Analects (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14) by Paul Valéry

By Paul Valéry

Publish yr note: initially released in 1970.

Grouped jointly during this publication are a number of smaller volumes and plaquettes during which Valery had released decisions of his shorter prose writings: aphorisms, ethical reflections, poetic observations, flashes of wit or fancy, even jokes--a number of feedback and impressions, lots of them first recorded in his Notebooks.

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Additional resources for Analects (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14) (Princeton Legacy Library)

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Nobody exists who is capable of loving another person just as he or she is. We insist on modifications, since the object of our love is always a phantom. What is real cannot be desired—for the good reason that it's real. I adore you, yes; but oh, that nose of yours, this dress you're wearing . . Perhaps the acme of shared love consists in this frantic urge to transform each other and add new beauty to each other in an act comparable to the creative act in art and, like it, stirring some unknown source of personal transcendence.

The untrue and the wonderful are more human than the "real" man. * Triangulation. There are works, famous or otherwise, which for the pur­ pose of triangulating the mental world are preferable to others; they provide us with guidemarks. For a long time I have owned a fifty-page pamphlet, dealing with a technical subject, in which what are called exactness, profundity, originality of approach, are con­ stantly and admirably present. With this little work I compare a book I've just been reading; or, to be more precise, I try to compare the intel­ lectual power and, above all, discipline implied in that pamphlet with what the book I have just been reading implies about the mind of its author.

Such a mind generates foreshortenings, jagged brushstrokes, and can no longer tolerate anything but a restive incoherence. It's the "new" at work— a sure sign o( fatigue. • A poetic idea is one which, stated in prose, still calls for verse. * 19 2-2 ANALECTS The expression of true feelings is always commonplace, and the more sincere one is, the more commonplace one is. For, to avoid banality, we need to choose our words. All the same, if a man is genuinely unsophisticated or the feeling so strong as to rule out even banality, even the memory of the phrases commonly thought appropriate to the occasion, this Blind groping for one's words may give rise—by a fluke—to remarks having a beauty of their own.

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