Reasonable Words: Stephen Sparks on Marcel Schwob

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 9.12.21 AMFrom 3:AM MAGAZINE, “What Ever It Is, We’re Against It,” a blog that buzzes around literature and philosophy, happy to sting both, a fine piece by writer and bookseller Stephen Sparks about the perpetually forgotten Marcel Schwob (23 August 1867 – 12 February 1905). His name is new to me, and seemingly somebody Borges would have had to create had he not lived. Astonishingly learned, a library denizen, he had one tragic love affair, a disastrous sea voyage, and managed to pump out a few books, also leaving behind a tantalizing list of unfinished works.

Sparks quoting Schwob’s credo on art.

Contrary to history, art describes individuals, desires only the unique… consider a leaf with its intricate nerve system, its color variegated by shade and sun; the imprint of a raindrop; the tiny mark left by an insect; the silver trace of a snail; or the first mortal touch of autumn gold. Search all the forests of the earth for another leaf exactly like it. I defy you to find one.

The piece closes with a summary and appreciation of The Book of Monelle, one of the works Schwob did manage to publish during a short, painful life. It sounds amazing.

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