Sunday, 30 January 2022

The Books of Jacob

A very long book sits in your life like an accidental landscape you inhabit when you choose. I inhabit The Books of Jacob, its pages numbered backward, in homage to hebrew, every day or two. There are good reading days and poor, distracted ones. Either way the reader joins the mesh of the book, which is as variously produced as the bible: voices upon voices, suppositions, myths, reports, enquiries, responses, with a few illustration pauses, as with Sebald and others. 

Reading the books of Jacob meshes with the rest of my life. I am an onlooker, commentator, an unwitting, hoodwinked member of the tribe. I enjoy the digressive testimonials of people. I'm not sure who they are, and they don't know me either. I like the polysyllabic names; clutches of consonants have a way of settling the nerves, especially in winter. 

Today I read an exchange of letters between Elżbieta Drużbacka and Father Chmielowski. Elżbieta writes of bread and mushrooms, querns and looms. Father Chmielowski writes of learning and freedom.

You, my Friend, are completely free in what You write, while I must stand on the Foundations of that which has already been written. You draw from the Imagination and the Heart, scrupulously reach into Your Feelings and Your Fantasies as tho' into a purse, and scatter gold Coins all around You, where they gleam, luring the Masses. I contribute Nothing of my own, merely citing and compelling. I mark my sources very carefully, which is why I place throughout a sort of 'Teste', which advises the Reader to go and see for himself in the Mother Book, to note how Information weaves together, gathering across the Centuries.

No comments :

Post a Comment