A Nocturnal Village Scene on the Oude Delft,
with Numerous Figures Gathered Around a Burning Tar-Barrel,
painted by Egbert Lievensz van der Poel (1621-1664).
I’m hiding under the table to avoid the falling ash but you just can’t get away from the stink.
Whose idea was it to burn tar? Sheesh. Oude means “old” and Delft originally meant canal, but it’s also the name of a town in the Netherlands.
Dimensions: h: 13 3/8 x w: 14 3/8 in.
I am by trade a novelist. It is, I think, a harmless trade, though it is not everywhere considered a respectable one. Novelists put dirty language into the mouths of their characters, and they show these characters fornicating or going to the toilet. Moreover, it is not a useful trade, as is that of the carpenter or the pastry cook. The novelist passes the time for you between one useful action and another; he helps to fill the gaps that appear in the serious fabric of living. He is a mere entertainer, a sort of clown. He mimes, he makes grotesque gestures, he is pathetic or comic and sometimes both, he sends words spinning through the air like colored balls.”
– Anthony Burgess,
The New Yorker, June 4 & 11, 2012. Page 69