13-01-16

Edmund White, Daniel Kehlmann, Jay McInerney, Lorrie Moore, Jan de Bas, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh, Clark Ashton Smith

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Edmund White werd geboren op 13 januari 1940 in Cincinnati. Zie ook alle tags voor Edmund White op dit blog.

Uit: The Farewell Symphony

“I'd been afraid I wouldn't feel anything when Brice finally died-but my body did all the feeling for me. It took over. My knees buckled, I lost my balance, tears spurted from my eyes. I staggered in the sunlight and nearly fell and had to be held up by Laurent and his lover.
Everything I'd lived through in the last five years had changed me-whitened my hair, made me a fat, sleepy old man, matured me, finally, but also emptied me out. I met Brice five years before he died-but I wonder whether I'll have the courage to tell his story in this book. The French call a love affair a "story," une histoire, and I see getting to it, putting it down, exploring it, narrating it as a challenge I may well fail. If I do fail, don't blame me. Understand that even writers, those professional exhibitionists, have their moments of reticence.
Strange that I should be living here, in Paris. Ever since I'd been a child, an imaginary Paris had been the bright planet pulsing at the heart of my mental star map, but the one time I'd gone to Paris I had been dressed in a horrible shiny blazer and everyone in the cafés had laughed at me. I said to a French acquaintance as we left the Flore, "I know I'm being paranoid," but he said matter-of-factly, "No, they are laughing at you."
A sign in the tailor shop window off the Boulevard St.-Germain warned that customers would not be allowed more than three fittings after the purchase of a suit and my mind winced at this proof of shameless male vanity, so exotic to an American since Americans equated male vanity with effeminacy or Mafia creepiness. The year was 1968 and stylish young American men back home were wearing fringe and puffy-sleeved pirate shirts, headbands, mirrored vests and winklepicker boots, but the materials were synthetic, the colors garish, the fit very approximate and the mood one of dressing up. Orange and black were popular colors. The long Mardi Gras of that decade in the States was a mockery of traditional good taste, a send-up of adult propriety, the recklessness of a generation that would never settle down long enough to study the fine gradations with which quality, and especially beauty, begin. And if the mood was festive, the festivity seemed more a gesture defying parental drabness than an assertion of a new-born hedonism. A true search for pleasure is an exacting science and is born from a profound interest in raglan versus fitted sleeves and in the precise arc a weighted hem on the bias will describe."

 

 
Edmund White (Cincinnati, 13 januari 1940)
Hier met partner Michael Carroll (links)

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13-01-15

Edmund White, Daniel Kehlmann, Jay McInerney, Lorrie Moore, Jan de Bas, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh, Clark Ashton Smith

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Edmund White werd geboren op 13 januari 1940 in Cincinnati. Zie ook alle tags voor Edmund White op dit blog.

Uit: City Boy

“I had constant daydreams of meeting Susan Sontag and Paul Goodman. I don't know why I focused on them — maybe because they were so often mentioned in the Village Voice and the Partisan Review but even by Time. He'd written Growing Up Absurd, the bible of the sixties, now largely forgotten (I never read it in any event). How could I have worshipped a man whose work I didn't know? I guess because I'd heard that he was bisexual, that he was a brilliant therapist, and that he was somehow for the young and the liberated. I read his astonishing journal, Five Years, published in 1966, a groundbreaking book in which he openly discussed paying men for sex and enjoying anonymous sex in the meatpacking district. Today that would seem unremarkable, perhaps, but for a husband and a father back then to be so confi ding, so shameless, was unprecedented, especially since the sex passages were mixed in with remarks on culture and poetry and a hundred other subjects.
Sontag was someone I read more faithfully, especially Against Interpretation and even individual essays as they were published.
New York, in short, in the seventies was a junkyard with serious artistic aspirations. I remember that one of our friends, the poet Brad Gooch, wanted to introduce us to his lover, who'd become an up-and-coming Hollywood director, but Brad begged him not to tell us that he worked as a director since Hollywood had such low prestige among us. That sort of reticence would be unthinkable today in a New York that has become enslaved by wealth and glitz, but back then people still embraced Ezra Pound's motto, "Beauty is difficult."
We kept asking in 1972 and 1973 when the seventies were going to begin . . .
Then again we had to admit the sixties hadn't really begun until the Beatles came over to the States in 1964, but after that the decade took on a real, definite personality — protest movements, long hair, love, drugs, a euphoria that turned sour only toward the end of 1969. Of course for Leftists the decade began with the Brown v. Board of Education decision and ended with Nixon's resignation in 1974.”

