Mandelstam on Hellenism


Hellenism is a cooking pot, oven tongs, an earthenware jug of milk, household utensils, dishes, all the things that surround a human body; Hellenism is the warmth of the hearth recognized as something holy;  it is any possession that connects a man with some part of the world outside himself. … Hellenism is a man deliberately surrounded with utensils instead of with indifferent objects, the turning of indifferent objects into utensils, humanizing the surrounding world, warming a man with a gentle teleological warmth. Hellenism is any stove beside which a man sits and enjoys the warmth as something akin to his internal warmth. … Hellenism is the system, in the Bergsonian meaning of the word, which a man sets up around himself.

Osip Mandelstam

Translation by Robert Tracy

Photo: Skara Brae 2 by marcofantoni84

~ by matt on 3 December 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.


Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

%d bloggers like this: