G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Freedom from Freedom from Want

Today November 23 2017 is Thanksgiving Day


Artist: Norman Rockwell

 

Artist as he apologizes to Rockwell: Benjamin Schwartz, The New Yorker

Sunday, November 19, 2017

जी ए, टेनेसी विल्यम्स आणि शी:धप्प बोलणे (आणि लिहणे)...PERSON—TO—PERSON That GA Never Wrote

जी ए कुलकर्णींचा पत्र व्यवहार आता त्यांच्या साहित्याचा मोठा आणि महत्वाचा भाग ठरला आहे. तरीसुद्धा त्यांनी  लिहलेली बरीच पत्रे आपल्याला कधीच वाचायला मिळणार नाहीत कारण कित्येक उपलब्ध झाली नाहीत आणि कितीतरी त्यांच्या संपादकांनी प्रसिद्धी-लायक मानली नाहीत....शिवाय पाठ्वलेल्याकडे हरवणे, पोस्टात गहाळ, प्रसिद्धीसाठी उपलब्ध करू न देण वगैरे...

माझ्या मते जीएंचे प्रत्येक उपलब्ध पत्र, अतिखाजगी उल्लेख वगळून, कसलीही संपादकीय कात्री न लावता, प्रसिद्ध करायला पाहिजे.

जी एंना कोणत्या प्रकारच पत्र आवडत नसेल याबद्दल माझे काही अंदाज आहेत.... त्यांना 'घोड्याची लीद पडत असल्याप्रमाणे शी:धप्प' ( 'यात्रिक', 'पिगळावेळ', पृष्ठ २४१) पत्र आवडत नसणार.

जगातील एक सर्वोत्कृष्ट नाटककार टेनेसी विल्यम्स 'कॅट ऑन अ हॉट टिन रूफ', १९५६ ह्या त्यांच्या नाटकाच्या सुरवातीला त्यांचे चिंतन लिहतात- 'पर्सन-टु-पर्सन' या शीर्षकाखाली:


“... Of course I know that I have sometimes presumed too much upon corresponding sympathies and interest in those to whom I talk boldly, and this has led to rejections that were painful and costly enough to inspire more prudence. But when I weigh one thing against another, an easy liking against a hard respect, the balance always tips the same way, and whatever the risk of bring turned a cold shoulder, I still don’t want to talk to people only about the surface aspects of their lives, the sort of things that acquaintances laugh and chatter about on ordinary social occasions.

I feel that they get plenty of that, and heaven knows so do I, before and after the little interval of time in which I have their attention and say what I have to say to them. The discretion of social conversation, even among friends, is exceeded only by the discretion of 'the deep six', that grave wherein nothing is mentioned at all. Emily Dickinson, that lyrical spinster of Amherst, Massachusetts, who wore a strict and savage heart on a taffeta sleeve, commented wryly on that kind of posthumous discourse among friends in these lines:

I died for beauty, but was scarce Adjusted in the tomb, When one who died for truth was lain In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed? ' For beauty,' I replied. 'And I for truth,—the two are one, We brethren are' be said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night, We talked between the rooms, Until the moss had reached our lips, And covered up our names.

Meanwhile!—I want to go on talking to you as freely and intimately about what we live and die for as if I knew you better than anyone else whom you know."

याबाबतीत जी ए विल्यम्स यांच्याशी सहमत असावेत असं मला कायम वाटत आल आहे. जीएंना सुद्धा आयुष्याबद्दल वरवरचे - शी:धप्प  बोलायचे नसायचे.

(BTW- एमिली डिकिन्सन यांचा विल्यम्स यांच्यावरचा प्रभाव पहा!)

