Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

2

It is notoriously difficult to make a strong case for the enduring vitality of criticism written for a weekly or monthly magazine. [...] of course we find, among other things, a variety of local insights or judgments that may seem to us, and often are, ephemeral. [...]

But then all worthwhile insights are at bottom local, or are founded on close readings of texts, sentenes, loosely or tightly formulated ideas. [...] To speak of Steiner's observations in such a reading as "local" is to say in fact only that he was willing to do the essential work of the critic acutely responsive to a novel he took to have some genuine value.

—p.2 Introduction by Robert Boyers (1) by Robert Boyers 1 year, 6 months ago

It is notoriously difficult to make a strong case for the enduring vitality of criticism written for a weekly or monthly magazine. [...] of course we find, among other things, a variety of local insights or judgments that may seem to us, and often are, ephemeral. [...]

But then all worthwhile insights are at bottom local, or are founded on close readings of texts, sentenes, loosely or tightly formulated ideas. [...] To speak of Steiner's observations in such a reading as "local" is to say in fact only that he was willing to do the essential work of the critic acutely responsive to a novel he took to have some genuine value.

—p.2 Introduction by Robert Boyers (1) by Robert Boyers 1 year, 6 months ago
17

Throughout 1938, these stern hopes seemed to wither. The choice before the artist grew ever more stark. He could, wrote Blunt in his Spectator piece for June 24th, either discipline himself to paint the world as it was, paint something else as mere frivolous distraction, or commit suicide. [...]

on Mexican artists

—p.17 The Cleric of Treason (13) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

Throughout 1938, these stern hopes seemed to wither. The choice before the artist grew ever more stark. He could, wrote Blunt in his Spectator piece for June 24th, either discipline himself to paint the world as it was, paint something else as mere frivolous distraction, or commit suicide. [...]

on Mexican artists

—p.17 The Cleric of Treason (13) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
30

The Marxist sentiments voiced in Blunt's art reviews and in his contribution to The Mind in Chains are banal. They constitute the widespread routine of anger of a middle-class generation caught up in the threefold context of Western economic deprivation, rising Fascism and Nazism, and what were believed to be the dynamic, libertarian successes of the Russian Revolution. Nothing Blunt writes exhibits any particular grasp either of the philosophical aspects of Marxist dialectical materialism or of the economic and labor theory on which this materialism is founded. It is parlor-pink talk in the approved nineteen-thirties style. Except, perhaps, in one respect. Blunt had arrived early at the conviction that great art, to which he ascribed preeminent value in human consciousness and society, could not survive the fragmented, anarchic, and always modish governance of private patronage and mass-media trivialization. If Western painting, sculpture, and architecture were to regain classic stature, they must do so under the control of an enlightened, educative, and historically purposeful state. [...] The art dealer and the private collector, the tycoon and the journalist-critic, as they mushroom under capitalism, cannot match such coherence. On the contrary, it is the cash nexus that has fatally split the world of art into the esoteric, at one end, and kitsch, and the other. [...] Blunt is shrewd enough to know that the price may be steep, at least during a period of historical transition. But how else are the arts, without which a man would recede into animality, to be rescued from their isolation, from the prostitution of the money market? It may well be because he found no other answer to this question that Anthony Blunt slid from undergraduate and salon Marxism into the practicalities of treason.

[...] We touch here on a problem about which I feel considerable ambivalence. The private ownership of great art, its seclusion from the general view of men and women, let alone from that of interested amateurs and scholars, is a curious business. The literal disappearance of a Turner or a van Gogh into some Middle Eastern or Latin-American bank vault to be kept as investment and collateral, the sardonic decision of a Greek shipping tycoon to put an incomparable El Greco on his yacht, where it hangs at persistent risk--these are phenomena that verge on vandalism. Ought there to be private possession of great art, with everything that such possession entails of material risk, of greed, of removal from the general currents of thought and feeling? [...] To say that private collectors, especially in the United States, have been generous in allowing scholarly guests to look at their treasures (not always, in fact) is no answer. Should mere wealth or the speculative fever of the investor determine the location, the accessibility of universal and always irreplaceable products in the legacy of man? There are times when I feel that the answer ought to be emphatically negative--that great art is not, cannot be, private property. But I am not certain. My conjecture is that Blunt was certain, and that the young scholar-connoisseur, barred from certain paintings and drawings of genius because they were locked up in private keeping, experienced a spasm of contemptuous loathing for capitalism. In the Soviet Union, he knew, great art hangs in public galleries. No scholars, no men and women wanting to mend their souls before a Raphael or a Matisse need wait, cap in hand, at the mansion door.

