Monday, August 24, 2009

Keston Sutherland, "Happiness in Writing"

World Picture 3 contains Keston Sutherland's "Happiness in Writing," a sharp and illuminating essay on Wordsworth's Prelude and Adorno's advice to writers in Minima Moralia.


Meg said...


To find versus to know. The use of find in this instance is doubtful because a person discussing happiness can lose it and therefore it is a doubtful ending to that "affair" of happiness finding and keeping.

Knowing is much more suitable because it cannot be removed from the owner as long as he admits to having it or is able. Afterall, a fool can be happy but does he know why he is?

In my estimation, had this been written by a person who understood the finality of "God created the world in six days and then he rested" i.e. he did this in stages and it was finished and then it was a strictly hands off affair.....the better word would have been peace, not happiness.

Peace is the absence, deletion of doubt if you will, of all doubt and is referred to as certitude.

In this essay however, it is more about the communication of this sense of absolute confidence rather than the "truth" itself which is the yardstick by which all mentioned things are capable of being measured either in prose or poetry or ay caramba, art of any kind.

The fact that the essayist mentions the ideological in there is admirable because it is that sense of the perfect poem that eludes anyone who understands that all we can do is closely approximate truth while simultaneously advertising our own "knowledge" of that. Our own knowledge versus the truth is a negotiable element especially in times like these when the world society is on the verge of ignorance and pure reason looking into the gorge of unavoidable closure of individual cases aka death and on so many levels from the highly personal to the wholly cultural.

It's always been this way though...a recurring theme without a definite endpoint save for individual demise.

Peace then, rather than happiness, is the true goal of one's work which ought to be contingent on one's knowledge (in the poet's mind) and always is regardless of the poet's relative position in relationship to "truth".

ryan manning said...


Meg said...

Oh, I'm sorry. I must have interupted your post about your sciatica mr. manning.

Carry on.