Tuesday, October 4, 2016

From Kierkegaard's Either/Or, translated by Alistair Hannay (interesting parallel with Kafka's Hunger Artist) :

WHAT is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music. His fate is like that of those unfortunates who were slowly tortured by a gentle fire in Phalaris’s bull; their cries could not reach the tyrant’s ears to cause him dismay, to him they sounded like sweet music. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ – that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful.’ And the critics come forward and say: ‘That’s the way, that’s how the rules of aesthetics say it should be done.’ Of course, a critic resembles a poet to a hair, except he has no anguish in his heart, no music on his lips. So I tell you, I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than a poet and misunderstood by people.

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