 

 
Edmund White (Cincinnati, 13 januari 1940)
Cover

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13-01-14

Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh

 

De Iraanse schrijver Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh Esfahani werd geboren op 13 januari 1892 in Isfahan. De datum van zijn geboorte is onzeker; jaren tussen 1892-1896 worden genoemd en tegen het eind van zijn leven was zelfs hij zelf niet zeker van het werkelijke jaar. Het jaar 1895 wordt wel van oudsher gezien als het jaar van zijn geboorte. Jamalzadeh 's vader, Sayyed Jamal ad-Din Esfahani, was een progressieve mullah en prediker die revolutionair werd en die woedende preken hield die zijn zoon inspireerden, maar die hem zelf zijn leven kostten: hij werd geëxecuteerd in 1908 op bevel van van Mohammad - Ali Shah Qajar die hem als de meest gevaarlijke van zijn vijanden beschouwde. De jonge Jamalzadeh woonde slechts tot hij twaalf of dertien was in Iran. Daarna woonde hij in Libanon, waar hij de Aintoura Catholic School bezocht (1908 ) in de buurt van Beiroet, in Frankrijk (1910) en in Zwitserland, waar hij rechtenstudeerde aan de Universiteit van Lausanne, later voortgezet aan de Universiteit van Bourgondië in Dijon, Frankrijk. Na de dood van zijn vader nam het leven van Jamalzadeh een tragische wending, maar dankzij steun van vrienden en af en toe betaald werk als leraar, overleefde hij. Tegen de tijd van de Eerste Wereldoorlog werd hij lid van een groep Iraanse nationalisten in Berlijn en, in 1915, richtte hij een krant (Rastakhiz ) op voor deze groep in Bagdad. In deze periode werkte hij ook voor het tijdschrift Kaveh (1916). In 1917 publiceerde hij zijn eerste boek “Ganj -e Shaye-gan (Eng: The Worthy Treasure). In hetzelfde jaar vertegenwoordigde hij de nationalisten op het Wereldcongres van de socialisten in Stockholm. In zijn latere jaren, tot 1931, toen hij zich in Genève vestige en werkte voor de Internationale Arbeidsorganisatie, had hij slechts tijdelijke dienstverbanden, zoals aan de Iraanse ambassade in Berlijn. Gedurende al deze jaren had Jamalzadeh weinig contact met Iran. Maar dat belette hem om op zijn eigen houtje Perzisch te leren. Op basis van zijn karige ervaringen, opgedaan op jonge leeftijd, schreef hij over het leven van de hedendaagse Iraniërs. Zijn preoccupatie met het taalgebruik en zijn Dickensiaanse stijl van schrijven, inclusief herhalingen, het opstapelen van bijvoeglijke naamwoorden, herinnerde de lezer aan Jamalzadehs achtergrond. Jamalzadehs belangrijkste werk "Yeki Bud yeki Nabud" (Eng: Once Upon a Time), gepubliceerd in 1921 in Berlijn bereikte Iran pas een jaar later, en toen het gebeurde werd het niet gunstig ontvangen. Het publiek, vooral de geestelijkheid, verafschuwde Jamalzadehs uitbeelding van het land in die mate dat exemplaren van het boek op de openbare pleinen werden verbrand. Deze vijandige reactie van het publiek beïnvloedde Jamalzadeh zozeer dat hij zich twintig jaar onthield van alle literaire activiteiten. Hij begon in de jaren 1940 opnieuw te schrijven, maar tegen die tijd was de vorm niet meer nieuw, waren zijn ideeën niet meer origineel en had hij zijn bijtende gevoel voor humor verloren. Naast het Perzisch sprak en schreef Jamalzadeh Frans, Duits en Arabisch. Hij vertaalde vele boeken uit deze talen in het Perzisch. Gezien zijn enorme invloed op het Perzische korte verhaal, wordt hij vaak aangeduid als de vader van dit genre in Iran .

Uit: Persian Is Sugar (Vertaald door Iraj Bashiri)

 “In no other place on the face of the earth but in Iran are saints and sinners treated alike. Finally, after five long years of suffering and homelessness, I was returning home. In fact, before actually setting eyes on the sacred land of Iran from high up on the deck, I could hear the Gilaki songs of the Anzali boatmen singing "balamjan, balamjan." Soon after, the ship anchored and we were transferred to the shore in boats. There, each boat was surrounded by those same boatmen as well as many others, in the same manner that a dead locust would be surrounded by an army of ants. Every passenger was hassled by several boatsmen, oarsmen, or porters. My situation was worse than the rest of the passengers because the others were generally businessmen from Baku and Rasht, wearing traditional long robes and short hats. Additionally, they were known to be tightwads whose purse strings were not likely to be loosened up even when threatened by either club wielders or bludgeon holders. They would rather die than allow anyone but themselves to see the color of their money. Wretched me, on the other hand, had not had a chance even to change my derby hat, which I had been wearing since I left Europe. Taking me for a wealthy Haji's son and a spendthrift, chanting "Sahib, Sahib," they surrounded me. Each piece of my luggage became a bone of contention among several mean porters and lowly boatmen.
The commotion that the arrival of the ship had created knew no end. Bewildered and flabbergasted, I viewed the scene, all the while trying to figure out a way by which I could escape the clutches of these marauders. But the worse was yet to come. Two gruff passport inspectors with irascible faces emerged from among the crowd. They were flanked by several morose and stern government agents in red uniforms with hats that carried the sun-and-lion emblem. The one inspecting my passport frowned. Then he acted as if he had just heard the news of the assassination of the king or had received the irreversible decree of the Angel of Death. Taking his eyes off the passport momentarily, he looked me up and down, as if measuring me for a new suit. Finally he said, "What is this? Are you Iranian?"

 

 
Mohammad- Ali Jamālzādeh (13 januari 1892 - 8 november 1997)

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