“He showed me his kabbalistic collection, and I admired the manuscripts. In my enthusiasm I said, quite naively: ‘How wonderful, Herr Professor, that you have studied all this!’ Whereupon the old gentleman replied: ‘What, am I supposed to *read* this rubbish, too?’ That was a great moment in my life.”—Gershom Scholem, From Berlin to Jerusalem (visiting Philip Bloch)
"A revolution to emancipate the individual must necessarily regard tradition, the control of the present by the past, as its enemy; if the human individual is to be really free, then time must also be individualized into a succession of immediate moments. The kind of society, therefore, which it tends to create, is an atomized society of individuals, with neither a common myth nor a common cult, but united moment by moment by what they are reading."—W. H. Auden and Norman Holmes Pearson, 1950, introduction to The Portable Romantic Poets
I love that the “career” section for Norman Holmes Pearson on wikipedia seems to have been back-translated into English.
Q: Do you see your work as fitting into the traditions of European fiction—or indeed any national or regional tradition?
A: There are many traditions of European fiction and I think my work has been influenced by some of them: above all a Central-European tradition of the oneiric grotesque (Kafka, Kubin); a tradition of French surrealism (Breton, Mandiargues, Gracq), pre-surrealism (Lautréamont, Jarry, Roussel) and para-surrealism (Michaux); a tradition of “phenomenological” fiction (Proust, Rilke, Larbaud); and also a tradition of generic adventure (Verne) and detective stories (Conan-Doyle, Souvestre & Allain)…
From a short interview with Michael Ajvaz at Dalkey Archive. He nicely summarizes the strands of literature I hope to cover on Writers No One Reads. Cram in some loonyness from Russia and the Americas and my entire reading life is revealed.