F R A N C I S    P O N G E
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PREFACE TO A BESTIARY

 

Translated by Serge Gavronsky

 

Les Fleurys
7 - 30 -59

 

How [was he called] (1) did the lion live [who] whose portrait Rembrandt drew which is to be found on page X . . . ? What kind of an individual was he? [how did he live?] You'll say that's of little import: All lions look alike. Thus, that lion is beautiful because Rembrandt marked him with the essential traits of the species? Or was it because [   ] (2) [those] traits were those of a single individual of that species?

*

      [whatever it may be,] That lion has a magnificent expression — rancor pitted against destiny [looked at straight ahead with despair, pity, astonishment, resolution (o! victim, I shall be forced to eat you up)] Goodness forced into becoming murderous and which [weakened] resting [stares at destiny in the face and thinks about the tragedy of life] [of which it is both the victim and the hangman (the executor)]
       (Who is that hero (Shakespeare's) who successively tries out generosity then, becoming a misanthrope, cupidity, ferociousness? — It's Timon of Athens)
       Generosity weakened
       Victorious force (and saddened by its victory)

*

 

they are those                                                 similar to
of my             Level                                       a Bach architecture
                     [those] of my                             a Schubert melody
              highest      nobility
                      [Those of                                 as in a Greek or Egyptian temple
                  my lofty                                       as in ideas
Life at the level of art                                      ceremonious moments
of the eternal: lofty sentiments

 

 

 

 

 


         1. Crossed out.
         2. Crossed out and illegible.


                                         Notes from the 29th to 31-7-1959
There are monster-animals (or demons)
         and animals-charming marvels (angels)
                               nevertheless each one [    ] has its
                 Does?     particular damnation
                 Gazelles?
                               The weak ones? The innocent ones?
         The angels.      The fugitives? The vegetarians?
         The vegetarians?       Not a trace of ferocity
                                Birds?

 

 

n e x t

 

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