He avoids life, games, amusements and variation.
Food disgusts him.
Odors, contacts.
His marrow does not make blood.
His blood isn’t wild about oxygen.


Dreams, without images without words, motionless.
He dreams of permanence, of perpetuity without change.
His way of existing in the margins, always on strike, is frightening or exasperating.
He’s sent to the country.

Henri Michaux describes his early childhood. (I’m browsing A Journey Round My Skull’s archives.)
I hear new news every day, and those ordinary rumours of war, plagues, fires, inundations, thefts, murders, massacres, meteors, comets, spectrums, prodigies, apparitions, of towns taken, cities besieged in France, Germany, Turkey, Persia, Poland, &c., daily musters and preparations, and such like, which these tempestuous times afford, battles fought, so many men slain, monomachies, shipwrecks, piracies and sea-fights; peace, leagues, stratagems, and fresh alarms. A vast confusion of vows, wishes, actions, edicts, petitions, lawsuits, pleas, laws, proclamations, complaints, grievances are daily brought to our ears. New books every day, pamphlets, corantoes, stories, whole catalogues of volumes of all sorts, new paradoxes, opinions, schisms, heresies, controversies in philosophy, religion, &c. Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, jubilees, embassies, tilts and tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, plays: then again, as in a new shifted scene, treasons, cheating tricks, robberies, enormous villainies in all kinds, funerals, burials, deaths of princes, new discoveries, expeditions, now comical, then tragical matters.

Robert Burton (1577 - 1640) - The Anatomy Of Melancholy

Frontispiece to 1638 edition.

(via jamreilly)

The woman’s tragedy [Jane Carlyle] may be traced in those inimitable letters, whose intoxicating merriment flashes like lightning about the central figure, as it moves in sinister desolation against the background of a most peculiar age: an age of barbarism and prudery, of nobility and cheapness, of satisfaction and desperation; an age in which everything was discovered and nothing known; an age in which all the outlines were tremendous and all the details sordid; when gas-jets struggled feebly through the circumambient fog, when the hour of dinner might be at any moment between two and six, when the doses of rhubarb were periodic and gigantic, when pet dogs threw themselves out of upper storey windows, when cooks reeled drunk in areas, when one sat for hours with one’s feet in dirty straw dragged along the streets by horses, when an antimacassar was on every chair, and the baths were minute tin circles, and the beds were full of bugs and disasters.
Lytton Strachey, from an essay about Thomas Carlyle in Portraits in Miniature and Other Essays, 1931. Also see Invisible Stories’ Anthology of Long Sentences.

Evening. The moon, Jupiter. Moving mists. A troop of trees fording a river. A dog out hunting. Invisible oxen.

The chateau is dark; but a light in the dining-room shows that people are dining there in accordance with the rules of etiquette.

Slender poplars, heavy elms. As the mist moves, some are drowned while others raise their heads.

You hear the stream running in the very depth of the earth.

Now and then everything is drowned. It is a deluge.

Your mouth filled with dampness, you go home. You are a little scared.

How much depends upon the way things are presented in this world can be seen from the very fact that coffee drunk out of wine-glasses is really miserable stuff, as is meat cut at the table with a pair of scissors. Worst of all, as I once actually saw, is butter spread on a piece of bread with an old though very clean razor.
Lichtenberg (who really got his point across to me with the meat and scissors)