Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink
Uit: Levels of Life
“You put together two things that have not been put together before; and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Pilâtre de Rozier, the first man to ascend in a fire balloon, also planned to be the first to fly the Channel from France to England. To this end he constructed a new kind of aerostat, with a hydrogen balloon on top, to give greater lift, and a fire balloon beneath, to give better control. He put these two things together, and on the 15th of June 1785, when the winds seemed favourable, he made his ascent from the Pas-de-Calais. The brave new contraption rose swiftly, but before it had even reached the coastline, flame appeared at the top of the hydrogen balloon, and the whole, hopeful aerostat, now looking to one observer like a heavenly gas lamp, fell to earth, killing both pilot and co-pilot.
You put together two people who have not been put together before; and sometimes the world is changed, sometimes not. They may crash and burn, or burn and crash. But sometimes, something new is made, and then the world is changed. Together, in that first exaltation, that first roaring sense of uplift, they are greater than their two separate selves. Together, they see further, and they see more clearly.
Of course, love may not be evenly matched; perhaps it rarely is. To put it another way: how did those besieged Parisians of 1870-71 get replies to their letters? You can fly a balloon out from the Place St.-Pierre and assume it will land somewhere useful; but you can hardly expect the winds, however patriotic, to blow it back to Montmartre on a return flight. Various stratagems were proposed: for example, placing the return correspondence in large metal globes and floating them downstream into the city, there to be caught in nets. Pigeon post was a more obvious idea, and a Batignolles pigeon fancier put his dovecote at the authorities' disposal: a basket of birds might be flown out with each siege balloon, and return bearing letters. But compare the freight capacity of a balloon and a pigeon, and imagine the weight of disappointment. According to Nadar, the solution came from an engineer who worked in sugar manufacture. Letters intended for Paris were to be written in a clear hand, on one side of the paper, with the recipient's address at the top. Then, at the collecting station, hundreds of them would be laid side by side on a large screen and photographed. The image would be micrographically reduced, flown into Paris by carrier pigeon, and enlarged back to readable size..”
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)
Uit: The Fall of the House of Usher
“I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment of looking down within the tarn had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition—for why should I not so term it?—served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my mind a strange fancy—a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity—an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn—a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.
Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine, tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones.”
Edgar Allen Poe (19 januari 1809 – 7 oktober 1849)
Mark Damon en Vincent Price in de film House Of Usher, 1960
Uit: The Dew Breaker
« At one of the rest stops I bought a disposable camera and pointed it at him anyway. As usual, he protested, covering his face with both hands like a little boy protecting his cheeks from a slap. He didn’t want any more pictures taken of him for the rest of his life, he said, he was feeling too ugly.
"That’s too bad," Officer Bo offers at the end of my too lengthy explanation. "He speaks English, your daddy? Can he ask for directions, et cetera?"
"Yes," I say.
"Is there anything that might make your father run away from you, particularly here in Lakeland?" Manager Salinas asks. "Did you two have a fight?"
I had never tried to tell my father’s story in words before now, but my first completed sculpture of him was the reason for our trip: a three-foot mahogany figure of my father naked, kneeling on a half-foot-square base, his back arched like the curve of a crescent moon, his downcast eyes fixed on his very long fingers and the large palms of his hands. It was hardly revolutionary, rough and not too detailed, minimalist at best, but it was my favorite of all my attempted representations of my father. It was the way I had imagined him in prison.
The last time I had seen my father? The previous night, before falling asleep. When we pulled our rental car into the hotel’s hedge-bordered parking lot, it was almost midnight. All the restaurants in the area were closed. There was nothing to do but shower and go to bed.
"It’s like paradise here," my father had said when he’d seen our tiny room. It had the same orange-and-green wallpaper as Salinas’ office, and the plush emerald carpet matched the walls. "Look, Ka," he said, his deep, raspy voice muted with exhaustion, "the carpet is like grass under our feet.
He’d picked the bed closest to the bathroom, removed the top of his gray jogging suit, and unpacked his toiletries. Soon after, I heard him humming loudly, as he always did, in the shower.”
Edwidge Danticat (Port-au-Prince, 19 januari 1969)
Uit:The Talented Mr. Ripley
“No, thanks,”Tom said.
Mr. Greenleaf looked at Tom apologetically. “You’re the first of Richard’s friends who’s even been willing to listen.They all take the attitude that I’m trying to interfere with his life.”
Toni could easily understand that. “I certainly wish I could help,” he said politely. He remembered now that Dickie’s money came from a shipbuilding company. Small sailing boats. No doubt his father wanted him to come home and take over the family firm.Tom smiled at Mr. Greenleaf, meaninglessly, then finished his drink.Tom was on the edge of his chair, ready to leave, but the disappointment across the table was almost palpable. “Where is he staying in Europe?” Tom asked, not caring a damn where he was staying.
