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“Civilized people are lying when they fall into a bucolic rapture; if they miss their Scotch on the rocks at seven-thirty in the evening, they’ll curse the minute they left home to come and endure gadflies, sunburn, and thorns; as for those closest to nature, they’re as stupid as she is; a book, a play, a sonata don’t need any return or shower; that’s where we reach the greatest heights, where we are the most we can be. What the intellectual or the artist who takes refuge in the countryside is looking for is tranquility, fresh lettuce, and oxygenated air; with nature surrounding him on all sides, he reads or paints in the perfect light of a well-oriented room; if he goes out for a walk or goes to the window to look at the animals or the clouds, it’s because he’s tired with his work or with his ease. Don’t trust, then, the absorbed contemplation of a tulip when the contemplator is an intellectual. What’s there is tulip + distraction, or tulip + meditation (almost never about the tulip). He will never find a natural scene that can take more than five minutes of determined contemplation, and, on the other hand, he will feel all time abolished in the reading of Theocritus or Keats, especially in the passages where scenes of nature appear. Yes, Max Jacob was right: chickens should be cooked.”

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– Julio Cortázar, from “Feuilletons”, Un tal Lucas ( A Certain Lucas ) (1979)

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agora journal

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