The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from March 2011

Two ways of thinking

March 31st, 2011 · No Comments

“It is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not fancy.” — Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ch. XIV (trans. Crawley)

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Tags: The Ancients · Thucydides

A neo-Socratic method

March 30th, 2011 · No Comments

“The best life is suspected, not examined.” — Kay Ryan, “Witness”

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Tags: Plato · The Ancients

There’s building and there’s growing

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

“Whereas aestheticians from Aristotle on have insisted that figurative language should redouble and underline the thrust of the anecdote, it turns out that exactly the opposite is what often appeals to us in great works of art, a strange and even mystical discrepancy between the natural drift of the story and the contradictory impulses of […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

Self-reflective opacity

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

“Insofar as we can treat a text as not referring to what is outside or beyond it, we more easily understand that it has internal relationships independent of the coding procedures by which we may find it transparent upon a known world.” — Kermode, “What Precisely Are the Facts?”, The Genesis of Secrecy

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Regarding Words of Manipulative Dissimulation

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

“We should never underestimate our predisposition to believe whatever is presented under the guise of an authoritative report and is also consistent with the mythological structure of a society from which we derive comfort, and which it may be uncomfortable to dispute.” — Kermode, “What Precisely Are the Facts?”, The Genesis of Secrecy

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Holiday resorting

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

This morning I posted another of my published stories, “Tahoe”, to this site.  “Tahoe” is a story that was a bit of a mess when I first wrote it, about ten or fifteen years ago.  I sent it around a bit and it got rejected a bit, until Christopher Chambers, the editor at New Orleans […]

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Tags: Verandah · Words

Just the facts, ma’am

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

“If so many causes act in concert to ensure that texts are from the beginning and sometimes indeterminately studded with interpretations; and if these texts in their very nature demand further interpretation and yet resist it, what should we expect when the document in question denies its own opacity by claiming to be a transparent […]

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Earthquake and tsunami (Humean constant conjunction)

March 26th, 2011 · No Comments

“The next summer the Peloponnesians and their allies set out to invade Attica under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, and went as far as the Isthmus, but numerous earthquakes occurring, turned back again without the invasion taking place. About the same time that these earthquakes were so common, the sea at Orobiae, in […]

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Tags: The Ancients · Thucydides

Saying it right

March 25th, 2011 · No Comments

“It don’t sound right if it ain’t said right.” — Bill Withers, Still Bill

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

What it takes

March 25th, 2011 · No Comments

“It takes very little to make a character: a few indications of idiosyncracy, of deviation from type, are enough, for our practiced eyes will make up the larger patterns of which such indications can be read as parts.” — Kermode, “Necessities of Upspringing”, The Genesis of Secrecy

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Why lawyers sometimes talk so much

March 25th, 2011 · No Comments

“Good deeds can be shortly stated, but where wrong is done a wealth of language is needed to veil its deformity.” — Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ch. X (trans. Crawley)

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Tags: The Ancients · Thucydides

Hotly off the block

March 24th, 2011 · No Comments

“Two things most opposed to good counsel are haste and passion; haste usually goes hand in hand with folly, passion with coarseness and narrowness of mind.” — Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Ch. IX (trans. Crawley)

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Tags: The Ancients · Thucydides

Historical appearances

March 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

“Sometimes it appears that the history of interpretation may be thought of as a history of exclusions, which enable us to seize upon [one] issue rather than on some other as central, and choose from the remaining mass only what seems most compliant.” — Kermode, “Carnal and Spiritual Senses”, The Genesis of Secrecy

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Removing the solids

March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

“We are always having to explain not the story, but why it counts.” — Kermode, “Instances of Interpretation”, The Art of Telling

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Forward, into the past

March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

“The emotion of art is impersonal. And the poet cannot reach this impersonality without surrendering himself wholly to the work to be done. And he is not likely to know what is to be done unless he lives in what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past, unless he is […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

Plus ca change

March 21st, 2011 · No Comments

“In the family, schools and churches, tyrannies have been set up which have vested interests in mental stupor and convention, and which permeate the atmosphere with cant and hypocrisy convenient to themselves.” — from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, regarding the targets of George Meredith’s writings (most notably, Erewhon) in the late […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

What’s that smell?

