Sunday, 6 December 2009

Flaubert on Godlessness

In 'Novelists and the Critics of the 1940s', a Gore Vidal essay, comes this quote from Flaubert:
The melancholy of the ancients seems to me deeper than that of the moderns, who all more or less assume an immortality on the far side of the black pit. For the ancients the black pit was infinity itself; their dreams take shape and pass against a background of unchanging ebony. No cries, no struggles, only the fixity of the pensive gaze. THe gods being dead and Christ not yet born, there was between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius one unique moment in which there was man.