The Hermeneutic Circle

The hermeneutic circle,” he was saying. “That’s what Dilthey called it. You don’t know what to do with the details unless you have a grip on the structure, and at the same time, you don’t know what to do with the structure unless you know the details. It’s true in life and in literature. The hermeneutic circle. It’s a vicious circle.”

David Denby quoting Columbia professor in the essay Does Homer Have Legs?

Soldier from the Wars Returning – A. E. Housman

Soldier from the wars returning,
Spoiler of the taken town,
Here is ease that asks not earning;
Turn you in and sit you down.

Peace is come and wars are over,
Welcome you and welcome all,
While the charger crops the clover
And his bridle hangs in stall.

Now no more of winters biting,
Filth in trench from tall to spring,
Summers full of sweat and fighting
For the Kesar or the King.

Rest you, charger, rust you, bridle;
Kings and kesars, keep your pay;
Soldier, sit you down and idle
At the inn of night for aye.

Brand New Beggar

Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks.
“… I was just going to float awhile on an hour-to-hour basis and see what developed.
When I mentioned that to I-Man he said I was on my way to being a brand-new beggar and gave me this warm smile. No plans, no regrets, he said. Praise an’ thanks must be sufficient unto ev’ry day.
I said yeah but it’d be hard to do that for the rest of my life. Making plans and having regrets, man, they’re like second nature to me.
Y’ first nature, dat be what you got to come to, mon…”

Brand New Beggar, Third World
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar

Movin’, movin’ around
I been travellin’ from town to town
Sellin’ and even put down
My best friend (heh) by the pound
I thought that happiness was mine
Dressed in silks and drinking wine
But now I’m face to face with me
I look around and suddenly..

Oh oo oh oo oh
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
(I took a look and..)
I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar (yeah)

Loneliness can be quite dread
‘Cause no sees inside your head
I can’t judge a man by scrutiny (oh I say..)
One day coffee, next day tea
And I thought that happiness was mine
Dressed in silk and drinking wine
But now I’m face to face with me
I look around and suddenly..

I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar (yeah)
I’ve changed (yes I have)
I’m a brand new beggar
(but it’s the same old thing)
I said I’ve changed
I’m a brand new beggar
I’ve changed (yes I really changed)
I’m a brand new beggar..

via Jah Lyrics

Fabula and Syuzhet

Fabula (Russian: фабула, IPA: [ˈfabʊlə]) and syuzhet[1] (Russian: сюжет, IPA: [sʲʊˈʐɛt] (About this sound listen)) are terms originating in Russian formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and fabula is the chronological order of the events contained in the story. They were first used in this sense by Vladimir Propp and Viktor Shklovsky.[citation needed]

The fabula is “the raw material of a story”, and syuzhet is “the way a story is organized”.[2] Since Aristotle‘s Poetics, narrative plots are supposed to have a beginning, middle and end. This is often achieved in film and novels via flashbacks or flashforwards. For example, the film Citizen Kane starts with the death of the main character, and then tells his life through flashbacks interspersed with a journalist’s present-time investigation of Kane’s life. The FABULA of the film is the actual story of Kane’s life the way it happened in chronological order, while the SYUZHET is the way the story is told throughout the movie, including flashbacks. Memento_Timeline

via Wikipedia

MCMXIV – Phillip Larkin

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;

And the countryside not caring:
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word – the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

Borges and I – Jorge Luis Borges

The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things.

Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him.

I do not know which of us has written this page.