35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Unwittingly, a masterpiece,
This review is from: The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus (Paperback)
Cyril Connolly was a prolifically talented schoolboy. Tipped by many for great literary achievement, he wore the burden of this promise like a ball and chain for the rest of his life, anxiously ruminating on greatness.
He was one of the best read men of his generation, and felt that the virgin snow where Shakespeare and Montaigne cut their initial, deep furrows had since become flattened by innumerable tracks so it was no longer able to receive an impression.
Connolly was a great epicurian intellectual, a man whose mind watches itself in Camus' definition. He brooded obsessively on the human condition, admiring those writers who spat in the eye of the ephemeral fame and glory of their own era to follow the solitary and near impossible road to producing a great masterpiece.
A multitude of journalism, a small novel was written, but the masterpiece Connolly was tipped for never came.
But wait. In the course of a lifetime anxiously pondering, well, life itself, Connolly accumulated a hoard of aphorisms that relate to the human being as he or she passes through the stages of life, some of them from the great writers he admired, some of them his own. Here are some choice cuts:
(From Eliot): ''Someone said: 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know.'
'The civilized are those who get more out of life than the uncivilized, and for this we are not likely to be forgiven.'
'Everything is a dangerous drug to me except reality, which is unendurable.'
'I am now forced to admit that anxiety is my true condition, occasionally intruded on by work, pleasure, melancholy or despair.'
The quote from Hemingway on the cover of my paperback edition holds true: 'A book which, no matter how many readers it will ever have, will never have enough.'
A masterpiece arrived at through the back door.