makes you think: why is there private possession of great art? why is great art valued so highly? could it because there's a surplus of capital with a deficit of productive ways to invest it!!?!?!

also: the difference between Blunt's era and now is that while one can, today, easily feel the same contempt for capitalism that he likely did, there is no comparable outlet for our feelings. there is no nation-state alternative to capitalism. there is no Soviet Union that we can spy for. obviously the Soviet Union was little more than an illusory alternative - in that it was a flawed implementation that wouldn't have fixed many of the negative aspects of capitalism - but now we have nothing! is that better or worse? i don't know.

—p.30 The Cleric of Treason (13) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

The Marxist sentiments voiced in Blunt's art reviews and in his contribution to The Mind in Chains are banal. They constitute the widespread routine of anger of a middle-class generation caught up in the threefold context of Western economic deprivation, rising Fascism and Nazism, and what were believed to be the dynamic, libertarian successes of the Russian Revolution. Nothing Blunt writes exhibits any particular grasp either of the philosophical aspects of Marxist dialectical materialism or of the economic and labor theory on which this materialism is founded. It is parlor-pink talk in the approved nineteen-thirties style. Except, perhaps, in one respect. Blunt had arrived early at the conviction that great art, to which he ascribed preeminent value in human consciousness and society, could not survive the fragmented, anarchic, and always modish governance of private patronage and mass-media trivialization. If Western painting, sculpture, and architecture were to regain classic stature, they must do so under the control of an enlightened, educative, and historically purposeful state. [...] The art dealer and the private collector, the tycoon and the journalist-critic, as they mushroom under capitalism, cannot match such coherence. On the contrary, it is the cash nexus that has fatally split the world of art into the esoteric, at one end, and kitsch, and the other. [...] Blunt is shrewd enough to know that the price may be steep, at least during a period of historical transition. But how else are the arts, without which a man would recede into animality, to be rescued from their isolation, from the prostitution of the money market? It may well be because he found no other answer to this question that Anthony Blunt slid from undergraduate and salon Marxism into the practicalities of treason.

[...] We touch here on a problem about which I feel considerable ambivalence. The private ownership of great art, its seclusion from the general view of men and women, let alone from that of interested amateurs and scholars, is a curious business. The literal disappearance of a Turner or a van Gogh into some Middle Eastern or Latin-American bank vault to be kept as investment and collateral, the sardonic decision of a Greek shipping tycoon to put an incomparable El Greco on his yacht, where it hangs at persistent risk--these are phenomena that verge on vandalism. Ought there to be private possession of great art, with everything that such possession entails of material risk, of greed, of removal from the general currents of thought and feeling? [...] To say that private collectors, especially in the United States, have been generous in allowing scholarly guests to look at their treasures (not always, in fact) is no answer. Should mere wealth or the speculative fever of the investor determine the location, the accessibility of universal and always irreplaceable products in the legacy of man? There are times when I feel that the answer ought to be emphatically negative--that great art is not, cannot be, private property. But I am not certain. My conjecture is that Blunt was certain, and that the young scholar-connoisseur, barred from certain paintings and drawings of genius because they were locked up in private keeping, experienced a spasm of contemptuous loathing for capitalism. In the Soviet Union, he knew, great art hangs in public galleries. No scholars, no men and women wanting to mend their souls before a Raphael or a Matisse need wait, cap in hand, at the mansion door.

makes you think: why is there private possession of great art? why is great art valued so highly? could it because there's a surplus of capital with a deficit of productive ways to invest it!!?!?!

also: the difference between Blunt's era and now is that while one can, today, easily feel the same contempt for capitalism that he likely did, there is no comparable outlet for our feelings. there is no nation-state alternative to capitalism. there is no Soviet Union that we can spy for. obviously the Soviet Union was little more than an illusory alternative - in that it was a flawed implementation that wouldn't have fixed many of the negative aspects of capitalism - but now we have nothing! is that better or worse? i don't know.