Paul Newman with Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958

courtesy: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

आपल्या कुंचलीने चित्रकार मुळगांवकर असंख्य लोकांना अतिशय उत्कट आनंद अजुनही देत असतात...Raghuvir Mulgaonkar Will Be 100 In Less Than a Year

#रघुवीरमुळगावकरजन्मशताब्दी 
#RaghuvirMulgaonkarBirthCentenary14Nov1918to14Nov2018

Today November 15 2017 is the start of the birth centenary year of Raghuvir Shankar  Mulgaonkar (रघुवीर शंकर मुळगावकर) 14/11/1918- 30/3/1976

कै. मुळगांवकर अतिशय लोकप्रिय चित्रकार होते. महाराष्ट्रातील काही पिढ्या त्यांची चित्रे कॅलेंडरवर, जाहिरातीत पहात मोठ्या झाल्या. कै दीनानाथ दलालांप्रमाणेच त्यांना सुद्धा दीर्घायू मिळाले नाही. १९५६सालच्या खालील पुस्तक परिक्षणात मुळगांवकरांची महती चांगली सांगितली आहे. दुर्दैवाने आज, २०१७साली, मला नाही वाटत हे पुस्तक बाजारात उपलब्ध आहे... 
वाङ्मय शोभा , मार्च १९५६



Artist: Raghuvir Mulgaonkar, October 1950

Courtesy: Vangmay Shobha , Bookganga.com and copy right holders of Mr. Mulgaonkar's work

सौजन्य :  कै मुळगावकरांच्या चित्रांचे कॉपीराईट होल्डर्स, वाङ्मय शोभा , बुकगंगा.कॉम  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

पंचतंत्र, नन्हा, आणि थेबर यांचे सिंह ....The Three Lions


पंचतंत्रातील सर्व गोष्टी आठवतात पण अंगावर काटा उभी करणारी गोष्ट 'पुस्तकी विद्या' (पाचवे तंत्र: अपरीक्षितकारक) असावी... The Lion That Sprang To Life

त्या गोष्टीची आठवण खालील अप्रतिम चित्र बघून झाली.

कलावंत : नन्हा , १६१५




(from : ‘India: Art and Culture, 1300-1900’ By Stuart Cary Welch) 

ह्या दोन्ही थरारक चित्रानंतर पहा वसंत सरवटेंना आवडणारे, सिंह आणि आपण कसे जोडले गेलो आहोत ते दाखवणारे चित्र : 


Artist: Laszlo Reber  (László Réber) 1920-2001, Hungarian graphic artist, illustrator, cartoonist


Thursday, November 09, 2017

साने गुरुजी, लेज मिसराबले आणि व्हिक्टर ह्यूगो...At Death Victor Hugo left less than one per cent of his Considerable Fortune to Charity

मी माझ्या लहानपणी नेटाने साने गुरुजी अनुवादित व्हिक्टर ह्यूगो यांची 'लेज मिसराबले' (Les Misérables), १८६२ कादंबरी, मिरजेतील खरे मंदिर वाचनालयातून घेऊन वाचली आहे. मूळ फ्रेंच कादंबरी १९००पानाची आहे! ह्या शतकात  ॲन हॅथवे असलेला २०१२सालचा सिनेमा पण पहिला.

सौजन्य : युनिव्हर्सल पिक्चर्स
त्या कादंबरीवरती 'The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of ‘Les Misérables’ by David Bellos हे पुस्तक प्रसिद्ध झाल्यावर त्याची दोन-तीन परीक्षणे वाचली.

त्यातील टीम पार्क्स यांचे लंडन रिव्यू ऑफ बुक्स मधले परीक्षण फार आवडले:

"...The discovery of his adultery exposed Hugo to ridicule around the time he began Les Misérables, a book that opens, we remember, with a long account of a man who having ‘given the best years of his life … to worldly pursuits and love affairs’ becomes a priest, a prelate and ultimately a kind of saint. ‘People joked,’ Bellos remarks, ‘that [Hugo] must be doing penance for his unsaintly behaviour,’ but declares himself sceptical of this ‘moralising approach’ or of any idea that a troubled Hugo might have looked for ‘refuge in an uplifting tale’. Rather, ‘the main impact of the Biard affair’ was to convince Hugo to ‘write about everything except that’. The novel ‘is unusual … for not talking at any point about adultery or even sex’...

