Friday, April 03, 2015

But to enjoy the Low Countries, we have to put on a very particular pair of spectacles and bend our nose well over our task, and, beyond our consciousness that our gains are real gains / H James #QotD

IMG_20150401_173202220"But to enjoy the Low Countries, we have to put on a very particular pair of spectacles and bend our nose well over our task, and, beyond our consciousness that our gains are real gains, remain decidedly at loss how to classify them. This is the charming thing in Holland — the way one feels one's observation lowered to a relish of the harmonies of the minor key; persuaded to respect small things and take note of small differences; so that really a week's sojourn here, if properly used, ought to make one at the worst a more reasonable, and at the best a more kindly, person. The beauty which is no beauty; the ugliness which is not ugliness; the poetry which is prose, and the prose which is poetry; the landscape which seems to be all sky until you have taken particular pains to discover it, and turns out to be half water when you have discovered it; the virtues, when they are graceful (like cleanliness), exaggerated to a vice, and when they are sordid (like the getting and keeping of money), refined to a dignity; the mild gray light which produced in Rembrandt the very genius of chiaroscuro ; the stretch of whole provinces on the principles of a billiard- table, which produced a school of consummate landscapists; the extraordinary, reversal of custom, in which man seems, with a few windmills and ditches, to do what he will, and Providence, holding the North Sea in the hollow of his hand, what he can... " p. 383




2015.03.30-DSC00498Henry James, Transatlantic Sketches (1875)

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