church not made with hands

Paragraphs I… … (5): David Foster Wallace


The withered priest reads his lecture about Vermeer and limpidity and luminosity and about light as attachment/vestment to objects’ contour. Died 1675. Obscure in his time you see for painted very few. But now we know do we not, ahm. Blue-yellow hues predominate as against ahm shall we say de Hooch. The students wear blue blazers. Unparalleled representation light serves subtly to glorify God. Ahm, though some might say blaspheme. You see. Do you not see it. A notoriously dull lecturer. An immortality conferred upon implicit in the viewer. Do you ahm see it. ‘The beautiful terrible stillness of Delft’ in the seminal phrase of. The hall is dark behind Day’s glowing row. The boys are permitted some personal expression in choice of necktie. The irreal evenness of focus which transforms the painting into what glass in glass’s fondest dreams might wish to be. ‘Windows onto interiors in which all conflicts have been resolved’ in the much-referenced words of. All lit and rendered razor-clear you see and ahm. It meets TuTh after lunch and mail call. Resolving conflict, both organic and divine. Flesh and spirit. Day hears an envelope ripped open. The viewer sees as God sees, in other ahm. Lit up throughout time you see. Past time. Someone snaps gum. Whispered laughter somewhere up in a rear row. The hall is dimly lit. A boy off to Day’s left groans and thrashes in a deep sleep. The teacher is, it is true, wholly dry, out of it, unalive. The boy next to Day is taking a deep interest in that part of his wrist which surrounds his watch.

– from ‘Church Not Made With Hands’ in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, pp. 203-04

Excerpts / 13 Comments
August 5th, 2009 / 2:38 am