Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Interregnum. Summer has lost its grip, but Fall has not yet taken hold: cloudy, quiet, rainless days appear one by one and vanish. In the evening, Vega or Arcturus appear, dim and inarticulate, in the pools between the clouds, and vanish again, their messages undelivered. I am waiting, I suppose, for my two granddaughters to arrive -- one in Colorado, and one here. A pause, while Fall considers its approach; a long indrawing of the tide.

It's California weather, of course, not Oregon weather. My parents' generation of Oregonians tended to move to California when they retired, and their bones got tired of the damp and chill: climate change has accomplished this move for my generation without the trouble of packing. At the moment -- why not gathers such crumbs as fall? -- I'm content to live in a dryer, warmer state. The September slant of the sun has always pleased me, and we get to see more of it, now. 


(Notes on Kierkegaard's Either/Or, continued.) 

p 154. "As a passionately erotic glance craves its object, so anxiety looks cravingly upon sorrow." 

I'm nonplussed by this business of "the modern Antigone." Why? He must want to say something about the modern condition that just pointing out the ancient condition would not convey: but I'm not clear what that is. The sheer effrontery is impressive, of course, but effrontery is Kierkegaard's stock-in-trade.

Side note: K's sexism is the smarmiest, ugliest kind. I applaud any woman who has the fortitude to wade through this sewer. Thank God he never married: what a mess he would have made of it!

p 180. the fiction of the narrator in "Silhouettes" is that he knows all about love. Since K is obviously an awkward inexperienced young man, this falls on its face from time to time. K knows almost nothing about love, except what he's read in books. The farthest my generosity can stretch is to take all this as a species of literary criticism. 

p 198. It takes some doing to keep reading. My dislike of K is profound: I find him deeply, deeply antipathetic. All this analysis of seduction and its aftermath, which is all adolescent fantasy: and yet never the slightest twinge of what drove Shelley to imagine, "this could be otherwise: eros could be in service to agape."

Maybe K is right, and it can't be: but for God's sake, you want him to at least be tempted by the idea. Instead he goes on and on and on, clearly relishing the betrayals, lingering on them lovingly. No, I do not like this man: I find him repellent. For all his supposed sympathy with these Maries and Elviras and Susannas, he would not lift a finger to help them.

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