. Les Misérables is built on a gesture of simplification, even denial...."

 सेक्स नाही, त्यामुळे साने गुरुजींना पण एक comfort feeling, अनुवाद करताना आल असणार.


"For all Bellos’s insistence that Hugo did careful research and has his facts right, we are very far from realism. To turn to Madame Bovary, published six years before Hugo’s novel and equally interested in the hypocrisies of the middle classes, is to find oneself in a world of social and psychological subtlety that simply isn’t there in Les Misérables, isn’t attempted. Essentially, Hugo has split society into innocent and loveable victims (viewed in great detail), callously complacent middle classes (who remain, for all their proper Christian and surnames, an anonymous chorus) and magnificent (Hugo-like), strangely powerful saints."

ही साधी विभागणी, दुष्ट आणि सुष्ट लोकांमध्ये,  हे तर मराठी साहित्याचे ठळक वैशिष्ट्य आहे. गुरुजींना तर ते नक्कीच भावल असणार. 

"Coincidences abound. Hugo isn’t embarrassed by them; they allow for endless turns of plot with just a few central characters who never stop meeting, harming and helping one another. This is why Les Misérables is so successful not just as a film, but as a musical, in a way that Anna Karenina, Middlemarch and the many other fine novels of the time never could be. It is a story of extravagant gesture and irrepressible underlying optimism. Hugo believes in progress. Despite its title, the novel is never a downer."

खालील वाचून मात्र गुरुजींना धक्का नक्कीच बसला असता:

"Hugo’s strategy for publishing Les Misérables; this involved dumping his regular publisher, Pierre-Jules Hetzel, insisting on an enormous 300,000 francs for an eight-year licence (around £3 million today, Bellos calculates), then orchestrating a huge book launch with more or less simultaneous publication in various countries, an equally huge publicity campaign (the novel’s content was kept a secret until the last moment) with queues at the bookshops and so on. And the man who borrowed heavily to effect this huge leap forward in book promotion, Albert Lacroix, had not even read the novel when he signed the deal, since he was in Brussels and the manuscript in Guernsey. Such was Hugo’s celebrity, literary and political, that Lacroix was convinced he could make the novel a must-read work across Europe before anyone even knew what was in it. And he was right.

For Bellos this feat, the complex logistics of copying, proofreading, printing, translating and distributing such a huge text over a short period of time, is part of the reason the book is ‘the novel of the century’..."

"Of course if, as Bellos believes, works like Les Misérables genuinely lead to social reform, one could hardly complain. Others might argue –Leopardi put forward the view in his Zibaldone years before Les Misérables was written – that compassion in literature simply allows the reader to congratulate himself on his humanity without producing any change in behaviour. It encourages people to believe, Muriel Spark commented more recently, ‘that their moral responsibilities are sufficiently fulfilled by the emotions they have been induced to feel’. In short, it is a substitute for charity."

"Hugo’s great book sold millions of copies, but did not radically alter social conditions in France, or halt Napoleon III’s drift towards despotism, or stop the thousands of executions after the collapse of the Commune in 1871. Audiences leave West End performances of Les Misérables and walk past the beggars on the pavements much as they always have. Back in Guernsey, though, in the 1860s, Hugo set a charming new trend in philanthropy by inviting the poor children of the island to regular garden parties. He loved children and wrote wonderful poems about his grandchildren, though he did not generally keep track of his illegitimate offspring. At death he left less than one per cent of his considerable fortune to charity. Miserable."

गुरुजी मात्र व्हिक्टर ह्यूगो यांच्या सारखे अजिबात नव्हते.  

मराठी विश्वकोश सांगतो: "...साक्षरतेचे वर्ग चालविणे, खादी विकणे, काँग्रेससाठी निधी जमविणे, देशाच्या स्वातंत्र्यचळवळीत भाग घेतलेल्यांच्या तसेच देशासाठी बलिदान केलेल्यांच्या कुटुंबियांना साहाय्य करणे . कार्यांत त्यांनी स्वतःला झोकून दिले.जातिव्यवस्था आणि अस्पृश्यता ह्यांचे निर्मूलन झाले पाहिजे, अशी त्यांची धारणा होती..."

