Monday, July 22, 2019

Quote of the Day (Thomas Mann, on a Wine Bottle--Beautiful Outside, Awful Inside)

“[T]he firm of Engelbert Krull paid unusual attention to the outside of their bottles, those final adornments that arc technically known as the coiffure. The compressed corks were secured with silver wire and gilt cords fastened with purplish-red wax; there was, moreover, an impressive round seal — such as one sees on ecclesiastical bulls, and old state documents — suspended from a gold cord; the necks of the battles were liberally wrapped in gleaming silver foil, and their swelling bellies bore a flaring label with gold flourishes round the edges. This label had been designed for the firm my godfather Schimmelpreester and bore a number of coat of arms and stars, my father’s monogram, the brand name, Loreley extra cuvee, all in gold letters, and a female figure, arrayed only in bangles and necklaces, sitting with legs crossed on top of a rock, her arm raised in the act of combing her flowing hair. Unfortunately it appears that the quality of the wine was not entirely commensurate with the splendour of its coiffure. ‘Krull,’ I have heard my godfather Schimmelpreester say to my father, ‘with all due respect to you, your champagne ought to be forbidden by law. Last week I let myself be talked into drinking half a bottle, and my system hasn’t recovered from the shock yet. What sort of vinegar goes into that brew? And do you use petroleum or fusel oil to doctor it with? The stuff’s simply poison. Look out for the police!’”—German novelist and Nobel Literature laureate Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man, translated by Denver Lindley (1955),

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