Sunday, December 5, 2010



— what separates the woman with whom I have spent most of my life or my closest friends from others whose paths have crossed mine for shorter or more scattered times, Proust from Rex Stout, Moby-Dick from The Old Man and the Sea and Jaws, Manet from Magritte, is less the kind of feelings they inspire in me than their complexity and the long-term effect of our relationship. I don’t need to spend the rest of time with every beautiful person or thing I am aware of — and sometimes I resist any desire to do so — but if I do find something beautiful I do more than simply throw a glance in its direction and, like a bored museum visitor, move on to the next one down the line. Beautiful things require attention and, if only for a limited time, an attachment both deep and intense, to abandon them, like being abandoned by them, is always a source of pain.
(Alexander Nehamas Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art 2007)

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