Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Consolations of Art

The search for happiness, which Stendhal decided was entirely possible, has been rejected, has been replaced by the consolations of art. In the first and heroic phase of Romanticism it was possible to believe in personal fulfilment, if only in reduced circumstances. In the second and disillusioned phase the world is regarded as a vale of tears... 
Romanticism and Its Discontents, Ch. 5 
 
I always went to fiction for consolation, or indeed for company; and to be able to operate in that area seemed to me so desirable that I decided to try. 
Radio interview extract, part of Radio 4 obituary programme Last Word

It is always good and surprising to hear Brookner's voice. As far as I know only the above extract and another BBC programme, The Reunion, are available online. In the 1980s Brookner made herself more available, but recordings are hard to come by. I believe a Brookner scholar took the following stills from a TV arts show archived at the BFI:


As for Last Word, I remember hearing it as it was broadcast. I was driving home, and I knew Brookner would be on it. She played second billing to the magician Paul Daniels, a figure from my childhood. A few Christmases ago I stood behind him in the checkout queue at a branch of Poundland.

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