The Influx of Botany, Minerals…

‘A trip to Tuscany and Emilia. I thought of my essay on poetry and popular culture; thought, above all, of the connection between the countryside and culture, of the natural (botanical and mineral) roots of art. At Florence (Rovez-zano) in Val Pesa, Elsa – Siena – you felt why that land has given birth to art. The country expresses the grace of Florence and Siena. But when a civilization is no longer linked with the country, what will be the radical sources of its culture? Are we henceforward to be cut off from the influx of botany, minerals, the seasonal changes of the countryside upon art? It would seem so.’

Cesare Pavese, Diaries, translated by A. E. Murch. From here:

‘John Synge, I and Augusta Gregory, thought
All that we did, all that we said or sang
Must come from contact with the soil, from that
Contact everything Antaeus-like grew strong.
We three alone in modern times had brought
Everything down to that sole test again,
Dream of the noble and the beggar-man.’

W. B. Yeats, The Municipal Gallery Revisited. 


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