My Name Is Red

Oh, why was I there at the window just when Black rode my on his white steed? Why did I open the shutters intuitively at that exact moment and stare at him so long from behind the snowy branches of the pomegranate tree? I can’t tell you for sure.
from Orhan Pamuk “My Name Is Red”(Translated by Erdağ M. Göknar)

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My Name Is Red

Hush and listen to how I developed such a magnificent red tone. A master miniaturist, an expert in paints, furiously pounded the best variety of dried red beetle from the hottest climes of Hindustan into a fine powder using his mortar and pestle. He prepared five drachmas of the red powder, one drachma of soapwort and a half drachma of lotor. He boiled the soapwort in pot containing three okkas of water. Next, he mix throughly the lotor into the water. He let it boil for as long as it took to drink an excellent cup of coffee. As he enjoyed his coffee, I grew as impatient as a child about to be born.
from Orhan Pamuk “My Name Is Red”(Translated by Erdağ M. Göknar)

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My Name Is Red

A great painter does not content himself by affecting us with his masterpieces; ultimately, he succeeds in changing the landscape of our minds. Once a miniaturist’s artistry enters our souls this way, it becomes the criterion for the beauty of our world. At the end of my life, as the Master of Isfahan burned his own art, he not only witnessed the fact that his work, instead of disappearing, actually proliferated and increased; he understood that everybody now saw the world the way he had seen it. Those things which did not resemble the paintings he made in his youth were now considered ugly.
from Orhan Pamuk “My Name Is Red”(Translated by Erdağ M. Göknar)

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The Temple of Dawn

It was the rainy season in Bangkok.  The air was saturated with a continuous fine drizzle, and often drops of rain would dance in a brilliant ray of sunlight.  Rifts of blue were always visible here and there; and even when the clouds clustered most thickly round the sun, the sky at their circumference was dazzlingly blue.  Before an approaching squall, it would turn ominously dark and threatening.  A foreboding shade would shroud the predominantly green, low-roofed city dotted with palms.

from Yukio Mishima “The Temple of Dawn” (Translated by E. Dale Saunders and Cecilia Segawa Seigle)

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Silence

My hunch from some time back was not wrong. What are the Japanese peasants looking for in me? These people who work and live and die like beasts find for the first time in which they can cast away the fetters that bind them. The Buddhist bonzes simply treat them like cattle. For a long time they have just lived in resignation to such a fate.

from Shusaku Endo “Silence” (Translated by William Johnson)

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An Artist of the Floating World

‘I have learnt many things over these past years.  I have learnt much in contemplating the world of pleasure, and recognising its fragile beauty.  But I now feel it is time for me to progress to other things.  Sensei, it is my belief that in such troubled times as these, artists must learn to value something more tangible than those pleasurable things that disappear with the morning light.  It is not necessary that artists always occupy a decadent and enclosed world.  My conscience, Sensei, tells me I cannot remain forever an artist of the floating world.’

from Kazuo Ishiguro “An Artist of the Floating World”

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In Praise of Shadows

Why should this propensity to seek beauty in darkness be so strong only in Orientals The West too has known a time when there was no electricity, gas, or petroleum, and yet so far as I know the West has never been disposed to delight in shadows.

from Junichiro Tanizaki “In Praise of Shadows”(Translated by Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker)IMG_1488.jpg