Archive for June, 2015

Absolom Absolom

June 29, 2015

Was talking with someone why Absolom was repeated in the title to Absolom Absolom! but the repetition is the bible’s [for example. Sam II; 19:4]:

And the king hid his face; and the king cried out in a great voice, saying, my son Absolom, Absolom my son!

Septuagint (which doesn’t add any thing but still nice to see):

Και ο βασιλευς εκρυψε το προσωπον αυτου και εκραξεν ο βασιλευς φωνη μεγαλη, λεγων, υιε μου Αβεσσαλωμ, Αβεσσαλωμ υιε μου.

About the repetitions of “A Strange Commonplace”

June 28, 2015

One idea: that A Strange Commonplace is essentially a form of picaresque novel –that it is nothing other than an interesting collection of unrelated vignettes– and the “repetitions” serve the same purpose as the hero/ protagonist of the typical picaresque novel, that of tying the various adventures together. In other words, the repetitions serve a structural purpose, and are what make A Strange Commonplace plausible as a single book. (Which may be close to the same as saying — the repetitions are Macguffins.)

Another idea: is that while, as in the forgoing, A Strange Commonplace is essentially a picaresque novel –one unrelated tale followed by another and having “repetitions” instead of a central protagonist– the repetitions were not added after the fact, to provide the structure, but were rather used before the fact, in order to create the vignettes in the first place — as part of a method of composition.

[In this view, Sorrentino, instead of saying, “I’m going to add a borsalino hat to this story so as to suggest a tie-in with this other story with a borsalino,” has established before writing the story, as a formal or informal rule of its composition, that it is to include one or more of these repeated elements. So they are essentially writing prompts for him: objects like the homburg hat and the gabardine dress located Sorrentino among the field of things he is capable of writing of, and so became his staring point.]

In what sense a symbol: I don’t entirely discount the idea of the repetitions serving a more traditional symbolic function, but would argue, first, they are more “signs” which we come to identify with certain ideas (the Grey Homburg, for example, with some sort of male sexual misdeed) than symbols of bottomless significance or “meaning.” And, second, that some sort of accounting needs to be made for the fact that human characters don’t seem to enjoy a privileged existence over objects with respect to their symbolism: that is, if the “grey homburg” is a symbol of something, so is “Claire.” One is not more or less symbol than the other, one is not more or less character than the other.


Elsewhere on this site: a Commonplace concordance.

they instill in man a love of beauty

June 23, 2015

[Sonya’s remarks not too far off from the Pope’s in the recent Encyclical, “but now, it’s not convincing my friend, as I must” “]

…a shortened form of ‘attire’ (n.). The notion is of the tire as the dressing
tire of the wheel.” Space Fence
Ludlow massacre
Petroleum play
Didicoy. PETM

..Mal Waldron *
Stuart Murdoch
zanzibar Volubilis
… “But why be wanton?”
Developed from the adverb ‘then’, and not distinguished from it in spelling until c.1700than

Racial diversity and nation “plant types”

June 21, 2015

United States. Nietzsche’s distinction between nations that are plants that climb (Greece) and those that are like plants that spread (Rome) …

Ancient cultures and ethnic diversity. How ethnically diverse was Rome? If it was more diverse when it was decaying than when it was growing, or the opposite, what would that speak to? [I.e., how does diversity track against the rise and fall of the Roman Empire — against the rise and fall of other nations and empires.]

— Was Rome more or less diverse than Greece? Than Persia? The Parthians? Were ancient states “diverse” in the same way modern ones can be? (Are modern states, on the whole, diverse?) Was there an ancient conception of diversity? Does diversity mean different things among different cultures or races? (Did diversity in Ancient China mean the same as in Ancient England)

— If Rome was never as diverse in the same sense as the United States (another “spreading plant”) has become, does that provide the United States with a different set of opportunities? might be a somewhat different variety of ‘plant’?

— And races comparable to City-states? Are “spreading plants” more or less diverse than climbing flowering ones […]


June 18, 2015

“Pauvre et san honneurs la nudité de sa condition avilissait tous les avantages des autres” (Valery of Mallarmé, as quoted by Ciryl Connolly, The Unquiet Grave.)

June 16, 2015

this terrible school of abnegation is undertaken voluntarily […] to escape the lot of those who have lived their whole life without finding their true selves in themselves

Brothers K.

June 15, 2015

No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by the word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior, by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol—cross or crescent or whatever—that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race. Its various allegories are the charts against which he measures himself and learns to know what he is. It cannot teach man to be good as the textbook teaches him mathematics. It shows him how to discover himself, evolve for himself a moral code and standard within his capacities and aspirations, by giving him a matchless example of suffering and sacrifice and the promise of hope

June 8, 2015

Fifty hospitals in the United States are charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, according to research published Monday.50 U.S. hospitals mark up prices 1000 percent for some patients, study finds [POST]

(An interesting fact raised in the article is that there are about 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. — confirmed here, which says 5,686.)

ψυχρου κρουνος

June 7, 2015

Pausanias, Desc. of Greece, Laconia, 24. 2:

εστι δε και υδατος ψυχρου κρουνος εκβαλλων εκ πετρας

ψυχρου (ψυχρος, -α, -ον): cold, chill κρουνος, -ou (m): spring, well-head.

There is also a spring of cold water flowing out from the rocks.

June 5, 2015

dispositivos lentos