Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Little Ministry of Fine Arts

‘Countries, deities,’ said my father from a deep well of depression. ‘Obstacles to pure conception.’
‘Yeah, but what was the third principle? You never said anything about that.’
But my father had faded out and was now gazing disconsolately at the floor. My mother, however, was smiling. No doubt she had heard all of my father’s talk many times over.
‘The third principle?’ she said, blowing a cloud of cigarette smoke in my direction. ‘Why, it’s families, sweetheart.’
-- Purity by Thomas Ligotti

Continued from:

My other translingual blog is up.  I tentatively called it The Little Ministry of Fine Arts, a term taken from The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz. With the hope of not sounding too pretentious or bombastic, I'd like to dedicate it to the Wielhorski family and the contributions of some of the family members to literature, music, painting and architecture. 
I will also provide an account of their encounters with French, Russian and Ukrainian artists and the role they played in their lives and works. Obviously, creating a blog dedicated to one's family might sound a tad boring if the information provided thereon is a simple way of boasting of one's ancestry or merely repeating some well-known facts that are merely relevant to that particular family.
As a matter of fact, as stated in my previous post, very few of the details I am planning to document on The Little Ministry were known to me before starting the research in the Cyrillic alphabet those many years ago, so I consider it to be in some ways a "discoverer's blog" and yet another  incentive to embark upon a translingual journey, not unlike the one that I enjoy on Confusio Linguarum. The  genealogical research in Russian has proved to me that nobody should underestimate the amount of curiosities concerning one's relatives that can be hidden from one's knowledge due to the language barrier and one's inability to decipher another alphabet!
This obviously does not mean I will discontinue my posts here. I see Confusio Linguarum and The Little Ministry as separate symbiotic organisms living a life of their own and feeding off each other as much as on the common to both subjects of literature and language. On The Little Ministry I will be covering writers who will also be featured in the future on Confusio Linguarum: Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoyevsky,  Andreyev and Odoyevski all of whom have penned some fine classics of weird fiction and happened to be close to some members of my family. I usually avoid paying too much attention to biographical details of my favourite artists. The stories I will tell in the form of anecdotes on The Little Ministry cannot be told without any biographical and historical context. The historical facts with relation to the Wielhorski family will therefore be collected on The Little Ministry and those related to the works themselves and my subjective take on them will be posted here. Considering the language barrier (I still need to overcome), the amount of sources I will need to consult and the time contains, the process of documenting these discoveries will take years to complete, even if I plan to publish on my second blog just a few (I estimate up to 30) entries .

Several other reasons that tell me I should create this separate blog:
  • Sparing the readers of Confusio Linguarum some family details, which they do not necessarily find interesting or are not directly related to visionary fiction
  • Learning more Russian, as explained in my previous post
  • Sharing some hard-to-find information never assembled in English or Polish
  • Learning more about this really fascinating and sometimes eccentric (I cannot deny) family that has unjustly fallen into oblivion
  • Following my muse, which is now also dedicated to...

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