Edgar Allen Poe, Julian Barnes, Edwidge Danticat, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade

De Amerikaanse schrijver Edgar Allen Poe werd geboren op 19 januari 1809 in Boston. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2010.


Uit: The Black Cat


„For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not –and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified –have tortured –have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror –to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place –some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiar of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.“




Edgar Allen Poe (19 januari 1809 – 7 oktober 1849)

Portret door de moderne Duitse schilder Anton Henning



De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2010.


Uit: Flaubert’s Parrot


„Three points need to be made. One is that the writer chooses – as far as he can – the extent of what you call his involvement in life: despite his reputation, Flaubert occupied a half-and-half position. ‘It isn’t the drunkard who writes the drinking song’: he knew that. On the other hand, it isn’t the teetotaller either. He put it best, perhaps, when he said that the writer must wade into life as into the sea,but only up to the navel.

Secondly, when readers complain about the lives of writers – why didn’t he do this; why didn’t he complain to the newspapers about that; why wasn’t he more involved in life? – aren’t they really asking a simpler, and vainer, question: why isn’t he more like us? But if a writer were more like a reader, he’d be a reader, not a writer: it’s as uncomplicated as that.

Thirdly, what is the thrust of the complaint as far as the books are concerned? Presumably the regret that Flaubert wasn’t more involved in life isn’t just a philantropic wish for him: if only old Gustave had a wife and kiddies, he wouldn’t have been so glum about the whole shooting match?….. For myself, I cannot think that, for instance, the portrait of provincial manners in Madame Bovary is lacking in some particular aspect which would have been remedied had its author clinked tankards of cider every evening with some gouty Norman bergere.”



Julian Barnes (Leicester,  19 januari 1946)




De Amerikaanse schrijfster Edwidge Danticat werd geboren in Port-au-Prince op Haïti op 19 januari 1969. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2010.


Uit: Breath, Eyes, Memory


„A flattened and drying daffodil was dangling off the little card that I had made my aunt Atie for Mother’s Day. I pressed my palm over the flower and squashed it against the plain beige cardboard. When I turned the corner near the house, I saw her sitting in an old rocker in the yard, staring at a group of children crushing dried yellow leaves into the ground. The leaves had been left in the sun to dry. They would be burned that night at the konbit potluck dinner.
I put the card back in my pocket before I got to the yard. When Tante Atie saw me, she raised the piece of white cloth she was embroidering and waved it at me. When I stood in front of her, she opened her arms just wide enough for my body to fit into them.
“How was school?” she asked, with a big smile.
She bent down and kissed my forehead, then pulled me down onto her lap.
“School was all right,” I said. “I like everything but those reading classes they let parents come to in the afternoon. Everybody’s parents come except you. I never have anyone to read with, so Monsieur Augustin always pairs me off with an old lady who wants to learn her letters, but does not have children at the school.”
“I do not want a pack of children teaching me how to read,” she said. “The young should learn from the old. Not the other way. Besides, I have to rest my back when you have your class. I have work.”
A blush of embarrassment rose to her brown cheeks.

“At one time, I would have given anything to be in school. But not at my age. My time is gone. Cooking and cleaning, looking after others, that’s my school now. That schoolhouse is your school. Cutting cane was the only thing for a young one to do when I was your age. That is why I never want to hear you complain about your school.” She adjusted a pink head rag wrapped tightly around her head and dashed off a quick smile revealing two missing side teeth. “As long as you do not have to work in the fields, it does not matter that I will never learn to read that ragged old Bible under my pillow.”


Edwidge Danticat (Port-au-Prince, 19 januari 1969)




De Oostenrijkse schrijver Gustav Meyrink werd op 19 januari 1868 te Wenen geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2010.


Uit: Das grüne Gesicht




Chidher Grün

las der vornehm gekleidete Fremde, der auf dem Fußsteig der Jodenbreestraat unschlüssig

stehengeblieben war, auf der schwarzen Ladentafel eines schräg gegenüberliegenden

Gebäudes eine kuriose Inschrift aus weißen, auffallend verschnörkelten Buchstaben.

Neugierig geworden, oder um der Menge nicht länger als Zielscheibe zu dienen, die ihn in

holländisch bärenhafter Plumpheit umdrängte und ihre Glossen über seinen Gehrock, seinen

blanken Zylinder und seine Handschuhe machte, – lauter Dinge, die in diesem Stadtteil

Amsterdams zu den Seltenheiten gehörten, – überquerte er zwischen hundebespannten

Gemüsekarren hindurch den Fahrdamm, gefolgt von ein paar Gassenbuben, die, die Hände

tief in die unförmlich weiten, blauen Leinwandhosen vergraben, mit krummen Rücken,

eingezogenem Bauch und gesenkten Häuptern, dünne Gipspfeifen durch die roten

Halstücherknoten gesteckt, sich in schlurrenden Holzschuhen faul und schweigsam hinter ihm


Das Haus, in dem der Laden des Chidher Grün in einen gürtelartig rings herumlaufenden,

rechts und links bis in zwei parallele Quergäßchen sich hineinziehenden schmalen Glasvorbau

mündete, schien, nach den trüben leblosen Fensterscheiben zu schließen, ein Warenspeicher

zu sein, dessen Rückseite vermutlich in eine sogenannte Gracht abfiel – eine der zahlreichen,

für den Handelsverkehr bestimmten Wasserstraßen.“


Gustav Meyrink (19 januari 1868 – 4 december 1932)

Portret door Carl Alexander Wittek, 1919



De Portugese dichter Eugénio de Andrade (eig. José Fontinhas) werd geboren op 19 januari 1923 in Póvoa de Atalaia. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2010.


They are lithesome, full of grace.
Ferocious, too,
like a bunch of burning rooftop cats.

They are young and they are dancing – as beautiful
as dunes, wheat, mustangs.

Inhabited Body
Body on a horizon of water,
body open
to the slow intoxication of fingers,
body defended
by the splendour of apples,
surrendered hill by hill,
body lovingly made moist
by the tongue’s pliant sun.

Body with the taste of cropped grass
in a secret garden,
body where I am at home,
body where I lie down
to suck up silence,
to hear
the murmur of blades of grain,
to breathe
the deep dark sweetness of the bramble bush.

Body of a thousand mouths,
all tawny with joy,
all ready to sip,
ready to bite till a scream
bursts from the bowels
and mounts to the towers
and pleads for a dagger.
Body for surrendering to tears.
Body ripe for death.

Body for imbibing to the end –
my ocean, brief
and white,
my secret vessel,
my propitious wind,
my errant, unknown,
endless navigation.
Vertaald door Alexis Levitin


Eugénio de Andrade (19 januari 1923 – 13 juni 2005)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e januari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.