"I have liked remembering almost as much as I have liked living."



The incomparable William Maxwell. What a writer; what a mensch. I met him years ago, when I worked at Books & Co. He was classy, and kind (and doesn't this classiness and kindness come through in the prose?)


At lunch today, I learned, from designer Barbara DeWilde, that years ago, she had commissioned Jonathan Hoefler to design a typeface for Mr. Maxwell, for use in, and on, all of his books: "William Maxwell Roman." It made its first appearance on Maxwell's ALL THE DAYS AND NIGHTS. His very own face! How old-school is that? That a designer would even care enough to do such a thing! That a publisher would let her!

That the economy should be so flush!


And here it is!




Evidently, there was another prestigious Knopf author at that time (not naming names) who was deeply jealous that a typeface wasn't commissioned in his honor. Well sir, not everyone can be William Maxwell, can they?


......

Ok, ok. I'm on a Shostakovich bender. But...I just sat down to play the first Prelude and Fugue, and was wondering, how could such a chromatic work, so clouded with dissonance, sound so...innocent? The answer is...
genius
.


Permit me to free-associate for a sec.
Mitya, down there in the last two posts,
got me thinking about Yuri Gagarin;

This is not a photo of Yuri Gagarin:



But how rad is Bob?
......

AND SPEAKING OF D.SCH*
HERE
is a rare video of him performing the gangbusters cadenza and finale of his own first piano concerto.
and...OMG. He doesn't even break a sweat.
(I don't recognize the conductor (Evgeny Svetlanov?))


*

"THE LIMIT OF LANGUAGE IS SHOWN BY ITS BEING IMPOSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE THE FACT WHICH CORRESPONDS TO A SENTENCE WITHOUT SIMPLY REPEATING THE SENTENCE."

I cam across this passage yesterday in Wittgenstein's CULTURE AND VALUE- and immediately, superficially, thought it to be a less than accurate statement- though upon reflection (and certainly taken in the context of W.'s work), it is a bracingly profound thought.
I thought I'd share it.


MY WORD, BUT THIS PERSON'S WORK IS BEAUTIFUL...


(EVA HAN, COURTESY OF THE SERIF)

I saw Thomas Pynchon the other night.

I know I did, and there is really no sense in you trying to convince me otherwise.

Here's what went down:

My wife and I were on our way to a dinner party on the UWS, and were enjoying a romantic stroll down Riverside Drive. It was late evening, and the embankment upon which we were walking was twilit and deserted.

I had been thinking about Pynchon a ton lately, having just heard, two weeks earlier, that Penguin had received a new manuscript from him (so soon?). Then, this week, the story went public concerning the new book, and this knowledge spurred me to revisit my favorite passages of Against The Day (which I love, along with pretty much everything else the man has written), and this re-reading, in turn, prompted me to re-examine those old photos of T.P. himself; photos we fans know so well. So, admittedly, he was on my mind. But look at it this way, I REALLY have looked at those photos- and, unless the man has had extensive plastic surgery, I would (or so I tell myself) recognize him anywhere. So...

Here comes, ambling up Riverside, the only other person within sight of us; a lone rangy fella in his late sixties or thereabouts, in a dark jacket, and...that face- THAT FACE! I mean, it just had to be. There's no way it wasn't.

So I turn to my wife and whisper "That was Thomas Pynchon" and she looks at me as she is wont to, with an expression that is equal parts long-suffering and vaguely amused- and we turn around simultaneously, and...there's no one there. Well, ok, I thought, I just imagined the entire affair- time to get me one of those rooms with the rubber walls.

But on second thought, it occurs to me, he might live in the middle of the block and might have just ducked into the lobby by the time we spun around. In any case, that was that. Until...

We walk a couple blocks further down to where the party is being hosted, and our coats are taken, and a drink is put in our hands, and we're chatting, and one drink leads to another, and before you know it the night is almost over. At some point there's a lull in the conversation, and the earlier event comes back to me, and I say (somewhat self-mockingly) "I just saw Thomas Pynchon" to which two people (of impeccable reputations, credentials) respond that they know Pynchon's realtor, and lo, "Pynchon lives two blocks up:" i.e. ON THE VERY BLOCK where we had walked passed him.

Seriously- it was him.

And, what's more- he knew that I knew. I know this too.

Hand to God. And don't let the expression on my wife's face dissuade you.

.....
(ARC refers to THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART, not, Advance Readers Edition)

SELINA SWAYNE
OK. I ADMIT IT. I'M A 



*"SOMEONE WHO CULTIVATES FEMALE SOCIETY, ESPECIALLY FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT"
......
SOME "LITTLE ARCHITECTURAL MAGAZINES"
OF THE 60'S AND 70'S."






I'm not sure I know what this pattern has to do with Bach, imitative counterpoint, or equal-temperament, but it is lovely all the same. It should be mentioned (probably first and foremost) that Rosalyn Tureck's performance on this LP is fascinating and worth a listen. Two interesting Tureck factoids: she was Glenn Gould's only cited influence, and, even more interestingly:
made her Carnegie Hall debut on the theramin!


"SLICED BOOKS" BY STEFANO ARIENTI

OLDER ENTRIES