FragLit

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Solitude

Fall 2010 :: Current Issue

2010 :: Issue 7/Fall :: Solitude

Selected Aphorisms

Georges Perros

Papiers collés (Paper Collage, 1960, 1973, 1978), the three-volume notebook written by Georges Perros (1923-1978) and published by Gallimard, continues to enjoy a cult status among French readers because of the author’s sardonic maxims, vignettes, short prose narratives, and philosophical remarks. Excerpts are translated here for the first time in English by John Taylor.

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We ask for our daily crumb of love. We are given a ton for eternity, which is death.

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When you know the wings of the theater well, you don’t want to sit in the audience. Even less act on the stage. Where to, then?

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Writing passes time.
Music gets time to pass.
Painting effaces it.

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Whoever writes to save himself is already doomed.

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It’s not because you visit a cemetery that you know its inhabitants.

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Reading: the resurrection of Lazarus. Lifting the slab off the tomb of words.

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It is easier to do too much than just enough. But according to what criterion?

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To make a success of one’s life: Rimbaud.
To succeed in life: nearly everyone!

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The vulnerability of poems. Forever intact.

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With whom, with what, keep a souvenir of life?

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The opposite of illness is not health. It is another illness.

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Writing suffices unto itself only when it is mediocre, utilitarian. Otherwise, it designates a point. A needle in a haystack. Of sound.

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Whoever sees God once moves no more.

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Once we have learned the answer, we often say: that’s what I thought. Thinking is perhaps this.

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However you sort it out, literature is the habitat of solitude. Desire. Impatience.

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Poetry hides behind words. He who hides is not absent. Yet it is another kind of presence, that of jealousy.

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A modern problem. That takes time. A construction site rather than a concert piece. Archeology.

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Looking at a living person as we will see him again when we learn that he has died. Difficult.

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Living with a loved one who is dead. A poem is this, with words.

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It would suffice to write without publishing—without wanting to publish—to keep your mind at rest. This is like saying it would suffice to be unborn. For not only ambition is at stake. Pride. Breathing also remains mysterious. Air.

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Being good, indeed. With whom? Who is going to bear my goodness? Here, doggie.

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History. Why have I never witnessed a great event? I learned why later. I was told that I was there.

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Love is the dependence of independence.

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Another person is like a distant province.

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Neologisms are G-strings.

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Human beings look at each other as if they had never seen each other. With animals, it’s the opposite.

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We all die young.

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Our posterity is the present.

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Human beings have seen enough of each other.

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I defy anyone to find anyone else funny very long.

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A glutton for laziness.

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Nothing happens and when something happens it is death.

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Their muse muzzles.

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The bridge. Don’t touch the guardrail. But it is there. Otherwise, dizziness.

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How can you expect to learn what I do when I am alone, as long as you are here?

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Man tells himself a story that is not his.

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The best readers are those who are jealous of manuscripts.

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Stupidity begins to make sense only when it is clarified by a mind that chases after it. Instead of asking it for help.

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Any new element in human doings makes a stir, changes the overall picture. A word can live with a word, and change its fate.

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The quality in the quantity, without getting mixed up!

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Saying “I” is incomparably more modest than saying “we.” This should be obvious. But it isn’t, they say.

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He is considered to be a genius, every three weeks, by different people.

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We perhaps come from something more than from someone.

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What good is a key if there is no lock?

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Poetry is everywhere. Everywhere except in language. Break open language, clear it through customs, instead of squeezing yourself into its corset.

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A poem catches all the illnesses. Acts as a guinea pig. In order to save everyday language.

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I live as if I had been.

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Life is every now and then.

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Life dies now and then. We are its survivors.

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Words that open like oysters.

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The impossibility of lying. Yet for all that, not tell the truth.

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Sartre: a vegetarian who likes only raw meat.

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Solitude is noticing others’ solitude.

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Neither speaking well nor thinking right. Something else. On which saying and thinking depend.

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We can share only solitude. Place your bets.

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Words shade sense.

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We bear everything: war, suffering, exile, etc. It is the passing from one state to another that is terrible. The time needed to get settled.

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Insanity and suffering cannot mimic themselves very long.

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Health is used for not dying every time you are seriously ill.

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Man is born good. The deterioration begins between the sixth and seventh months.

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What helps you to live is not in life.

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Clocks vaunt Time.

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A man who writes is always anxious, worried. He left the gas valve open. But where?

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I have never heard a fisherman say that he loves the sea.

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In order to draw out what is human from a human being, you have to wait until he dies. Provided something is left over.

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The aphorism: intelligence vanquished, and happy to be so.

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First the blackboard. Then the blank sheet of paper. And afterwards?

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I write in holes.

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What is horrible about politicians and cops is that they look as though they were made for the job.

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Whoever wants to be right every day misses the weekly truth.

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Time: the world bank.

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It’s animals that have an inner life.

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Never forget that humans sleep. Fortunately.

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Beware of frying pans that heat only themselves.

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