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This article is taken from PN Review 170, Volume 32 Number 6, July - August 2006.

A Nagging Fragment Christopher Middleton

Silence also has its importance. Doesn't one hear silence in poetry? A line of poetry is not only the alternation of sounds, but even more the organization of pauses, the arrangement of silence and stillness.
Andrei Sinyavsky


We publicists and critics merely rationalize things, but you, as a writer, at one stroke, in a single image, have exhibited the very essence of it [the real tragedy of servitude] for all to see, so that one can literally feel it with one's fingers, so that the most unthinking reader can understand it. That's the secret of true artistry, that's the truth of art ...
V. Belinskii (1846: commenting on the episode in Dostoevsky's Poor Folk when Devushkin, after a button has flown off his uniform and rolled across the floor, receives money from a superior official)


A consuming uneasiness, its sensory network, a loss of all focus in view of a threat, a sense of one's fragility, how to describe that complex feeling? By outrageous fortune unharmed as I have been, it is a feeling I've had in dreams, and only a little less intensely while wide awake. Was it hatched in childhood dreams, in all innocence? The feeling of a vast menace, a yellowish-grey-green feeling, even in one childhood dream coupled with the image of a cat on hind legs, carrying a ladder, a black cat, red ladder - later believed ludicrous, yet only last night re-drawn as a ...


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