"“Much Madness is divinest Sense / To a discerning Eye,” wrote the belle of Amherst. The sentiment is borne out in this exhibition, which asks us to consider the manuscripts of two intense and deeply private writers as drawings and not merely as drafts. Dickinson wrote in a gawky, widely kerned hand, often on a diagonal, on envelopes and ledger pages. Walser, a Swiss modernist, favored a micrographic variant of the antique Prussian script known as Sütterlin, and fit entire stories into a square inch or less on calling cards and telegrams. The curator Claire Gilman’s contention that these writings have value as art objects is stronger in Walser’s case than in Dickinson’s, but the show argues persuasively that the literature of both authors attained its power, in part, through the formal constraints of the pencil and the page." - The New Yorker
Image: Emily Dickinson, We Talked With Each Other About Each Other, c. 1879, Amherst Manuscript #514. Pencil on Envelope, 1 sheet, 5 1/10 x 7 9/10 inches (13 x 20 cm). Courtesy The Emily Dickinson Collection, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.
“There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened. There are things I remember which may never have happened but as I recall them so they take place.”—Harold Pinter, Old Times
“A lot of our ideas about what we can do at different ages and what age means are so arbitrary — as arbitrary as sexual stereotypes. I think that the young-old polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people. The values associated with youth and with masculinity are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you’re young and what you can do when you’re old is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man.”—
“… no part of her moving… that she could feel… just the eyelids… presumably… on and off… shut out the light… reflex they call it… no feeling of any kind… but the lids… even best of times… who feels them?… opening… shutting… all that moisture…”—Samuel Beckett, Not I
“Pleasant alone and watch the folding light. My animals are quiet. My heart never bangs. I read in the evenings. There is no-one to tell me what is expected or not expected of me. There is nothing required of me.”—Harold Pinter, Silence
“And while saying to myself that time was running out, and that soon it would be too late, was perhaps too late already, to settle the matter in question, I felt myself drifting towards other cares, other phantoms.”—Samuel Beckett, Molloy