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Analects (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14) by Paul Valéry

By Paul Valéry

Publish yr note: initially released in 1970.

Grouped jointly during this booklet are numerous smaller volumes and plaquettes during which Valery had released choices of his shorter prose writings: aphorisms, ethical reflections, poetic observations, flashes of wit or fancy, even jokes--a number of feedback and impressions, a lot of them first recorded in his Notebooks.

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Extra info for Analects (Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14) (Princeton Legacy Library)

Sample text

And, once these have free play, the freedom of combination in the text. Syntax is a set of habits to be formed, habits which it is sometimes well to renovate and brush up, in full awareness of what one is doing. In this field of literary action, as in all others, we must abide by the rules of the game, but accept them for what they are worth and without attaching too much authority to them. Nor should we pride ourselves on remembering a number of exceptions. It must be borne in mind that in the days of our greatest writers the liberties permitted were, also, far greater.

Statues and fame are forms of the cult of the dead, which is a form of ignorance. " In every religion "false gods" mean other people's gods; they are called false not because their existence is denied but because they lack the supreme prestige and power reserved to the god whom we personally adore. * The notion of the "great poet" has brought into the world more minor poets than the laws of chance would lead one to expect. * Man preens himself on his strokes of luck. # Our strongest, most vital hatred goes to those who are what we would like to be ourselves; a hatred all the keener because this state is so closely wrapped up with the person whom we hate.

VIII Every cosmogony, every metaphysical system assumes man to be a spectator of phenomena from which he is excluded. And this holds good even for physics, even for history and our memory of yesterday. For what sees is always incompatible with what is seen, more or less obviously as the case may be. * ANALECTS Philosophy and Scicnce would not exist had not certain men who never troubled their heads about them, who saw no need for them and were unaware of their existence and even of their possibility, provided by their lives and actions the fundaments and subject matter, the languages, the "obscu­ rity," and the coherence basic to philosophy and science.

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