The essence of an orange.
Flaubert's advice to writers hangs about in my mind as try to keep my desk tidy. "Be regular and orderly in your life that you may violent and original in your work."
"They think they rule the world," says her mother apologetically as her little girl all rosy cheeked in the cold charges under our feet. Ah but they do.
Flaubert: a stern reminder to all those critics who try to make pitifully simplistic relationships between what an author writes and what happens in his life. Even worse with composers: eg, "X's wife had died the previous winter and his continuing sorrow is obvious in the adagio passage in the second movement."
The word "madness" is often used quite casually about novelists and poets. Often because they've gone for stream-of-consciousness writing. No mention of the mental organisation such writing demands.
I always think of Flaubert as the novelist's novelist. He was so hardworking and took more pains with his work than any other writer I think, and that includes even you.
The Orange, which is so often depicted with its skins on, here takes on a new kind of orangeness, an essence picture that goes beneath surfaces.
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