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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Friday, 12 April 2013
A reflective mood
Ill Friday and Saturday. Migraine. Recovering today, and this evening began to think of Part III of Book II of "Old Wives Tale". Last night I had news of settlement of all questions which might lead to financial worry. Therefore quite free in mind as to this for a long time to come. I felt free.
Yet today, somewhat depressed, entirely without cause, save physical fatigue after indisposition. This shows how 'the state of mild worry' is a habit, even with professed philosophers.
In reflective mood, I re-read the following which I wrote when I was thirty:
"There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul. Because her instinct has told her, or because she has been reliably informed, the faded virgin knows that the supreme joys are not for her; she knows by a process of the intellect; but she can feel her deprivation no more than the young mother can feel the hardship of the virgin's lot. Of all the inhabitants of the Inferno, none but Lucifer knows that hell is hell, and the secret function of purgatory is to make of heaven an effective reality. But to the artist is sometimes granted a sudden, transient insight which serves in this matter for experience. A flash, and where previously the brain held a dead fact, the soul grasps a living truth! At moments we are all artists."
I still think there is something in this, though the overblown language weakens rather than strengthens the argument and my example was not well chosen. I would write it differently today. Nevertheless, to imaginatively inhabit another being, and to convey that imagined experience by force of words, or image, or sound, is the genius of the artist.