जिवंत असताना सुद्धा स्वतःच्या पुस्तकांची रॉयल्टी त्यांनी किती घेतली वा घेतली का नाही याची मला आज कल्पना नाही.


व्हिक्टर ह्यूगो, १८५३ सालचे आणि साने गुरुजी

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

जोसेफ स्टालिन आणि त्यांची दाढी कुरवाळणारी अर्धनग्न अप्सरा ... Ironic Commentaries on the Propaganda of Communism

#OctoberRevolutionAt100  #आणिक्रांतीचामुडदापडला 

१००वर्षांपूर्वी आज, नवीन कॅलेंडरप्रमाणे,  नोव्हेंबर ७ १९१७ला, ऑक्टोबर रेव्होल्यूशन झाली   


Douglas Smith, ‘Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy’, 2012:
“...If socialism had yet to be achieved, if workers were not living better, if life was still a struggle, then this was not the fault of the leaders or a sign of the flaws within Marxist ideology; rather, it could be explained by the existence of class enemies—of saboteurs, wreckers, White Guards, and monarchists—waging a secret war from within to destroy the Soviet Union. Like other despised minorities, these former people became an easy scapegoat upon which to lay the blame for the Bolsheviks’ failures and a target at which popular anger could be directed without fear of reprisal....”

John Mosier, ‘Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941-1945’:
“The world according to Stalin is a world in which not only does the “improbable” become the sober truth, but in which virtually every fact is often in some way backward.”

“The 1999 Black Book of Communism—a highly respected work published by Harvard University Press—attempted the thankless task of tabulating the total communist death toll in the twentieth century. It came up with a figure approaching a hundred million. Here is the general breakdown:
•U.S.S.R.: 20 million
•China: 65 million
•Vietnam: 1 million
•North Korea: 2 million
•Cambodia: 2 million deaths
•Eastern Europe: 1 million
•Latin America: 150,000
•Africa: 1.7 million
•Afghanistan: 1.5 million
•The international communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000”
(‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism’ by Paul Kengor)


सौजन्य : रेगेंच्या साहित्याचे सध्याचे कॉपीराईट होल्डर्स , वाङ्मय शोभा , बुकगंगा.कॉम 

जगात सर्वात जास्त कम्युनिझमबद्दल आकर्षण अजूनही कोणत्या देशात वाटत असेल तर कदाचित भारतात...  आणि विशेषतः बंगाल, केरळ  आणि महाराष्ट्रात ....आणि मराठीत सिरीयस स्टफ लिहणाऱ्या अनेकांच्यात...त्यात बहुदा स्मरणरंजनाचा (nostalgia) मोठा भाग आहे....पण कशाबद्दल स्मरणरंजन? 

अलिकडल्या एका पोस्ट (१९/९/२०१६ रोजी) मध्ये मी मराठीतील प्रथितयश साहित्यिक दि. अनंत काणेकरांचा स्टालिन यांनी 'पोपट' कसा केला याबद्दल लिहले होते. पण काणेकरांचा मोठेपणा हा की त्यांची झालेली दिशाभूल त्यांनी प्रांजळपणे मान्य केली.


"... a dummy-like Stalin in a glowing white uniform is seated, arm around the shoulders of a nude nymph who caresses his chin as she ''paints'' the shadow he casts on the base of a nearby pillar...." (NYT)
 Artists: Vitaly Komar and Aleksandr Melamid


“From 1980 to 1983, Komar and Melamid painted more than two dozen canvases called the "Nostalgic Socialist Realism" series. Socialist Realism was the prescribed method for the official art of the Soviet Union, promoting an academic style and imagery that idealized the everyday life of the proletariat and glorified the dictator Joseph Stalin. In their parodies of Socialist Realism, which played on the subjects and styles of official art, Komar and Melamid made ironic commentaries on the propaganda of Communism.”
 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)