Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ugly Beauty

'No one says a sunset is interesting,' Susan Sontag wrote.  'It's beautiful,' we say when we see a gorgeous sunset.  She was defending sublime beauty. Beauty, she believed, was an absolute to which we respond with pleasure and awe.  She had lost patience with those who dismissed the idea of beauty as elitist.  They preferred "interesting" to "beautiful"--much more democratic: anything could be interesting.

Beautiful or interesting: are those our only choices?  No.  I like ugly-beauty, Cocteau's beast ("La belle et la bete," 1946.)  

Joan Crawford is an ugly beauty.

Da Vinci's old man:

Goya's painting of a monk talking to an old woman defies categories.

An example close to home: an American beech tree with an enormous bulging bole.

As for me, as I age, how will I describe myself?


  1. How do you describe yourself? You do it in your words and photos.

    I have a clear picture of you based on what you have blogged and written in your books. Intellectually lively, curious, high spirited, surely a woman of wit, charm and maturity. Beautiful and interesting. What more could one ask of one's favorite blogger?

  2. If you google the line below, you will find a wonderful interview with Miriam. While the audio quality is not the best, the content is.

    Prosody: Prosody Miriam Levine (Mon, Mar 23)

  3. Aw, Bluedog, I'm blushing.