I/Eye: On Photography

Be confident of your certainty

Posted in Uncategorized by Sheila Newbery on August 16, 2011
Cringers (2011) © Sheila Newbery

Cringers (2011) © Sheila Newbery

“We are never so certain of our knowledge as when we’re dead wrong. The assurance with which Chaucer included Alcibiades in a list of beautiful women and with which Keats embedded the wrong discoverer of the Pacific in an immortal sonnet should be a lesson to us all.

“Ignorance achieves wonders. The current Encyclopaedia  Britannica informs us that Edmund Wilson’s Castle is a novel (it is a book of essays), that Eudora Welty wrote Clock without Hands (by Carson McCullers), and that the photograph of Jules Verne accompanying the entry about him is of a Yellow-Headed Titmouse (Auriparus flaviceps). The New York Review of Books once referred to The Petrarch Papers of Dickens and a nodding proofreader for the TLS once let Margery Allingham create a detective named Albert Camus.

“Vagueness has vernacular charm. A footnote in a Shaker hymnal identifies George Washington as one of our first Presidents.”

—from the essay “Pergolesi’s Dog” by Guy Davenport in Every Force Evolves a Form (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987).

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