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Essay 'On Fantasy'
Posted by: starfish1981 (IP Logged)
Date: 10 May, 2017 02:57AM
Dear members,

I have a question concerning the end of Clark Ashton Smith’s essay with the title 'On Fantasy‘. There one can read the following:

“In this phantom whirl of the infinite, among these veils of Maya that are sevenfold behind sevenfold, nothing is too absurd, too lovely, or dreadful to be impossible.”

I assume what Smith wants to say here is that everything, even the ‘too absurd’, has the potential to be possible. But if we look exactly at the phrase ‘too absurd to be impossible’, this means that the ‘too absurd’ is highly possible. To look at another example, the phrase ‘too good to be true’ means that the ‘too good’ cannot be true. Likewise the phrase ‘too absurd to be impossible’ means that the ‘too absurd’ cannot be impossible.

So far so good. But Smith is negating this statement, for he is saying that ‘nothing’ is ‘too absurd to be impossible’. So he is negating that the ‘too absurd’ cannot be impossible.

Do I have an error in my reasoning here or what does Smith want to say with the phrase from his essay?

Thanks in advance.

Warmly, Matthias

Re: Essay 'On Fantasy'
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 10 May, 2017 09:34AM
I'm pretty sure his intended meaning is what you suggest ... that anything is possible. The way you parse his language, he has accidentally negated his intended meaning with a double negative ... but that sometimes happens with English speakers.

Read "nothing is ... too absurd ... to be impossible" as "nothing is ... too absurd ... to be possible", or alternatively as "nothing is ... so absurd ... that it must be impossible".

Re: Essay 'On Fantasy'
Posted by: starfish1981 (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2017 01:37AM
Dear Platypus,
thanks a lot for your answer. You were a huge help for me!
All the best, Matthias

Re: Essay 'On Fantasy'
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2017 12:40PM
Cheers



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11 May 17 | 12:42PM by Platypus.



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