Friday, July 22, 2011

"Life is an icy palace of language, the breeze of heartbreaking experience passing through it."

Dr. Birna Bjarnadóttir, A Book of Fragments, pg. 71.
"Aesthetics is the most faithless of all
sciences. Anyone who has truly loved it
will in a way become unhappy; while
anyone who has never done so is and
remains a pecus [ox, or blockhead]."

Søren Kierkagaard, Fear and Trembling
“The Swan, a picaresque novel about childhood, breathes the Icelandic landscape from every line. But please: do not read it as an “Icelandic novel”, as an exotic oddity. Gudberger Bergsson is a great European novelist. His art is primarily inspired not by some sociological or historical, still less a geographical, curiosity, but by an existential quest, a real existential insistence, which places his book at the very centre of what could (in my view) be termed the modernity of the novel.”

Milan Kundera, "The Secret of Ages of Life (Guðberger Bergsson: The Swan)" in Encounters, pg. 28
“ ‘Townsfolk,’ she said, 'have no conception of the peace that Mother Nature bestows, and as long as that peace is unfound the spirit must seek to quench its thirst with ephemeral novelties. And what is more natural than that the townsman’s feverish search for pleasure should mold people of an unstable, harebrained character, who think only of their personal appearance and their clothes and find momentary comfort in foolish fashions and other such worthless innovations? The countryman, on the other hand, walks out to the verdant meadows, into an atmosphere clear and pure, and as he breathes it into his lungs some unknown power streams through his limbs, invigorating body and soul. The peace that reigns in nature fills his mind with calm and cheer, the bright green grass under his feet awakens a sense of beauty, almost of reverence. In the fragrance that is borne so sweetly to his nostrils, in the quietude that broods so blissfully round him, there is comfort and rest. The hill-sides, the dingles, the waterfalls and the mountains are all friends of his childhood, and never to be forgotten. They are a grand and inspiring sight, some of our mountains. Few things can have had such a deep and lasting influence on your hearts as their pure, dignified contours. They give us shelter in their valleys and bid us give shelter, too, to those who have neither our size nor our strength. Where,' asked the poetess, 'is there bliss so bountiful as in these tranquil, flowery mountain glades, where the flowers, those angels’ eyes, if I may so express myself, point to heaven and bid us kneel in reverence to the Almighty, to beauty, wisdom and love?'”

Halldór Laxness, Independent People, pgs. 32-3
“It was a work of art, put there by the unnamed master for people to look at, so they would become more spiritual in character. – In fact it was almost an abstract mountainside.”

Þórberger Þorðarson, Í suðarsveit pg. 163