Thursday, February 19, 2004

At Ptarmigan in response to my opening comments on a phenomenology for the book, a quote from Nietzsche:

"Honest books make the reader honest, at least by luring into the open his hatred and aversion which his shy prudence otherwise knows how to conceal best."

I have one from Walt Whitman: "Without great audiences we cannot have great poets."

Writers have increasingly found ways to release themselves from the burden of teaching an audience, from learning how to address those outside of a scene. (see John Latta's recent comments on scenes at Hotel Point for another POV.)

Nietzsche's point is ironic, I think, because authors of books often project their "hatred and aversion" upon imagined readers. By refering to "books" we do not talk about "authors"--we can deal with the audience, critique the market. Honestly,


I would like to know where this Nietszchean aphorism is pulled from to look at the German phrase that is here translated as "honest books."

A list for being "honest books":
Modest books,
real books,
proper books,
worldly books,
representational books,
popular books,
topical books,
relevant books

All have different senses. Honest, as vocabulary or translation, is a safe word to choose. Then again, I don't know where the quote is taken from...btw, I am concerned not because of its use at Ptarmigan but because of my comps. One of my lists is "Nietzsche as psychologist".

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