March 20th, 2011 · No Comments

“If we have only to say, ‘humanity stinks in our nostrils’ then silence is better, because we have heard that news.” — Saul Bellow, in a 1959 letter

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Tags: Lit & Crit

The Crane Game

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

I posted another story this morning.  This one is “Sandhills”, which was published in New York Tyrant, Volume 1, Number 1, in 2006.  It’s a story I first sketched out in 1993, as part of another, longer work.  It didn’t really fit in, though, so I cut it and in the next year or so […]

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Tags: Previously Published Stories · Words

How things work

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments

“The confidence with which we form our schemes is never completely justified in their execution; speculation is carried on in safety, but, when it comes to action, fear causes failure.” — Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War (trans. Crawley)

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Tags: The Ancients · Thucydides

Plugging away

March 18th, 2011 · No Comments

This guy’s brilliant: http://www.benloory.com/

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Tags: Other Stuff · Verandah

Traversing the desert without a compass

March 17th, 2011 · No Comments

“Every work of art, even though it is produced by following an explicit or implicit poetic of necessity, is effectively open to a virtually unlimited range of possible readings, each of which causes the work to acquire new vitality in terms of one particular taste, or perspective, or personal performance.” — Umberto Eco, “The Poetics […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

Might makes… something

March 17th, 2011 · No Comments

“Where force can be used, law is not needed.” — Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War (trans. Crawley)

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Ancients · Thucydides

Cocooning

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

“We do well to be thickly wadded with stupidity against an intolerable chaos.” — Frank Kermode, “Recognition and Deception”, The Art of Telling

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Subliminality, Transliminality

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

“Greek tragedy was rooted in the empirical observation that there is no relationship between justice and suffering. Tragedy confronts us with our frailties and limits and the disastrous consequences of trying to exceed them. It advances a counter-intuitive thesis: that efforts to limit suffering through the accumulation of knowledge or power might invite more suffering.” […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Ancients

Bogie at nine o’clock low

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

I went out this morning to water my back yard, which is mostly desert with a few patches of wild grass and herb borders and a vegetable patch, and there was a falcon there, eating a breakfast of fresh dove.  I went back inside and called my wife and said, “Come quick!”  We watched the […]

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Tags: Other Stuff · Verandah

Our work is cut out for us

March 15th, 2011 · No Comments

“We must not seek to discover structures but to produce structurations.” — Kermode, “The Use of the Codes”, The Art of Telling

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

We pronounced it differently in grad school

March 14th, 2011 · No Comments

“Since men cannot be aware of everything, their words, speech and writing can mean something that they themselves did not intend to say or write….  Not occasionally only, but always, the meaning of a text goes beyond its author.” — Kermode in The Art of Telling, quoting Gadamer in Truth and Method (trans. from Wahrheit […]

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Tags: Frank Kermode · Lit & Crit

Knowledge equals Power

March 13th, 2011 · No Comments

“The most hateful grief of all human griefs is this, to have knowledge of the truth but no power over the event.” — Herodotus, The History, Book 9 (trans. Macaulay)

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Tags: Herodotus · The Ancients

Tree Falls in Forest

March 12th, 2011 · No Comments

I added a “Stories” menu to the left sidebar of this site’s present thematic apparition, and placed within said new menu a copy of a long story I call “The Antichrist.”  It’s a tl;dr piece I first drafted long ago, though it wasn’t hammered into its final shape until about three or four years ago.  […]

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Tags: Words

Tsunami?

March 12th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m reading Book 8 of Herodotus this morning, and he writes a passage that leads me to wonder if he’s referring to a tsunami.  Here it is (from Macaulay’s translation): “When three months had gone by while Artabazos was besieging the town, there came to be a great ebb of the sea backwards, which lasted […]

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Tags: Herodotus · The Ancients