Sunday, August 14, 2022

Reading 18

Edgar Allan Poe, "Poetry"

This poem is so short and odd, I don't know what to say about it. Here it is, in full:

Last night, with many cares & toils oppres'd

Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest—

Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"

A little fable. A man goes before an open door, hoping to get access to the Law, but there's a Doorkeeper who forbids him to enter. The man waits outside the open door until he becomes an old man. Before he's about to die, he asks the Doorkeeper if everyone who wants to go before the Law must have admittance from the Doorkeeper. "This door was intended only for you," replies the Doorkeeper, "and now I will shut it."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Art"

As always with Emerson, it's difficult to summarize his essays, since he wanders from thought to thought. But perhaps his most original proposition is that art calls us back to ourselves and gets us to appreciate the splendor of the world we already live in. If we were able to perceive the beauty that is all already around us and in us, we would have no need of art. All art is religious art, according to Emerson.

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