Monday, July 30, 2007

Bob on Balzac

Shortly after first arriving in New York, Bob Dylan, if his Chronicles can be trusted, spent many nights on a sofa belonging to Ray and Chloe, and many hours reading in Ray and Chloe's extraordinary library. He was particularly taken by Thucydides. I like what he has to say about Honoré de Balzac:

'Balzac was pretty funny. His philosophy is plain and simple, says basically that pure materialism is a recipe for madness. The only true knowledge for Balzac seems to be superstition. Everything is subject to analysis. Horde your energy. That's the secret of life. You can learn a lot from Mr. B. It's funny to have him as a companion. He wears a monk's robe and drinks endless cups of coffee. Too much sleep clogs up his mind. One of his teeth falls out, and he says, "What does this mean?" He questions everything. His clothes catch fire on a candle. He wonders if fire is a good sign. Balzac is hilarious.'

1 comment:

George said...


I remembered that Dylan had used "What does this mean" in a song, & looked it up on Google (E&OE):

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

So does Jones relate to Balzac?