swallowing our heroes

Every fury on earth has been absorbed in time, as art, or as religion, or as authority in one form or another. The deadliest blow the enemy of the human soul can strike is to do fury honor. Swift, Blake, Beethoven, Christ, Joyce Kafka, name me a one who has not been thus castrated. Official acceptance is the one unmistakable symptom that salvation is beaten again, and is the one surest sign of fatal misunderstanding, and is the kiss of Judas.

This is from James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which I am reading in a very nice Library of America Edition.

“The Library of America”, the back of the book would like to remind you, “is dedicated to preserving America’s best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts.”