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Literature and Ideas

Returneth to Vomit

Head of a Dog (1930).

Angry Dog (ca. 1938–43).

Both watercolours are by Edvard Munch and based on his neighbour's dog, which he wasn't, I think, entirely enamoured with.

We all fuck up down here:
so many madmen run past
in pursuit of shadows that they're,
more often than not, impossible to tot.
We really ought to send them off to meet that dog that Aesop talked about.
It saw its prey was walking waterways,
so thought of nothing more than diving in to drown itself — and ended up
with both the prey and shadow splashed away.
Chacun se trompe ici-bas : On voit courir après l’ombre Tant de fous, qu’on n’en sait pas La plupart du temps le nombre.
Au Chien dont parle Ésope il faut les renvoyer. Ce Chien, voyant sa proie en l’eau représentée, La quitta pour l’image, et pensa se noyer ; La rivière devint tout d’un coup agitée. À toute peine il regagna les bords, Et n’eut ni l’ombre ni le corps.

Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695)

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