Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14: Analects

Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14: Analects

Translated by Stuart Gilbert
With an Introduction by W. H. Auden
Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 622
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  • Book Info
    Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14: Analects
    Book Description:

    Grouped together in this book are several smaller volumes and plaquettes in which Valéry had published selections of his shorter prose writings: aphorisms, moral reflections, poetic observations, flashes of wit or fancy, even jokes-a variety of remarks and impressions, many of them first recorded in his Notebooks.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7209-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xviii)
    W. H. Auden

    To discuss literature written in any tongue other than one’s own is a questionable undertaking, but for an English-speaking writer to discuss a French writer borders on folly, for no two languages could be more different.

    To discover the essential and unique qualities of a language, one must go to its poetry for it is the poet, as Valery says, who attempts to remove all the noises from speech leaving only the sounds. The conventions of a poetry, its prosodic rules, the kinds of verbal ornamentation, rhymes, alliterations, etc., which it encourages or condemns can tell us much about the...

  4. Odds and Ends
    (pp. 1-156)

    Under a tide of whose sincerity the reader is free to form his own opinion, we have grouped four small miscellanies originally published separately:Notebook B 1910, Moralities, Literature, andAsides.

    Each contains, in the form of aphorisms, observations, comments, reflections, or flashes of fancy, a series of remarks or impressions that came to mind off and on over a lifetime and were recorded marginally in the course of other work, or were prompted by some incident under whose impact would flash forth some “truth” (more or less true).

    True is often used to describe the immediate effect produced by...

  5. Rhumbs
    (pp. 157-262)

    GENOA, town of cats. Dark corners.

    You can see it in process of being built, century by century, from the 13th to the 20th.

    A town completely visible, self-evident; always on easy terms with its sea and rocks, its slates and bricks and marble; but locked in an endless struggle with its mountain.

    American since Columbus.

    The stupendous boredom of incessant “works of art”—less felt at Genoa.

    Conical hills, dark green, capped with churches.

    Little apartment houses like small white teeth, pink babies’ rattles.

    Slopes at 450, cones and shadows.

    In the background Monte Fascie, pink and gray all...

  6. Analecta
    (pp. 263-326)

    At the invitation of certain amateurs of the unfinished, I here present in all their confusion, their scrappiness, their embryonic or sketchlike state as casual ideas, a few notions and observations recorded in my notebooks and memoranda.

    For thirty years I have been keeping a daily record of my ventures.

    I have a habit, the moment I get up, before the dawn, in that pure and pregnant hour of daybreak, midway between lamplight and sunlight, of jotting down all that comes into my mind, unsummoned. No notion of an outsider, of a possible reader, is present at these moments, and...

  7. Suite
    (pp. 327-366)

    Man’s great misfortune is that he has no organ, a sort of eye-lid or brake, to mask or block a thought, or all thought, when he wants to. Had he such an organ, the results would be strange indeed.

    But on the contrary, being what we are, the more we wantnotto think, the more we think, and the more we want to think, the more . . . , etc.

    I have noted in myself the rudiments of this queer faculty of inhibition. I have tried to abolish, directly, some particular thought. But nothing’s more restricted than the...

  8. Bad Thoughts and Not So Bad
    (pp. 367-526)

    Never forget that every mind is shaped by the most commonplace experiences. The mere fact of calling an event “commonplace” means it is one of those which have contributed most largely to the shaping of your fundamental notions. Over 99 per cent of the images and impressions that comprise your mental capital have no real value. And then remember that original ideas and novel viewpoints owe their prestige entirely to this background of banality which throws them into relief.

    The origin of the faculty of reason, or anyhow of our idea of it, may well be compromise. We are always...

  9. Mixture
    (pp. 527-542)

    Polydorus was depressed. He had been reading words that hurt and stung him, spoiled what he thought was people’s idea of him.

    Aeson met him, noticed something was wrong, and said:

    “You’re out of sorts. Eating well?”

    “Very well.”

    “Sleeping well?”

    “Not too badly.”

    “Your bowels?”

    “Quite in order.”

    “And . . . your love life?”

    “I believe I’m in love. And that it’s mutual.”

    “What a lucky man you are! All that’s wrong is that you don’t feel happy. A mere scrap of paper’s worrying you, while all that matters is as right as rain!”

    Man has only himself...

  10. Petites Etudes
    (pp. 543-558)

    Everyone at every moment is engaged in a tete-a-tete with his organism. Nothing and nobody intervenes; passing moods, the cares of life, the brightest ideas make no difference; one has to let the body have its say, in its own body language. At such moments you are concerned with a certain function or region of your body which asserts itself and by its instancy, by sudden feelings of unease, by way of pain or pleasure, voices its rights, takes charge, abolishes or distorts the outside world, cancels or expels all thoughts that do not reinforce its action or serve its...

  11. At Moments
    (pp. 559-588)

    Alongside my meditations workmen next door are thumping, banging away like devils, making my ideas jump with their damned hammer strokes, forcing rhythms on me. I picture a nail beginning to penetrate a plank, then being driven home—and I am hammer, nail, and wood.

    Someone else is chipping away at a stone, and I hear the brittle, silvery click of a chisel, jarring, jarred, at every stroke. Five seconds for each nail, and the hammer blows slow down, expanding, until the maximum sonority is reached when the nailhead is flush with the plank and the last blow strikes wood...

  12. Miscellanea
    (pp. 589-610)

    When reality is so hard, so lovely, that we cannot see it without losing our heads, we deny it with all our might—if for a moment we can break loose from it. And that denial corresponds exactly with waking from a dream—owing to the impossibility of enduring any longer what we see, the impossibility of continuing to be in that strange world of dazzling light.

    Laughter, too, is an awakening.

    Recoil, on one hand, and occlusion; on the other, opening-out, attraction. Irreconcilables! Waking is a suicide.

    Yet this escape has the air of a free choice. Nevertheless, it...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 611-622)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 623-623)