Friday, May 21, 2010

The Hegel-Bishop connection

"The human being is this night, this empty nothing, that contains everything in its simplicity... One catches sight of this night when one looks human beings in the eye."
--Hegel, Jena Realphilosophie lectures, 1805-1806

"If you catch him,
hold up a flashlight to his eye. It's all dark pupil,
an entire night itself, whose haired horizon tightens
as he stares back, and closes up the eye."
--Elizabeth Bishop, "The Man-Moth," 1935

I like this connection between two topics on which I'm currently writing, or at least about which I'm thinking. The Hegel will be a proper, you know, article. The Bishop, hopefully, a soon-to-come post on this blog.

By the way, here are more passages said to be reminiscent of the Hegel above. I think the Bishop is closer than any of them. And I seriously doubt Bishop ever read Hegel.

One more "by the way." Bishop claimed that the title of "The Man-Moth" was inspired by a New York Times misprint for "mammoth." (Well, in a note to the poem she only says "newspaper misprint," but in a letter she mentions specifically the Times.) Sad to say, neither a NYT search nor a Lexis-Nexis one uncovered the misprint in question.

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