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Edward Dahlberg

The Chapel of the Abyss

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Nov 3, 2010, 10:26am Top

Dahlberg was an interesting (passionate, erudite, sorrow-beset, invective-prone) novelist and essayist of the 20s and 30s whose name I first came across in reading something or other of Beckett's or Alexander Theroux's (who is, incidentally, a Beckett scholar). A bleak and orotund stylist, I hope he is not as neglected these days as I suspect he is. Here are a few quotes from his memoir, Because I was Flesh:

"The man is the corrupt dream of the child, and only since there is decay, and no time, what we call days and evenings are the false angels of our existence. There is nothing but sleep and the moon between the boy and the man." (p.50)

"The child was as gross in his desires as the man who grew out of him. The greed for voluptuous sensations is a disease. Who invented the torments of the testicles?" ... Pleasure is the tickling of the maggots that ravin upon the bones." (57)

"We inherit our songs of lust from angels. The heavens are defiled, and God makes nothing that is not corrupt.The angel 'Azazel taught men the uses of lechery; everything that lives is incontinent. Are not the seas, the earth and the firmament round and sensual?" (57)

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