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Goethe och köksstädningen

tisdag, 21 november 2006

GoetheLäser John Armstrongs ”Love, Life, Goethe”, en av de mest originella författarbiografier jag nånsin mött. Istället för att utreda detaljerna i författarens liv och verk, som vore det självändamål, söker han det i livet och verket som talar till oss, här och idag. Som i följande passage, apropos Goethes vurm för ordning och reda i hemmet – en drag i hans karaktär som går på tvärs mot den gängse klichén om hur en konstnär lever:

”Goethe shows us that, properly considered, domestic economy is a major human good, continuous with our most noble and serious aspirations. Part of what makes him attractive and important as a figure in world culture can be seen precisely in the way in which his ideals are not foreign to everyday existence. When we think about Goethe – as when we consider any major writer – we are looking for hints on how to live. Keeping the house clean, arranging the kitchen cupboards and balancing the books, all have their real dignity illuminated by Goethe’s loving regard. What might have seemed like low-grade, repetitious labour is brought into contact with the noble purposes of thinking and creation. That helps us see the way in which arranging a cupboard, or filing bills and warranty records – when done well – draws upon the same principles as the creation of a work of art: it seeks to bring clarity where there was confusion, to introduce elegance and coherence into the potential mess of daily life. Undertaking these tasks well requires taste, discipline and intelligence.”

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