The Questing Beast

T.H. White’s, “The Sword in the Stone” was a childhood delight for me. My mother read it to me because she knew she would enjoy it as much as I would. I, in turn, read it to my son for the same reasons and enjoyed it all over again.

The character of The Questing Beast was one of my favorite parts of the four part novel. I loved the knight, King Pellinore, whose life it was to search for the beast and never find anything save for its fewmets (feces) that he would examine to determine just how far in front of him the beast was. Vladimir and Estragon of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” owe something to White’s Pellinore.

There is a certain type of journalism that provides fewmets for our contemplation. Their very incompleteness leaves us dangling allowing us, no matter how well or poorly informed we are, to fill in the rest. The lack of substance is rather like a come-on that will either titillate us or allow us to ignore it and find the come-on that fits our mood that much better.

As someone who deals in real things, I find suggestive possibility to be the equivalent of negative space–possibly interesting to contemplate, but really more of a mind game. I know that artists are very concerned by negative space, it is part of their metier, but decorative art needs to be substantive first and suggestive thereafter. The function that decorative art must comply to is what keeps me an antique dealer. If it doesn’t work, it is rather like the fewmets King Pellinore gathers–excrement.

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