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This article is taken from PN Review 15, Volume 7 Number 1, September - October 1980.

'Notes' Adrian Stokes

(A transcript from the notebooks of Adrian Stokes in the possession of Ann Angus)


Sometimes a picture rises in the mind for no apparent reason. I may be digging and my foot may hit the spade in a certain sort of way and at that moment I have a glimpse of a road in the Pyrenees where I was walking some 25 years ago: nor has this memory been previously evoked. I suspect it is not so much something I was doing in the field that corresponded with some incident on that road, and thus evoked the memory: no, I suspect that the total configuration of image and sensation in the field though concerned with entirely different experiences, happened to correspond in direction, feeling or pattern with a moment of my consciousness while walking that road: and this particular pattern had not come up before.

The mind, I believe, is constantly busy with the correlation of its patterns, and had I to name the content of the indubitable yeast for life which, although it varies, so seldom is altogether lost, I should say that, in terms of animal satisfaction, of accomplishment of idealism or whatever, this ever-growing store and ever-enlarging complication of patterns, were the essence. For the great part of the day of most lives-though not the night-the range is severely restricted. Those working at repetitive occupations are deeply conscious of the repetitions long after they have ceased to work. The ...

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