scribe, secretary, and amanuensis to the erst deceased and deeply mourned rabbi, the Hohe Rabbi of Prague – O wound still open! – Rabbi Judah ben Bezalel Löw, having in piety and humbleness of spirit prepared myself to the accomplishing of the charge that the great Cabbalist,...

  16. Selected Notes and Fragments
    (pp. 182-190)

    1. Purple cheeks.

    2. Beggar – green face, and white eyes, like mouldy bread.

    3. Girl sitting on top of fellow’s neck reading book in his hand.

    4. Jew hanging on by his nose to hooks near window of a fish shop.

    5. Dog led by leash of bitch’s tail.

    6. Barber shop with red-white candy post; sun licking it.

    7. Women charioteers with hump in front and back, the dromedaries of the pack.

    8. Cafeteria – smoked meat sandwiches, fried udders, roasted briskets.

    9. Philosophers stirring tea the livelong day.

    10. Trees, men with wooden legs in need of a haircut....

  17. Abbreviations
    (pp. 193-194)
  18. Textual Notes
    (pp. 195-208)
  19. Explanatory Notes
    (pp. 209-254)
  20. Appendix: Klein’s Inventory of His Literary Manuscripts
    (pp. 255-260)