05-10-17

Václav Havel, Roberto Juarroz, Stig Dagerman, K.L. Poll, Flann O’,Brien, Denis Diderot, Charlotte Link, José Donoso, Sven Cooremans

 

De Tsjechische schrijver en politicus Václav Havel werd op 5 oktober 1936 in Praag geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Václav Havel op dit blog.

Uit:The Power of the Powerless (Vertaald door Paul Wilson)

A specter is haunting Eastern Europe: the specter of what in the West is called "dissent." This specter has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting. It was born at a time when this system, for a thousand reasons, can no longer base itself on the unadulterated, brutal, and arbitrary application of power, eliminating all expressions of nonconformity. What is more, the system has become so ossified politically that there is practically no way for such nonconformity to be implemented within its official structures.
Who are these so-called dissidents? Where does their point of view come from, and what importance does it have? What is the significance of the "independent initiatives" in which "dissidents" collaborate, and what real chances do such initiatives have of success? Is it appropriate to refer to "dissidents" as an opposition? If so, what exactly is such an opposition within the framework of this system? What does it do? What role does it play in society? What are its hopes and on what are they based? Is it within the power of the "dissidents"—as a category of subcitizen outside the power establishment—to have any influence at all on society and the social system? Can they actually change anything?
I think that an examination of these questions—an examination of the potential of the "powerless"—can only begin with an examination of the nature of power in the circumstances in which these powerless people operate.
Our system is most frequently characterized as a dictatorship or, more precisely, as the dictatorship of a political bureaucracy over a society which has undergone economic and social leveling. I am afraid that the term "dictatorship," regardless of how intelligible it may otherwise be, tends to obscure rather than clarify the real nature of power in this system. We usually associate the term with the notion of a small group of people who take over the government of a given country by force; their power is wielded openly, using the direct instruments of power at their disposal, and they are easily distinguished socially from the majority over whom they rule. One of the essential aspects of this traditional or classical notion of dictatorship is the assumption that it is temporary, ephemeral, lacking historical roots. Its existence seems to be bound up with the lives of those who established it. It is usually local in extent and significance, and regardless of the ideology it utilizes to grant itself legitimacy, its power derives ultimately from the numbers and the armed might of its soldiers and police. The principal threat to its existence is felt to be the possibility that someone better equipped in this sense might appear and overthrow it.”

 

 
Václav Havel (5 oktober 1936 – 18 december 2011)

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Nobelprijs voor Literatuur 2017 voor Kazuo Ishiguro

 

Nobelprijs voor Literatuur 2017 voor Kazuo Ishiguro

De Nobelprijs voor Literatuur 2017 is toegekend aan de Engels-Japanse schrijver Kazuo Ishiguro. Dat heeft de Zweedse Academie donderdag in Stockholm bekendgemaakt. Kazuo Ishiguro werd op 8 november 1954 geboren in Nagasaki. Zie ook mijn blog van 8 november 2009 en ook mijn blog van 8 november 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Kazuo Ishiguro op dit blog.

Uit: The Remains of the Day

“Strange beds have rarely agreed with me, and after only a short spell of somewhat troubled slumber, I awoke an hour or so ago. It was then still dark, and knowing I had a full day’s motoring ahead of me, I made an attempt to return to sleep. This proved futile, and when I decided eventually to rise, it was still so dark that I was obliged to turn on the electric light in order to shave at the sink in the corner. But when having finished I switched it off again, I could see early daylight at the edges of the curtains.
When I parted them just a moment ago, the light outside was still very pale and something of a mist was affecting my view of the baker’s shop and chemist’s shop opposite. Indeed, following the street further along to where it runs over the little round-backed bridge, I could see the mist rising from the river, obscuring almost entirely one of the bridge-posts. There was not a soul to be seen, and apart from a hammering noise echoing from somewhere distant, and an occasional coughing in a room to the back of the house, there is still no sound to be heard. The landlady is clearly not yet up and about, suggesting there is little chance of her serving breakfast earlier than her declared time of seven thirty.
Now, in these quiet moments as I wait for the world about to awake, I find myself going over in my mind again passages from Miss Kenton’s letter. Incidentally, I should before now have explained myself as regards my referring to ‘Miss Kenton’. ‘Miss Kenton’ is properly speaking ‘Mrs Benn’ and has been for twenty years. However, because I knew her at close quarters only during her maiden years and have not seen her once since she went to the West Country to become ‘Mrs Benn’, you will perhaps excuse my impropriety in referring to her as I knew her, and in my mind have continued to call her throughout these years. Of course, her letter has given me extra cause to continue thinking of her as ‘Miss Kenton’, since it would seem, sadly, that her marriage is finally to come to an end. The letter does not make specific the details of the matter, as one would hardly expect it to do, but Miss Kenton states unambiguously that she has now, in fact, taken the step of moving out of Mr Benn’s house in Helston and is presently lodging with an acquaintance in the nearby village of Little Compton.
It is of course tragic that her marriage is now ending in failure. At this very moment, no doubt, she is pondering with regret decisions made in the far-off past that have now left her, deep in middle age, so alone and desolate. And it is easy to see how in such a frame of mind, the thought of returning to Darlington Hall would be a great comfort to her. Admittedly, she does not at any point in her letter state explicitly her desire to return; but that is the unmistakable message conveyed by the general nuance of many of the passages, imbued as they are with a deep nostalgia for her days at Darlington Hall. Of course, Miss Kenton cannot hope by returning at this stage ever to retrieve those lost years, and it will be my first duty to impress this upon her when we meet. I will have to point out how different things are now – that the days of working with a grand staff at one’s beck and call will probably never return within our lifetime. But then Miss Kenton is an intelligent woman and she will have already realized these things. Indeed, all in all, I cannot see why the option of her returning to Darlington Hall and seeing out her working years there should not offer a very genuine consolation to a life that has come to be so dominated by a sense of waste.“

 

 
Kazuo Ishiguro (Nagasaki, 8 november 1954)