Thursday, August 26, 2010


A reader brought to my attention this story about a mystery writer who has covered the walls of an abandoned house in Chongqing, China, with the words of a kung fu novel (1st image). It reads in part, "I was 17....I have reactions like lightning, hearing like a bat, my vision is like a hawk, and I am as strong as a general." The idea of writing on the wall brought up images of the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), as portrayed in Quills, writing on the walls of his cell with his feces. I did not enjoy the film, but was intrigued by the image of the notorious French aristocrat writing on his clothing with his blood (2nd image). His pen, ink, and paper had been confiscated because he had used them to smuggle his writings out of the insane asylum in which he was imprisoned. "My passions, concentrated on a single point, resemble the rays of a sun assembled by a magnifying glass: they immediately set fire to whatever object they find in their way," de Sade wrote in Juliet. It was the novel Justine that he smuggled out of the institution in the movie, although this is a stretch of the truth. Justine had already been published 13 years earlier, the Marquis was far from the earlier height of his literary powers while at Charenton, and many of the novels and plays that did make it to the publisher at that time were soundly rejected.

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