Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bruno Schulz


I do not know just how in childhood we arrive at certain images, images of crucial significance to us. They are like filaments in a solution around which the sense of the world crystallizes for us . . . They are meanings that seem predestined for us, ready and waiting at the very entrance of our life . . . Such images constitute a program, establish our soul's fixed fund of capital, which is allotted to us very early in the form of inklings and half-conscious feelings. It seems to me that the rest of our life passes in the interpretation of those insights, in the attempt to master them with all the wisdom we acquire, to draw them through all the range of intellect we have in our possession. These early images mark the boundaries of an artist's creativity. His creativity is a deduction from assumptions already made. He cannot now discover anything new; he learns only to understand more and more the secret entrusted to him at the beginning, and his art is a constant exegesis, a comment on that single verse that was assigned to him. But art will never unravel that secret completely. The secret remains insoluble. The knot in which the soul is bound is no trick knot, coming apart with a tug at the end. On the contrary it grows tighter and tighter. We work at it, untying, tracing the path of the string, seeking the end, and out of this manipulating comes art . . .

Bruno Schulz, from the Introduction to Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles

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