Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A brain the size of Kent

I am in Matsuyama, for matters concerning the great writer Soseki Natsume.
On the way to Matsuyama airport, I was reading the book "Oscar Wilde. Nothing...Except my genius. A celebration of his wit and wisdom' (Penguin books, 1997). A quite lengthy essay 'Playing Oscar' by Stephen Fry in the book was very enjoyable.


And what of Wilde the man? He stood for art. He stood for nothing less all his life. His doctrine of art was so high that most people thought he was joking. The English, who to this day believe themselves quite mistakenly to be possessed of a higher sense of humour than any other nation on earth, have never understood that a thing expressed with wit is more, not less, likely to be true than a thing intoned gravely as solemn fact. We, British, who pride ourselves on our superior sense of irony, have never fully grasped the idea of fiction--of ironism. Plain old sarcasm is about our mark. When Wilde made an epigram, it was at best, 'clever'. Clever, like funny, is an English insult of the deepest kind.

'Playing Oscar' by Stephen Fry

I love Stephen Fry. He was once described as "a man with a brain the size of Kent." I appreciate Stephen's effort to come to terms with the phenomenon that was Oscar Wilde.


Avalyn said...

Mr. Mogi, I just couldn't pass by without saying that I also like Steven Fry for his reserved, gentle yet passionate observation on arts and music.
I used to love reading his articles on Sunday papers.
Somehow the image of you and Steven overlaps and I could quite easily replace you in the picture in which Steven Fry would be wondering about in Highgate Cemetary with a book in his hand. (Althogh Oscar Wilde hasn't been laid to rest in there, and I don't know if you would fancy this sort of place for a cool autumn evening walk!)

Avalyn said...

Oops, pardon me. How silly of me to misspell Mr.Fry's first name.