Leonardo Sciascia, The day of the Owl
“Truth is at the bottom of a well: look into it and you see the sun or the moon; but if you throw yourself inside, there’s no more sun or moon: just truth”.
The Myth of Zeuxis and Parrhasius
“Pliny the Elder recorded a myth surrounding a competition between the two best painters of the fourth century BCE Zeuxis and Parrhasius.
It is said that Zeuxis created grapes that were so realistic that birds saw the image and attempted to eat then. Shortly after he went to view Parrhasius painting, and asked that the curtain be lifted so he could look at the image only to discover that the curtain was itself the painting. Zeuxis acknowledged his defeat, because while he had tricked birds the curtain of Parrhasuis had deceived a man and fellow artist”.
Whitley, James. The Archeology of Ancient Greece. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Leo Tolstoj, Anna Karenina
“He was making a sketch for the figure of a man in a violent rage. A sketch had been made before, but he was dissatisfied with it. ‘No, that one was better… Where is it?’ He went back to his wife, and scowling, and not looking at her, asked his eldest little girl, where was that piece of paper he had given them? The paper with the discarded sketch on it was found, but it was dirty, and spotted with candle-grease. Still, he took the sketch, laid it on his table, and, moving a little away, screwing up his eyes, he fell to gazing at it. All at once he smiled and gesticulated gleefully.
‘That’s it! that’s it!’ he said, and, at once picking up the pencil, he began rapidly drawing. The spot of tallow had given the man a new pose. He had sketched this new pose, when all at once he recalled the face of a shopkeeper of whom he had bought cigars, a vigorous face with a prominent chin, and he sketched this very face, this chin on to the figure of the man. He laughed aloud with delight. The figure from a lifeless imagined thing had become living, and such that it could never be changed. That figure lived, and was clearly and unmistakably defined. The sketch might be corrected in accordance with the requirements of the figure, the legs, indeed, could and must be put differently, and the position of the left hand must be quite altered; the hair too might be thrown back. But in making these corrections he was not altering the figure but simply getting rid of what concealed the figure. He was, as it were, stripping off the wrappings which hindered it from being distinctly seen. Each new feature only brought out the whole figure in all its force and vigor, as it had suddenly come to him from the spot of tallow”.
Carolyn Steedman, The space of memory in an archive
“The past is searched for something that confirms the searcher in his or her sense of self, confirms them as they want to be, and feel in some measure that we already are [but] the object has been altered by the very search for it, what has actually been lost can never be found. This is not to say that nothing is found, but that thing is always something else, a creation of the search itself and the time the search took.”
Philip Dick, The Man in the High Castle
“We really do see astigmatically, in fundamental sense: our space and time creations of our own psyche and when these momentarily falter – like acute disturbance of middle ear. Occasionally we list eccentrically, all sense of balance gone”.