Prentiss Riddle: Books

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Down by the river

A quote stolen directly from Caterina Fake:

In Chinese literary criticism there are different methods of writing called "the method of watching a fire across a river" (detachment of style), "the method of dragonflies skimming across the water surface" (lightness of touch), "the method of painting a dragon and dotting its eyes" (bringing out the salient points).

- Richard E. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought, p. 18
The method of watching a fire across a river reminds me of another kind of indirection. It comes from one of my favorite books from back when I used to read in German, Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick) by Peter Handke. At least it's one of my favorites in concept, I don't know whether I'd enjoy reading it now. It's a murder mystery with its focus shifted to the murderer, who sees little of the detective work but knows that his pursuers could find him out at any time. At one point he says that at a soccer game he likes to keep his eyes on the goalie's face, hence the title.

I wonder whether there's a Chinese literary style for that?

I stopped by Caterina's blog for the first time in a while because I think she and Stewart are here at the IA Summit. Maybe I'll run into them and get to express my slavish Flickr groupiehood. But then I guess I was groupie for her blog before Flickr even launched.

books 2005.03.05 link

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