29-05-17

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton, Bernard Clavel, T. H. White, Hans Weigel, Alfonsina Storni

 

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

Uit: A dry white season

“I had never been so close to death before.
For a long time, as I lay there trying to clear my mind, I couldn't think coherently at all, conscious only of a terrible, blind bitterness. Why had they singled me out? Didn't they understand? Had everything I'd gone through on their behalf been utterly in vain? Did it really count for nothing? What had happened to logic, meaning and sense?
But I feel much calmer now. It helps to discipline oneself like this, writing it down to see it set out on paper, to try and weigh it and find some significance in it.
Prof Bruwer: There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against, Ben. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing.
I wanted to help. Right. I meant it very sincerely. But I wanted to do it on my terms. And I am white, and they are black. I thought it was still possible to reach beyond our whiteness and blackness. I thought that to reach out and touch hands across the gulf would be sufficient in itself. But I grasped so little, really: as if good intentions from my side could solve it all. It was presumptuous of me. In an ordinary world, in a natural one, I might have succeeded. But not in this deranged, divided age. I can do all I can for Gordon or scores of others who have come to me; I can imagine myself in their shoes, I can project myself into their suffering.
But I cannot, ever, live their lives for them. So what else could come of it but failure?
Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not -- and that would only serve to confirm my impotence -- I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world.
I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favored by the very circumstances I abhor“.

 

 
André Brink (29 mei 1935 - 6 februari 2015)
Hier met J.M. Coetzee (links)

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29-05-16

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton, Bernard Clavel, Leah Goldberg, T. H. White

 

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

Uit: De bidsprinkhaan (Vertaald door Rob van der Veer).

“Kupido Kakkerlak werd niet op de gewone manier uit zijn moeders lichaam geboren, maar uitgebroed uit de verhalen die ze vertelde. Deze verhalen namen vele vormen aan.
Volgens een ervan was zijn moeder een maagd, zo smal en dun als een leren riempje, en had iedereen pas in de gaten dat ze zwanger was toen de nietige boreling ter wereld kwam. In een andere versie was ze juist zichtbaar en kolossaal zwanger, een bizar lange tijd, wel drie tot vier jaar, voordat de berg een muis baarde. Afhankelijk van haar luim en de stand van de maan beweerde ze dat hij juist niet een kind van haar was, maar gewoon in haar hut was achtergelaten, pasgeboren en met de navelstreng nog aan de nageboorte, door een vreemdeling die toevallig ’s nachts voorbij was gekomen en wiens gezicht ze geen moment te zien had gekregen. (Het enige wat ze met zekerheid kon zeggen, was dat de vreemdeling anders dan zij geen contractarbeider was, maar ‘een vrij man’ die kon gaan en staan waar hij wou, net als de wind.) Van deze weergave was het maar een kippeneindje naar de uitspraak dat de bezoeker helemaal geen mens was geweest, maar een nachtloper, een van de soba khoin of schaduwmensen die bij de levenden komen spoken, of een fantoom uit een droom. Veel van haar toehoorders prefereerden de versie waarin Kupido de ene helft van een tweeling was geweest en ergens in het vrije veld was neergelegd omdat hij heel duidelijk de zwakste van het stel was, volgens de oeroude gewoonten van de Khoikhoi (oftewel de Hottentotten, zoals ze algemeen bekend waren aan het eind van de achttiende eeuw, toen dit alles gebeurde).
Op een gegeven moment, zo gaat het verhaal, dook er een bateleur uit de hemelen, een prachtige buitelarend uit de verre bergen, die het amper wriemelende wurm in zijn klauwen greep om het vervolgens te verliezen - of te laten vallen - op de manier waarop deze vogels een schildpad doden, een heel eind verderop, in de godverlaten, hoger gelegen streken van de Grote Karoo, bekend als de Koup, waar afstand alle betekenis verliest en slechts pure ruimte heerst. De baby kwam terecht op de schoot van een vrouw die daar op de vlakte zat te slapen, en toen ze wakker werd, was het kind er, en van haar. Het enige wat ze wist - hoe, dat zou niemand kunnen zeggen - was dat de arend ooit eens weerom zou komen om het schepseltje mee terug te nemen naar waar hij vandaan gekomen was.”

 

 
André Brink (29 mei 1935 - 6 februari 2015)

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13-12-15

Joseph (G. K. Chesterton)

 

Bij de derde zondag van de Advent

 


De droom van Sint Jozef door Philippe de Champaigne, 1642-43

 

 

Joseph

If the stars fell; night’s nameless dreams
Of bliss and blasphemy came true,
If skies were green and snow were gold,
And you loved me as I love you;

O long light hands and curled brown hair,
And eyes where sits a naked soul;
Dare I even then draw near and burn
My fingers in the aureole?

Yes, in the one wise foolish hour
God gives this strange strength to a man.
He can demand, though not deserve,
Where ask he cannot, seize he can.

But once the blood’s wild wedding o’er,
Were not dread his, half dark desire,
To see the Christ-child in the cot,

The Virgin Mary by the fire?

 

 

 
G. K. Chesterton (29 mei 1874 - 14 juli 1936)
Trafalgar Square, Londen in kersttijd. G. K. Chesterton werd geboren in Londen

 

 

Zie voor de schrijvers van de 13e december ook mijn vorige twee blogs van vandaag.

