Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Footnotes to the post below

1. Weeping. For joy

2. "One word is too often profaned," the beginning of a lyric by Shelley, written to the wife (well, pseudo-wife) of a friend. He's anxious and distraught, sleep-deprived and nightmare-ridden; and as usual, he deals with it by having a crush on someone. But he's beginning to think about what erotic love could be if it weren't, well, erotic love. "The desire of the moth for the star, / of the night for the morrow." Written within weeks of his death.

3. Ramparts and mousetraps. The defenses are psychological defenses against committing adultery.

4. I will not name this thing. The author is probably (like Shelley) avoiding the 'L' word here.

5. Jamgon Kongtrul, the great Tibetan scholar and yogin. The chronology doesn't really work, unless we put Shelley wandering through India for thirty years first.

6. The good time. Shelley, always a utopian, had a ring made for him in Italy, which bore the inscription Il buon tempo verra. ("The good time will come.")

7. Shelley's first wife, Harriet, drowned herself. The suicide is reasonably attributable to his having eloped with Mary Shelley (yes, the author of Frankenstein). The theory was that none of them believed in marriage. Shelley was always a bit stronger on theory than on practice.

8. little graves dotted across Italy only one of Shelley's children lived to adulthood. Two (at least) died very young in Italy. Shelley was devoted to all his children, however irregularly come by, and the deaths haunted him.

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