Saturday, November 15, 2008

"That deep, true, inner form"

Singapore Jade sent me this wonderful Hugo von Hofmannsthal letter purportedly written by Lord Chandos, the younger son of the Earl of Bath, to Francis Bacon, explaining his abandonment of literary activity. "What is man that he is full of plans?" he asks, and then proceeds to describe in ecstatic detail the literary projects he envisioned in his youth: a history of Henry VIII, a key to ancient fable, a compendium of maixims. In those days, he "divined that all was an allegory, that each creature was a key to all the others; and I felt myself the one capable of seizing each by the handle and unlocking as many of the others that were ready to yield."

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