—p.30 The Cleric of Treason (13) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
67

[...] "What a damn silly profession ours is" (wherein "profession" carries, as always in Greene, the pull of its etymological roots). [...]

just thought this was a cool way of expressing that meaning. referring to Graham Greene's The Human Factor

—p.67 God's Spies (61) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] "What a damn silly profession ours is" (wherein "profession" carries, as always in Greene, the pull of its etymological roots). [...]

just thought this was a cool way of expressing that meaning. referring to Graham Greene's The Human Factor

—p.67 God's Spies (61) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
90

There is not the least doubt that Pietro Catte in the abstract has no reality, any more than any other man on the face of the earth. But the fact remains that he was born and that he died, as those irrefutable certificates prove. And this endows him with reality in actual fact, because birth and death are the two moments at which the infinite becomes finite; and the infinite can have no being except through the finite. Pietro Catte attempted to escape from reality by hanging himself on that tree at Biscollai, but his was a vain hope, because one cannot erase one's own birth. This is why I say that Pietro Catte, like all the hapless characters in this story, is important, and ought to be interesting to everyone: if he does not exist, then none of us exist.

a quote by Salvatore Satta

—p.90 One Thousand Years of Solitude (86) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

There is not the least doubt that Pietro Catte in the abstract has no reality, any more than any other man on the face of the earth. But the fact remains that he was born and that he died, as those irrefutable certificates prove. And this endows him with reality in actual fact, because birth and death are the two moments at which the infinite becomes finite; and the infinite can have no being except through the finite. Pietro Catte attempted to escape from reality by hanging himself on that tree at Biscollai, but his was a vain hope, because one cannot erase one's own birth. This is why I say that Pietro Catte, like all the hapless characters in this story, is important, and ought to be interesting to everyone: if he does not exist, then none of us exist.

a quote by Salvatore Satta

—p.90 One Thousand Years of Solitude (86) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
104

[...] Its implicit picture of the globe as irremediably divided between American capitalism and Soviet Marxism is an oversimplification. There is, according to Orwell, a third way--that of "democratic Socialism." And it is the historical duty of Europe, after two homicidal and, basically, internal wars, to show that "democratic Socialism" can be made to work. A "Socialist United States of Europe" may be very difficult to bring about, argues Orwell, but it certainly not inconceivable. It may, in fact, hold the fragile, elusive key to human survival. [...]

Essay on George Orwell

—p.104 Killing Time (95) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] Its implicit picture of the globe as irremediably divided between American capitalism and Soviet Marxism is an oversimplification. There is, according to Orwell, a third way--that of "democratic Socialism." And it is the historical duty of Europe, after two homicidal and, basically, internal wars, to show that "democratic Socialism" can be made to work. A "Socialist United States of Europe" may be very difficult to bring about, argues Orwell, but it certainly not inconceivable. It may, in fact, hold the fragile, elusive key to human survival. [...]

Essay on George Orwell

—p.104 Killing Time (95) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
125

I was soon confirmed in my suspicion that our relations with Jesus Christ were in reality no different from those we had had with Adolf Hitler six months or a year earlier. When we consider the songs and choruses that are sung to the honour and glory of any so-called extraordinary personality, no matter whom--songs and choruses like those we used to sing at the boarding house during the Nazi period and later--we are bound to admit that, with slight differences in the wording, the texts are always the same and are always sung to the same music. All in all these songs and choruses are simply an expression of stupidity, baseness, and lack of character on the part of those who sing them, The voice one hears in these songs and choruses is the voice of inanity--universal, worldwide inanity. All the educational crimes perpetrated against the young in educational establishments the world over are perpetuated in the name of some extraordinary personality, whether his name is Hitler or Jesus or whatever.

quoting Thomas Bernhard (Gathering Evidence)

—p.125 Black Danube (117) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

I was soon confirmed in my suspicion that our relations with Jesus Christ were in reality no different from those we had had with Adolf Hitler six months or a year earlier. When we consider the songs and choruses that are sung to the honour and glory of any so-called extraordinary personality, no matter whom--songs and choruses like those we used to sing at the boarding house during the Nazi period and later--we are bound to admit that, with slight differences in the wording, the texts are always the same and are always sung to the same music. All in all these songs and choruses are simply an expression of stupidity, baseness, and lack of character on the part of those who sing them, The voice one hears in these songs and choruses is the voice of inanity--universal, worldwide inanity. All the educational crimes perpetrated against the young in educational establishments the world over are perpetuated in the name of some extraordinary personality, whether his name is Hitler or Jesus or whatever.

