A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist—not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.
"[People] make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past."
"[T]he general claim is that historical materialism reduces structures of oppression to class exploitation, thereby ignoring or minimizing sexism, racism, and homophobia. While it is certainly true that historical materialism places relations of production at the foundation of society, there is nothing simple or reductive about how these relations structure oppressions. Rather, historical materialist analyses, instead of examining only one form of oppression—like sexism, racism, or homophobia—would explore the way they all function within the overarching system of class domination in determining women’s and men’s life choices. Sweatshop workers in New York City, for example, experience sexism and racism that are both quantitatively and qualitatively different from those experienced by middle-class women. The racism directed at poor African-American youths occurs in a different context than that directed at African-American women in the academy. This is not to claim that the latter forms of oppression do not exist or are inconsequential, but by situating both forms within the material context and historical framework in which they occur, we can highlight the variable discriminatory mechanisms that are central to capitalism as a system."
"But there is no female counterpart in our culture to Ishmael or Huck Finn. There is no Dean Moriarty, Sal, or even a Fuckhead. It sounds like a doctoral crisis, but it’s not. As a fifteen-year-old hitchhiker, my survival depended upon other people’s ability to envision a possible future for me. Without a Melvillean or Kerouacian framework, or at least some kind of narrative to spell out a potential beyond death, none of my resourcefulness or curiosity was recognizable, and therefore I was unrecognizable."
"He was now in that state of fire that she loved. She wanted to be burnt.”
I put a little autumn in your drink
and your skin caught chill
and you wanted me
and you wanted me
to kiss you and you
tasted of early peaches
and pears and your hair moved
in the wind like fallen leaves
and I loved you
under the covers
in the long, long night.
We shall have beds full of subtle perfumes,
Divans as deep as graves, and on the shelves
Will be strange flowers that blossomed for us
Under more beautiful heavens.
Using their dying flames emulously,
Our two hearts will be two immense torches
Which will reflect their double light
In our two souls, those twin mirrors.
Some evening made of rose and of mystical blue
A single flash will pass between us
Like a long sob, charged with farewells;
And later an Angel, setting the doors ajar,
Faithful and joyous, will come to revive
The tarnished mirrors, the extinguished flames.
La Mort des Amants
The Death of Lovers
— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)