The Corner

The one and only.



A few weeks back, the New Yorker ran an entertaining piece by John Lanchester on writers who write under the influence of various questionable substances. One impressive example was W.H. Auden. He “swallowed Benzedrine every morning for twenty years, from 1938 onward, balancing its effect with the barbiturate Seconal when he wanted to sleep. (He also kept a glass of vodka by the bed, to swig if he woke up during the night).”

Lanchester’s piece also contained this quote from Sartre (caffeine, drink, barbiturates):

“But it should be noted that this regulatory totalization realizes my immanence in the group in the quasi-transcendence of the totalizing third party; for the latter, as the creator of objectives or organizer of means, stands in a tense and contradictory relation of transcendence-immanence, so that my integration, though real in the here and now which define me, remains somewhere incomplete, in the here and now which characterize the regulatory third party. We see here the reemergence of an element of alterity proper to the statute of the group, but which here is still formal: the third party is certainly the same, the praxis is certainly common everywhere; but a shifting dislocation makes it totalizing when I am the totalized means of the group, and conversely.”

Perhaps it loses something in translation.