Quotes: Duchamp, Poe, Borges, James

Duchamp: “I found some common points between chess and painting. Actually when you play a game of chess it is like designing something or constructing a mechanism of some kind by which you win or lose. The competitive side has no importance, but the thing itself is very, very plastic, and that is probably what attracted me in the game.” (“Regions which are not ruled by time and space…” in The Writings of Marcel Duchamp (Da Capo, 1973), 136.)

“…je n’accept pas de discuter sur l’existence de Dieu__ ce qui veut dire que le terme “athée” (en opposition au mot “croyant”) ne m’interesse même pas, non plus le mot croyant ni opposition de leurs sens bien clairs:

Pour moi il y a autre chose que oui, non et indifférent__ C’est par example l’absence d’investigations de ce genre.”

-M. Duchamp, letter to Andre Breton, 4 Oct 1954.

[I refuse to get involved in arguments on the existence of God–which means that the term “atheist” (as opposed to the word “believer”) is of no interest to me at all, no more than the word believer or the opposition of their very clear meanings. For me, there is something other than yes, no and indifferent–the absence of investigations of this sort, for instance.]

Edgar Allan Poe: “There is no greater mistake than the supposition that a true originality is a mere matter of impulse or inspiration. To originate is carefully, patiently, and understandingly to combine.”

[According to an essay in Poe Studies it is from an essay “Magazine Writing — Peter Snook” (1836), not where I found it (quoted somewhere).]

Lead me to this Metcalf quote.

Conte uses this as his epigraph to his chapter on proceduralism in Design and Debris:

There is an abundance of incredible systems of pleasing design or sensational type. The metaphysicians of Tlon do not seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding. They judge that metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature. They know that a system is nothing more than the subordination of all aspects of the universe to any one such aspect.

-Borges, “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”

Quoted in The Recognitions (186) and explained at the Gaddis Annotations site:

Henry James “To work successfully beneath a few grave, rigid laws”: expressing his enthusiasm for dramatic form, James wrote in a review of Tennyson’s Queen Mary:

“The five-act drama . . . is like a box of fixed dimensions and inelastic material, into which a mass of precious things are to be packed away. . . . The precious things in question seem out of all proportion to the compass of the receptacle; but the artist has an assurance that with patience and skill a place may be made for each, and that nothing need be clipped or crumpled, squeezed or damaged. . . . To work beneath a few grave, rigid laws is always a strong man’s highest ideal of success.”