April 19, 2017

“Hell is other people” – and their taste in music…

Hell is quiz quotes FINAL


“Hell is other people.” (“L’enfer, c’est les Autres.”)
       Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
       French existential philosopher and writer and Marxist social activist
       This is the oft-quoted line from Sartre’s play No Exit (titled Huis Clos in French), spoken by the character Joseph Garcin. The play was first performed in French at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier theatre in Paris in May 1944. It was first performed in English at the Biltmore Theatre in New York City in 1946, using the translation by the renowned Beat writer and translator, Paul Bowles.  
       Bowles was a bit creative in his translation. “Huis clos” is a French idiomatic expression that’s similar to the English legal term “in camera,” meaning a judicial proceeding or discussion held in private. In fact, the play has sometimes been performed and filmed in English under the title In Camera.
       A more literal translation of “Huis Clos” would be “behind closed doors.” However, the play is best known by the title Bowles came up with. Apparently, it was a hellish translation challenge for him. In the biography Paul Bowles: A Life, he is quoted as saying: “I’m not very good at titles. It took me six weeks to get No Exit out of Huis Clos.”
       No Exit/Huis Clos is about the three doomed souls: a man, Joseph Garcin, and two women, Inès Serrano and Estelle Rigault. They are condemned to Hell for their sins. But instead of facing flames and torture, they are locked together in a room furnished in the Second French Empire style. (Hellish in itself!) There’s not much for them to do except talk about themselves and eventually deal with Estelle’s attempt to seduce Joseph.

French Church of Satan


“Have you heard the expression ‘Hell is other people’? This is true, especially if the other people are French.”
       Satan (as quoted by writer David Katz)
       In a humorous “interview” with the Lord of Hell, “What I’ve Learned: Satan,” published in Esquire magazine, January 2007.

T.S. Eliot Cocktail Party play poster


“What is hell? Hell is oneself,
  Hell is alone, the other figures in it
  Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
  And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.”
       T.S. Eliot
       British poet and playwright
       Said by the character Edward Chamberlayne in Eliot’s play The Cocktail Party, first performed in 1949. In the play, Edward makes amends with his wife Lavinia at a party, after they’d split due to his infidelity. It was the most popular of Eliot’s seven plays in his lifetime.

The Heming Way book


“Hell isn’t other people; it’s other people when you’re sober.”
       Marty Beckerman

       American author
       In his very funny book The Heming Way, which spoofs Ernest Hemingway’s uber-manly attitudes and behavior. The subtitle is How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested Retro-Sexual Legend Within, Just Like Papa!

Wilson movie


“Hell may be other people, but they’re all we’ve got.”
       Stephanie Zacharek
       Film critic for Time magazine
       Her encapsulation of the point of the movie Wilson (starring Woody Harrelson as the title character), in her review in Time, April 3, 2017. The film is based on the graphic novel by American cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

Li'l Bastard by David McGimpsey


“Hell is other people’s taste in music.”
       David McGimpsey

       Canadian poet and novelist
       In his book of sonnets, Li’l Bastard (2011)

john guzlowski on Twitter


“Hell is other people’s politics.”
       John Guzlowski
       Polish-born American writer and poet
       His response on Twitter to a tweet by Quaint Magazine that said: “Throughout the next few days, we'll be reposting links to work we've published that speaks to the current political climate.”

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