12:55 Gepost door Romenu in Literatuur | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: advent, g. k. chesterton, romenu |  Facebook |

29-05-15

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton, Bernard Clavel, Leah Goldberg, T. H. White

 

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. André Brink overleed op 6 februari jongstleden. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

Uit: A Fork in the Road

“It was in the late afternoon of a blue and golden late summer’s day, Thursday 18 April, 1963, that Ingrid walked into my ordered existence and turned it upside down. Until that moment I was ensconced in an ultimately predictable life as husband and father, lecturer in literature; dreaming about a future as a writer after the early surprising shock of a novel, Lobola vir die lewe (Dowry for Life) that caught the Afrikaans literary establishment unprepared, but painfully aware of the claims and the curtailments of domesticity, the threat of bourgeois complacency, of being a small fish in a small pond. And afterwards? A world in which nothing would ever be sure and safe again, and in which everything, from the most private to the public, from love to politics, was to be exposed to risk and uncertainty and danger.
We were in the dusky, dusty front room of the rambling old house in Cheviot Place, Green Point, were Jan and Marjorie lived, perhaps the only truly bohemian artist’s house in the Cape – a group of writers gathered to plan a protest against the new censorship bill which was then taking shape in parliament. Several of us had already launched individual attacks on the proposed onslaught on the arts sponsored by a prominent right-wing parliamentarian, Abraham Jonker, whose own early forays into realist fiction had failed to live up to their initial promise, and who had become notorious for proclaiming that even Shakespeare could do with some censoring. But it was now time for organised resistance on a larger scale. The discussion was energetic and passionate, but there was nothing yet to mark the day as exceptional.
And then she came in, small and quiet, but tense, her blonde curly hair unruly, her dark eyes guarded but smouldering. The daughter of the would-be chief censor, Abraham Jonker. She was wearing a white, loose man’s shirt several sizes too big for her, and tight green pants, a size or two too small. She was smoking. Her bare feet were narrow and beautiful. I would never again meet a woman without looking at her feet.”

 

 
André Brink (29 mei 1935 - 6 februari 2015)

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29-05-14

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton, Bernard Clavel, Leah Goldberg, T. H. White

 

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

Uit: The blue door

“She is already in bed when I arrive, lying on her side, reading, her back turned to me, the outline of her body gracefully traced by the sheet, one smooth brown shoulder exposed.
But it is quite an obstacle course before I get there. First there is the bathroom. Automatically I go to the one where I bathed the children, but it is immediately evident that this is meant for the children only, or possibly for guests. Playing Blind Man’s Buff, I have to feel my way along the main passage where the lights have already been turned off, past the bedroom where the children have been tucked up for the night, towards a glimmer halfway to the left. From the passage door I can see another door leading from the bedroom, to my right, opposite the bed. To my great relief it turns out to be the en-suite bathroom. But this is by no means the end of my problems. I decide to spend a few minutes under the shower first: although I have already had a bath with the children, that was a rather hurried affair, and furthermore I need time to reflect on my immediate challenges. Which of the two toothbrushes – one blue, one red – am I supposed to use, which towel is mine? And afterwards, should I proceed to the bedroom naked, or with a towel around my waist, or wearing pyjamas? (Which will be where?)
In the end I decide not to aggravate the situation by wondering about what her expectations may be but simply to follow my inclination, doing what comes naturally to me.
So I am naked when I come into the bedroom and furtively slide in behind her back, trying to hide the evidence of my state of anticipation.
She glances over her shoulder and says, ‘Oh.’ Which may mean anything.
Fortunately there is a pile of books beside the lamp on what I take to be my bedside table, and I take the top one to page through. It is Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World. I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time, but something has always intervened. Perhaps this is as good an opportunity as any of getting through it. But I soon put it down, all too aware of the gentle undulation of the woman’s body next to me.”

 

 
André Brink (Vrede, 29 mei 1935)
Hier met Salman Rushdie (rechts)

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29-05-13

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton, Bernard Clavel, Leah Goldberg

 

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.

 

Uit: Philida

 

“Here come shit. Just one look, and I can see it coming. Here I walk all this way and God know that is bad enough, what with the child in the abbadoek on my back, and now there's no turning back, it's just straight on to hell and gone. This is the man I got to talk to if I want to lay a charge, they tell me, this Grootbaas who is so tall and white and thin and bony, with deep furrows in his forehead, like a badly ploughed wheat field, and a nose like a sweet potato that has grown past itself.
It's a long story. First he want to find out everything about me, and it's one question after another. Who am I? Where do I come from? What is the name of my Baas? What is the name of the farm? For how long I been working there? Did I get a pass for coming here? When did I leave and how long did I walk? Where did I sleep last night? What do I think is going to happen to me when I get home again? And every time I say something, he first write it down in his big book with those knobbly hands and his long white fingers. These people got a thing about writing everything down. Just look at the back pages of the black Bible that belong to Oubaas Cornelis Brink, that's Francois Gerhard Jacob's father.
While the Grootbaas is writing I keep watching him closely. There's something second-hand about the man, like a piece of knitting gone wrong that had to be done over, but badly, not very smoothly. I can say that because I know about knitting. On his nose sit a pair of thick glasses like a bat with open wings, but he look at me over them, not through them. His long hands keep busy all the time. Writing, and dipping the long feather in the ink, and sprinkling fine sand on the thick paper, and shifting his papers this way and that on top of the table that is really too low for him because he is so tall. He is sitting, I keep standing, that is how it's got to be.

In the beginning I feel scared, my throat is tight. But after the second or third question I start feeling better. All I can think of is: If it was me that was knitting you, you'd look a bit better, but now whoever it was that knitted you, did not cast you off right. Still, I don't say anything. In this place it's only him and me and I don't want to get on his wrong side. I got to tell him everything, and that is exactly what I mean to do today, without keeping anything back.”

 

 

 

André Brink (Vrede, 29 mei 1935)

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