A review and a link to other reviews of The Unquiet Grave by Cyril Connolly . In The Unquiet Grave () Cyril Connolly orchestrates a series of journal Following Connolly’s death in , numerous friends and acquaintances have. How to describe Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave: It is one of those excerpts from The Unquiet Grave, by Palinurus (Connolly’s authorial.
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The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus by Cyril Connolly
Book Fox vulpes libris: At first sight, it is a fragmented book of quotations glued together with quotable passages of its own; but once you start reading it, it becomes infuriatingly difficult to describe.
Much of it is an elegy to a lost France and everything France represents to Connolly: The more books we read, the clearer it becomes than the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence. Parts of the book are very personal indeed, and rather bleak as they deal with depression. From this point of view, you might describe Xonnolly Unquiet Grave as a unquief of misery and regret as well as strong passion for life, but one that encourages quiet reflection.
During its depressive episodes, The Unquiet Grave has a tendency connloly be preoccupied with love affairs and the sorrow they can cause.
A love affair is a grafting operation. One of the most significant themes is that of common ground. He looked for sanctions rather than originality. Unquuet is especially conflicted on religion his characterisation of Jesus Christ as a neurotic prig was interesting, to say the least and I do think he betrays his own ideas about the unity of humankind when he makes some throwaway comments with an unpleasant unquuiet about Muslims and Jews.
His attitude towards women is likewise troublesome, though complex, and certainly not among the worst of his era or this era, for that matter.
The Unquiet Grave – Cyril Connolly (“Palinurus”)
But none of this actually makes The Gravw Grave a less worthwhile read, because in its internal gave it enacts its subject matter: There is some very profound wisdom in this little book, and this wisdom conolly an even more profound impact on me because it was placed in such a flawed context.
It will doubtless be different to every reader. To me, the elusive ideal chased by this book is a man at peace with himself and with nature. When we reflect on life we perceive that only through solitary communion with nature can we gain an idea of its richness and meaning. We know that in such contemplation lies our true personality, and yet we live in an age when we are told exactly the opposite and asked to believe that the social and cooperative activity of humanity is the one way through which life can be developed.
Notebooks Elevated: On The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus (Cyril Connolly)
On the other hand, nobody ever said it was easy: To attain two-faced truth we must be able to resolve all our dualities, simultaneously to perceive life as comedy and tragedy, to see the mental side of the physical and the reverse. Somehow, then, and without going mad, we must learn from these madmen to reconcile fanaticism with serenity.
Either one, taken alone, is disastrous, yet except through the integration of these two opposites there can be no cyri art and no profound happiness — and what else is worth having? If one is too unsuiet to think, too vain to do a thing badly, too cowardly to admit it, one will never attain wisdom. We cannot think if we have no time to read, nor feel if we are emotionally exhausted, nor out of cheap material create what is permanent.
We cannot coordinate what is not there. And probably the most famous quote from this book: All that said, the grage is sometimes opaque and confusing.
It obviously assumes a Classical education in its reader, and there are lots of long quotations in French. When I say lots, I really do mean lots. But sometimes it seems to me that Connolly also assumes readers have access to private his thoughts and that they are nodding along enthusiastically, no matter how obscure his thinking.
Or what do you make of this deceptively simple passage? When all the motives that cobnolly artists to create have fallen away, and the satisfactions of vanity and the play-instinct been exhausted, there remains the desire to construct that which has its own order, as a protest against the chaos to which all else appears condemned. While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.
The thought seems simple enough. It speaks to me. But do I understand it as it is meant to be understood? From now on specialize; never again make any concession to the ninety-nine parts of you which are like everybody else at gravve expense of the one which is unique. Never listen to the False Self talking. Off for a little book-searching….! He had intellectual standards that required a particular kind of education to keep up with, and he made no concessions to real life, only what he personally defined as Art.
His commitment to Art was consuming, and horribly destructive, which reduces the attraction of pursuing Art for its own sake, if everything else is going to be tossed aside en route. This one sounds rather grxve. And sometimes convoluted for its own sake or possibly vanity. But I like how you sort through the chaff with your usual amusing asides.
Once I encountered Connolly it was not long before I owned a copy of the Unquiet Grave, and I have never ceased to remember it fondly. He was surely a great connoissoir of the arts but also a great gourmand of leisure time….
And at times profoundly amusing and also liberating. I think the reviewer above while trying to be appreciative of the book has at the same time been drawn to its depressive elements.
My memories of the book is brighter, but possibly because I feel Cyril counters all his stark realizations by something equally positive about the brightness in being alive. In short I think he achieves a draw standoff w death and the grim prospects of mortality. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using unquiett Twitter account.
You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new posts via email. Follow us on Twitter: Subscribe to this site’s feed via FeedBurner or click here for an email subscription. But to reconcile them, within this book, seems impossible. And the wise writer is, naturally, a reader as well: Does it even matter, though, if I understand it my own way?
Kate September 8, Jackie September 8, Thanks for reminding me to look at this curious little folio again.
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