Monday, July 9, 2012
Saturday, July 7, 2012
"It's annoying just listening to you. Why are you always so cheerful?"
"And why should I be depressed, for heaven's sake!" said his host.
"Why be depressed? Because things are depressing."
"You don't eat enough, that's all. Why don't you try to have a good dinner. Depression's only been invented recently: nobody used to be depressed before."
"Oh stop boasting. Are you saying you've never been depressed?"
"Never! I don't know what it is and I don't have the time for it. You wake up in the morning and the chef is already there and you have to order dinner. Then there's tea, then the farm manager, then you go fishing, and then it's dinnertime. You hardly have time for a snooze after dinner and the chef is back, you have to order supper. How do you find the time for depression?"
...."Believe me....that sometimes I'd like to have something to worry about just for a change, but I don't even have anyone who annoys me. I'm depressed, that's all."
- Gogol, Dead Souls (tr. Donald Rayfield)
Friday, July 6, 2012
No: I intend no introspection. I mark Henry James's sentence: Observe perpetually. Observe the oncome of age. Observe greed. Observe my own despondency. By that means it becomes serviceable. Or so I hope. I insist upon spending this time to the best advantage. I will go down with my colours flying. This I see verges on introspection; but doesn't quite fall in.
- Virginia Woolf, last full entry in her diary, Saturday 8 March 1941
Footnote: "Cf. 'Henry James' in Desmond MacCarthy's Portraits (1931), p. 155: 'He had been describing to me the spiral of depression which a recent nervous illness had compelled him....to descend...."But it has been good....for my genius." Then he added, "Never cease to watch whatever happens to you."'"
(cf. also Paul Scott, in the Raj Quartet: "And no experience, however disagreeable, is ever wasted.")