David-Markson

The curator’s job—to recall, choose, arrange: to impose order and so communicate meaning—is marvelously synechdochic of the life of the solipsist, of the survival strategies apposite one’s existence as monad in a world of diffracted fact.

Except a big question is: whence facts, if the world is “empty”?

—  David Foster Wallace on David Markson's Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Actually I did read, at times, over the years. Especially when I was mad, I read a good deal.

One winter, I read almost all of the ancient Greek plays. As a matter of fact I read them out loud. And throughout, finishing the reverse side of each page would tear it from the book and drop it into my fire.

Aeschylus and Sophocles and Euripides, I turned into smoke.

In a manner of speaking, one might think of it that way.

In a different manner of speaking, one might declare it was Helen and Clytemnestra and Electra, whom I did that with.

For the life of me I have no idea why I did that.

If I had understood why I was doing that, doubtless I would not have been mad.

Had I not been mad, doubtless I would not have done it at all.

I am less than positive that those last two sentences make any particular sense.

In either case neither do I remember where it was, exactly, that I read the plays and burned the pages.

Possibly it had been after I had gone to ancient Troy, which may have been what put me in mind of the plays to begin with.

Or would reading the plays have been what put me in mind of going to ancient Troy?

It did run on, that madness.

—  David Markson – from Wittgenstein’s Mistress
Once, Turner had himself lashed to the mast of a ship for several hours, during a furious storm, so that he could later paint the storm.

Obviously, it was not the storm itself that Turner intended to paint. What he intended to paint was a representation of the storm.

One’s language is frequently imprecise in that manner, I have discovered.
—  David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress