Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letters to Cicero

Yesterday or maybe the day before, I was reading through my notes from the interview that never was, when I came across a passage, one of Markson’s captured anecdotes. It was in Reader’s Block, and I had marked it with three asterisks — my highest rating, given to those parts I absolutely needed to ask Markson about. “Petrarch sometimes wrote letters to long-dead authors,” Markson writes. “He was also a dedicated hunter of classic manuscripts. Once, after discovering some previously unknown works of Cicero, he wrote Cicero the news.” Reading that again, I thought that maybe art is, in the end, like so many letters to Cicero, notes addressed to the dead, to one’s ancestors and betters, or simply to those one had in mind while working.

— From Paul Maliszewski’s tribute to David Markson in n+1.

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