Tuesday, April 14, 2015
You can judge a man by the books he reads, the books he rereads ...
"When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty."
- Norm Crosby (Jewish comedian)
Günter Grass – novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, sculptor, printmaker, social critic, member of the Waffen-SS – is dead. He was 87... NY Times... WaPo... AP...Guardian... Telegraph...Prospect... Irish Times...Spiegel... Haaretz...
The Greatness of Günter Grass Salmon Rushdie, The New Yorker
You can judge a man by the books he reads, the books he rereads, the passages in them he remembers and the ones he quotes to others. The man who judges Polonius a fount of wisdom and cites him in that spirit leaves us with an impression counter to the one he intends. At some indeterminate point, aesthetics and morality intersect, however fleetingly. This is not science; this is intuition tempered by good sense and humility in the face of reality. In reading King Learagain I came upon this passage from Act I, Scene 2, spoken by Edmund, the sociopathic son of the Earl of Gloucester ...
“This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc’d obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on
Universal human tendency
In the last decade, the world of publishing has undergone a seismic shift.
The Australian-born poet Peter Porter (1929-2010), long a resident of England, published “Going to Parties” in Philip Larkin at Sixty (ed. Anthony Thwaite, 1982), and dedicated the poem to Larkin. He included it in Fast Forward, a collection published in 1984, one year before Larkin’s death. In the poem’s final line, Porter states what might stand as Larkin’s less-than-inspirational poetic credo: “To make art of a life we didn’t choose.”
“I like to read about people who have done nothing spectacular, who aren’t beautiful and lucky, who try to behave well in the limited field of activity they command, but who can see, in the little autumnal moments of vision, that the so called ‘big’ experiences of life are going to miss them; and I like to read about such things presented not with self-pity or despair or romanticism, but with realistic firmness and even humour.”