quoting Thomas Bernhard (Gathering Evidence)

—p.125 Black Danube (117) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
129

But there are losses. Marxism, being itself the product of an intelligentsia, notably in East Germany, felt committed to certain archaic, paternalistic ideals of high literacy, of literary-academic culture. Classical theatre and music, the publication of the classics flourished. Because it carried within its raucous facility and mass seductiveness the germ of anarchic protest, much of what is shoddiest in modernity, in the media, in down-market entertainment was kept (partly) at bay. Now the conductors and the performers are leaving the more than seventy symphony orchestras financed by the East German government. The professors are draining away. The poets, the thinkers wonder whether they can compete on the futures market of commercial choices. Oppression happens to be the mother of metaphor. In the supermarket, Goethe is a lossmaker. These losses, however, are, at an immediate level, luxury losses, and are perhaps recoverable. The minus signs on the balance sheet cut deeper but are much more difficult to define.

in an essay about Berthold Brecht, about the losses after the fall of the Berlin Wall

—p.129 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

But there are losses. Marxism, being itself the product of an intelligentsia, notably in East Germany, felt committed to certain archaic, paternalistic ideals of high literacy, of literary-academic culture. Classical theatre and music, the publication of the classics flourished. Because it carried within its raucous facility and mass seductiveness the germ of anarchic protest, much of what is shoddiest in modernity, in the media, in down-market entertainment was kept (partly) at bay. Now the conductors and the performers are leaving the more than seventy symphony orchestras financed by the East German government. The professors are draining away. The poets, the thinkers wonder whether they can compete on the futures market of commercial choices. Oppression happens to be the mother of metaphor. In the supermarket, Goethe is a lossmaker. These losses, however, are, at an immediate level, luxury losses, and are perhaps recoverable. The minus signs on the balance sheet cut deeper but are much more difficult to define.

in an essay about Berthold Brecht, about the losses after the fall of the Berlin Wall

—p.129 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
130

When Marx, in the famous 1844 manuscripts, imagined a society in which love and solidarity, rather than money and competitive hatreds, would be exchanged among human beings, he was simply rephrasing the summons to transcendence of Jeremiah, of Amos, and of the Gospels. When he urged a kingdom of social justice, of classless fraternity on earth, he was translating into secular terms the sunburst of the messianic. We know—I suppose we always knew—that such summonings were Utopian: that human beings are more or less gifted carnivores; and that man is wolf to man. What is even grimmer, we know now—and should have known since the Utopian fantasies of Plato—that ideals of equality, of communal rationality, of self-sacrificial austerity can be enforced only at totally unacceptable costs. Human egotism, the competitive pulse, the lust for waste and display can be suffocated only by tyrannical violence. And, in turn, those who practice such violence themselves wither into corruption. Ineluctably, collectivist-socialist ideals seem to lead to one or another form of the Gulag.

—p.130 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

When Marx, in the famous 1844 manuscripts, imagined a society in which love and solidarity, rather than money and competitive hatreds, would be exchanged among human beings, he was simply rephrasing the summons to transcendence of Jeremiah, of Amos, and of the Gospels. When he urged a kingdom of social justice, of classless fraternity on earth, he was translating into secular terms the sunburst of the messianic. We know—I suppose we always knew—that such summonings were Utopian: that human beings are more or less gifted carnivores; and that man is wolf to man. What is even grimmer, we know now—and should have known since the Utopian fantasies of Plato—that ideals of equality, of communal rationality, of self-sacrificial austerity can be enforced only at totally unacceptable costs. Human egotism, the competitive pulse, the lust for waste and display can be suffocated only by tyrannical violence. And, in turn, those who practice such violence themselves wither into corruption. Ineluctably, collectivist-socialist ideals seem to lead to one or another form of the Gulag.

—p.130 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago
132

[...] It is better to have been hallucinated by justice than to have been awakened to junk food. [...]

—p.132 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago

[...] It is better to have been hallucinated by justice than to have been awakened to junk food. [...]

—p.132 B.B. (128) by George Steiner 1 year, 6 months ago