January 7, 2011

From The Quest for Corvo by A.J.A. Symons


About Fr. Rolfe's lost novel Don Renato, or An Ideal Content, A.J.A. Symons writes:

No writer ever set himself a more difficult task. He, or rather Dom Gheraldo in his entries, tells a story: he reveals by slow and feline touches the character of the priest from within; and at the same time he attempts to give an English equivalent for the verbal mix-up of the pretended original. And in all this he succeeds, though in retaining Dom Gheraldo's macaronics he almost makes the book unreadable. Fortunately, he provides a glossary, so that it is possible to understand, without a headache, the exact meaning that he meant to extract from such constructions or compounds or rarities as argute, deaurate, investite, lucktifick, excandescence, galbanate, lecertose, insulsity, hestern, macilent, effrenate, dicaculous, pavonine, and torose. Even so, Don Renato is not a book to read at a sitting, but rather one to be dipped into at odd hours when the mind can be stimulated by puzzles in verbal ingenuity.

About his own life, writing back to a friend who accuses him of selfishness, Fr. Rolfe writes:

Selfish? Yes, selfish. The selfishness of a square peg in a round hole.

More about The Quest for Corvo here.


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