Scene uit de gelijknamige film met Matt Damon, Jude Law en Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1999
“In a town called Mongibello, south ofNapIes.There’s not even a library there, he tells me. Divides his time between sailing and painting. He’s bought a house there. Richard has his own income-nothing huge, but enough to live on in Italy, apparently.
Well, every man to his own taste, but I’m sure I can’t see the attractions of the place.” Mr. Greenleaf smiled bravely. “Can’t I offer you a drink, Mr. Ripley?” he asked when the waiter came with his scotch and soda.”
Patricia Highsmith (19 januari 1921 - 4 februari 1995)
Portret door Sarah Maddena, 2014
Uit:De korrel in de voor
“Toen Nelis Broens dien eersten morgen van October in de vroegte de koe kwam melken op Garvershof - de eenige, die er toentertijd nog over was - stond er de schuurpoort half open. Dat gebeurde wel meer. Als de meester in den nacht kwam thuisgezwaaid, sliep hij den meesten tijd daar in het hooi z'n roes uit. Maar anders dan gewoon was vandaag het geluid, dat van daarbinnen tot Nelis doordrong: geen snurken, maar steunen en reutelen. Hij kon niet laten de poort wijder open te stooten, en bij z'n blik naar binnen, kletterde hem van schrik de melkemmer uit de hand. Als een blok achterover lag de meester en zag hem aan met oogen zoo verwilderd, als wilde hij ‘hulp’ schreeuwen zonder 't meer te kunnen. Schuim stond hem op den mond en het diepe zwoegen begon weer opnieuw bij een stuiptrekking, die heel het logge lichaam doorvoer...
‘Moeder!... Moeder!...’ schreeuwde Jonge Nelis, - en terwijl de koe in den stal een vervaarlijk bulken aanhief, Tref uit z'n hok sprong en z'n bassen tot janken opdreef, - holde hij tusschen de uiteenstuivende kakelkippen het erf af, tusschen de linden van den Bult door, naar huis terug... ‘Gauw, gauw, - de meester ligt te sterven in de schuur...’
Moeder Plonia stond juist het fornuis op te rakelen om het koffiewater aan den kook te krijgen, den sjaal over het nachtjak, bloote voeten in de klompen. Ze liet de pook in het vuur steken. ‘God in den Hemel!’ riep ze, en mee drong ze Nelis al opzij in het deurgat.
Halfweg den Bult keerde ze zich al voortjagend nogeens om en gilde met heftige gebaren: ‘Dadelijk den Pastoor halen,... den dokter. - Alla dan toch!’
‘Ja, ja...’ Jonge Nelis kreeg weer beweging in z'n beenen en zette het op een loopen, met groote sprongen het steilste pad van den berg af... ‘Aan mij zal 't niet liggen!’ zweepte hij zichzelf voort.”
Marie Koenen (19 januari 1879 - 11 juli 1959)
„Wieder schlug der Hund im Park an. Diesmal dumpf, fast heulend.
Gleich darauf öffnete sich die geschweifte, dunkle, mit einer Schäferszene bemalte Mahagonitür, und der Herr Hofrat Kaspar Edler von Schirnding trat ein – wie gewöhnlich, wenn er zur Whistpartie ins Palais Elsenwanger kam, mit engen schwarzen Hosen angetan und den ein wenig rundlichen Leib in einen Biedermeiergehrock von hellem Braun aus wunderbar weichem Tuch gehüllt. Hastig wie ein Wiesel und ohne ein Wort zu verlieren, lief er auf einen Sessel zu, stellte seinen gradkrempigen Zylinderhut darunter auf den Teppich und küßte sodann der Gräfin zeremoniell die Hand zur Begrüßung.
"Warum er jetzt noch immer bellt?" brummte der Pinguin nachdenklich.
"Diesmal meint er den Brock", erläuterte die Gräfin Zahradka mit einem zerstreuten Blick auf Baron Elsenwanger.
"Herr Hofrat sehen so schweißbedeckt aus. Daß Sie sich nur nicht verkühlen!" rief dieser besorgt, machte eine Pause und krähte dann plötzlich in arienhaften Schwingungen in das finstere Nebenzimmer, das sich daraufhin wie durch Zauberschlag erhellte:
"Bo¸ena, Bo¸ena, Bo–schenaah, bitt' Sie, bring Sie, prosim, das Supperläh!"
Die Gesellschaft begab sich in den Speisesaal und nahm um den großen Eßtisch herum Platz.
Nur der Pinguin stolzierte steif an den Wänden entlang, betrachtete bewundernd, als sähe er sie heute zum erstenmal, die Kampfszenen zwischen David und Goliath auf den Gobelins und betastete die prachtvollen, geschweiften Maria-Theresia-Möbel mit Kennerhänden.“
Gustav Meyrink (19 januari 1868 – 4 december 1932)