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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Like a Dog

Went along to a Geoffrey Hill poetry reading the other day. I noticed he pronounced Simone Weil’s surname ‘vie’ (to rhyme with ‘by’). I remember having it on the authority of someone who had met her brother that it was ‘way’ (with due allowance for French vowels). Wikipedia says ‘vay’. Is it Weil that Gillian Rose (subject of a recent Hill poem) cites at the end of Love’s Work: ‘l’amour se révèle en se retirant’? (The line is disastrously mangled in my edition as ‘en se retirer’.)

Anyway, love, Weil on love. Love shows itself in withdrawing. Love is powerless: ‘Prendre puissance sur, c’est souiller, posséder, c’est souiller (…) L’amour n’exerce ni ne subit la force; c’est là l’unique pureté.

Love is abdication. God renounces being, shows his love for the world by withdrawing from it, and in return we must love him through renunciation and ‘decreation.’

Dieu a créé par amour, pour l’amour. Dieu n’a pas créé autre chose que l’amour même, et les moyens de l’amour.’

Love is an empty plenitude. I love you and walk away. I love you and never say so. I love you and we have never met.

Marina Tsvetaeva, who was hardly a model of connubial fidelity, wrote to her husband shortly before their disastrous return to Stalin’s Russia: ‘If you are alive I will follow you like a dog.’

The last words of Kafka’s Trial, ‘like a dog’.


richard lopez said...

cool, glad to know you. what's yr name so i can look up some of yr poems? or just drop me a line, okay.


yrs in the art,


John said...

I was told it was pronounced "Vay" too, but nobody knows who you're talking about until until you say "Wheel."

And don't get me started on the pronunciation of Walter Benjamin.

puthwuth said...

I've heard lots of people pronounce 'Akhmatova' with a stress on the o. Which is wrong.

Emil Cioran: See-oh-ron, Tchoran, Keeron... take your pick.

NaBOKEov, NABokov, NaBAWKov... again, take your pick.

Stephen Deddalus or Deedalus? There is evidence that Joyce said Deedalus.

Earwicker in Finnegans Wake should be pronounced Ericker.

People in the States pronounce Kavanagh KavaNAW.

Mark Granier said...

On my old Rory Gallagher Live In Europe album the guy introduced him as Rory Gal-Lag-Gur. When booking a taxi or restaurant I often don't bother to mispronounce my own Frenchy name (Granier) to make it easier to spell. Instead I just call myself Grainger.

John said...

Michael Palin in Romania the other week made himself understood by using Tchoran, so I imagine that's how they pronounce it there. How do the French say it? See-or-on?

Around the office, we perversely refer to Daedalus (the journal) as Day-da-lus.

And I've started to refer to carrots as ca-rots, with the emphasis on the second syllable. Just to amuse myself.

I was told "Valta Binyamin" was the correct pronunication of WB, but that was by a bloke in Salford, so who knows?