The title bears no substantial connection to this submission except that this paraphrased snippet has been taken from the portion of Sade’s Justine set in the epigraph of Durrell’s Justine.
Justine is the first novel in British writer Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. T. S. Eliot spoke very highly of Durrell, so that is the only argument I need–or that you should need–to read his work.
Two passages early on in the novel have arrested me: “Our common actions in reality are simply the sackcloth covering which hides the cloth-of-gold–the meaning of the pattern. For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded or defeated us in daily life; in this way, not to evade destiny, as the ordinary people try to do, but to fulfil it in its true potential–the imagination.”
How perfectly fitting. Life is a sackcloth covering that hides the cloth-of-gold whose pattern can only be appreciated upon reflection–a transformation of experience into art. Far be it from a still somewhat sober me to claim that anything I write can be called “art,” but this is why I write: I fumble and bumble through my daily life, and only upon rhetorical reflection am I able to detect the graceful patterns that are hidden in my clodhopping ways or the barbarous ways of life.
Next: “Like all egoists I cannot bear to live alone….”
Yes, despite my not conceiving of too many people in my state possessing a more interesting personal library than I do, I still persist in leaving my study to socialize. (Namely, I have not found a way to get cute cocktail waitresses to work in my library, paying them only in witticisms.) For that matter, why blog when I could spend the time more profitably reading? I am an egoist. This reminds me of something that Walker Percy said (and I paraphrase): writers are egoists by nature because they believe that they have something worthwhile to say.