Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Č is for Čapek

‘If you are prudent it is possible to say that you are overcautious; if you are clever, that you are facetious; if you are given to simple and objective arguments, a good point to make is that you are commonplace or trivial; if you are prone to give abstract reasons, one can say that you are a dry intellectual, and so on. For an able controversialist there are simply no qualities, convictions, or mental states which cannot be referred to by an expression which in itself discloses the appalling emptiness, obtuseness, and pettiness of the opponent.’

- Karel Čapek,
Twelve Figures in Fighting with Pens, or a Handbook of Literary Polemic.

Apocryphal Tales is not in the library. So I will have to buy it. You all ought to as well. You should also buy The War Against the Newts. Čapek is sane and cheerful against the terrifying backdrop of a World Gone Mad, which is just what we need nowadays.

Okay, okay, I admit it. I only went to that part of the library because I wanted to write a Lord of the Rings pastiche on The Good Soldier Švejk.

But I have thought better of it.

For the time being.


Mike Taylor said...

Hey, Evil Dr. Clam! Just wanted you to know what, because of your B-is-for post, I bought Borges' collected short stories. Not read 'em yet, I am still in the middle of some Chesterton, but I will. Please tell me L is going to be for Lewis.

Dr. Clam said...

G'day Mike! Glad to hear I have done some good in the world. I hope you will not be disappointed like the guy I once recommended Gilliam's 'Twelve Monkeys' to. His girlfriend hated it and he had a dreadful time.

You will just have to wait and see with L... ;)

Dave said...

People who hate '12 Monkeys' are wrong and deserve their misery.

I suspect Clam is going to cheat on L and go for Laurell K Hamilton

Dr. Clam said...

O frabjous day! You do not have to buy 'War with the Newts': there is a free e-book!

Er, I've looked up Laurell K Hamilton and she sounds scary. I suspect I will do something else equally cheaty...

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get Čapek's text on literary polemic online? I have been looking for the text since I accidentally read it in Russian. As my Russian might be better, but the Czech I do not know at all, I am eagerly looking for the same text in English...

If not,in which book it is published? I checked the Tales, but did not find it there.

Dr. Clam said...

Greetings Anonymous!

I can't remember the name of the book, but it was a hardcopy out of the university library, not on the web. I will find it again tommorrow and get back to you.

Dr. Clam said...


The web has not provided an electronic version... but good luck!