Monday, February 15, 2010

An excerpt from "Homo Sapiens" by Stanisław Przybyszewski

Which is a great book and a book that's available through Google books, although it hasn't been in print since the '60s and is totally unavailable.

Talking about love:

"You see," Falk smiled, "I have good cause to be silent and meditate deeply upon myself." She was listening intently. "You see, the situation is unusual, it is strange. You mustn't misunderstand me. I'm talking to you about it simply as of a riddle, a mystery, a miracle, like resurrection from the dead."
Falk coughed. There was a slight tremor in his voice.
"I remember when still at high school being struck by an idea of Plato's. He holds that our earthly life is but a reflection of another life lived by us in some past time as an idea. All we see is merely a recollection, a reminiscence of what we have seen before entering this existence. The idea then appealed to me simply for its poetical beauty. Now I am constantly reminded of it because I see it realised in myself. I'm telling you this quite objectively, as when I spoke of the insensibility of fakirs last night. You mustn't take it in a bad way. I know I'm nothing to you but a stranger."
"You are not a stranger to me."
"No, really not? Ah, that makes me happy, I can't tell you how happy. Of all the people in the world you are the only one to whom I should not like to be a stranger, the only person in the world. You see, no one knows me. That's why none of them understands me, why they all hate me and are distrustful and suspicious. But to you I should like to open my whole soul."
He wavered. Had he not gone too far?She made no reply, which meant that he was permitted to continue.
"Yes, what was it I was going to say? -- Yesterday -- strange it should have happened only yesterday -- when I saw you yesterday, I knew I had known you long before. I must have seen you somewhere. Of course, I had never seen you before, but still I've known you for aeons. That's why I'm saying all this to you. I've got to say it to you. -- Yes, and the. --As a rule I'm able to hold myself in check but yesterday in the cab I could not resist. I had to kiss your hand, and I am profoundly thankful that you didn't withdraw it."

Of course nowadays we'd possibly raise an eyebrow at that--maybe it was legit maybe it was imposing--but of course this was written around the turn of the last century.

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