Tuesday, March 28, 2017

he himself wanted

...And people even went so far as to seek out, in an isolated past, men of independent talent upon whose reputation the present movement would not have seemed likely to have any influence, but of whom one of the new masters was understood to have spoken favorably. Often it was because a master, whoever he may be, however exclusive his school, judges in the light of his own untutored instincts, gives credit to talent wherever it is to be found, or rather not so much to talent as to some agreeable inspiration which he has enjoyed in the past, which reminds him of a precious moment in his adolescence. At other times it was because certain artists of an earlier generation have in some fragment of their work achieved achieved something that resembles what the master has gradually become aware that he himself wanted to do. Then he sees the old master as a sort of precursor; he values in him, under a wholly different form, an effort that is momentarily, partially fraternal. There are bits of Turner in the work of Poussin, phrases of Flaubert in Montesquieu. Sometimes, again, this rumored predilection of a master was due to an error, starting heaven knows where and circulated among his followers.
--from The Anxiety of Influence, by M. Proust, (C. Montcrieff, trans.)

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