This has nothing to do with the mood I’m in, no. Well, you can decide for yourselves. I’ve been uploading images for the wonderful new Genese Grill essay (on Primitivism) in the July issue, and what with one thing and another (insane art, degenerate art, the news from Iraq, etc.), I was reminded of Jacques Callot’s etchings, his series on the Miseries of War (1633). Part of this comes from the fact that I am doing another interview (I am being interviewed), and, yet again, I have been asked to explain the violence in my stories and novels. The perennial question, right next to why there is so much sex in what I write. I don’t know! But I love these images. They delight me. Some deep, deep irony here about the human race, that noble, rational species created in God’s image. (Note the upside-down man cooking over the fire in the farmhouse scene, or the hanging corpse way at the top of a very tall tree in the peasant scene.) And I suppose it’s also true that there is hardly a work of art that depicts the gruesome quality of war with as much cynical detail. Makes you wonder why we keep doing this, what strange martial avidity compels us.
Click the images to make them bigger.