9.208 thanks for Jeffers

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 3 Oct 1995 21:30:59 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 208.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: Harry Puckett <HPUCKET@wpo.it.luc.edu> (18)
Subject: 9.201 loc in Jeffers? -Reply

The following quotation comes from "The Excesses of God."

From: Willard McCarty <mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca>

If anyone recognizes the following brief quotation from Robinson
Jeffers and can put a title to it, I would be grateful for the

Is it not by his high superfluousness we know
Our God? For to equal a need
Is natural, animal, mineral: but to fling
Rainbows over the rain...


Thanks to those who answered my query. The quotation is interesting to me
because it echoes, in whatever sense, one of my favourite passages in Gaston
Bachelard, <t>La Psychanalyse du feu</t>,

Aussi haut qu'on puisse remonter, la valeur gastronomique prime la valeur
alimentaire et c'est dans la joie et non pas dans la peine que l'homme a
trouve/ son espirit. La conque^te du superflu donne une excitation
spirituelle plus grande que la conque^te du ne/cessaire. L'homme est une
cre/ation du de/sir, non pas une cre/ation du besoin.

As far back in time as we can go, gastronomic value has always been more
highly prized than nutritive value, and it is in joy and not in sorrow
that man discovered his intellect. The conquest of the superfluous gives
us greater spiritual excitement than the conquest of the necessary. Man
is a creation of desire, not a creation of need. (Tr. Alan C. M. Ross,
Boston, Beacon Press, 1964, pp. 15-16)