Spellcoats and Crown of Dalemark, plus an update
3 hours ago
Lily continued to meet his expostulations with a smile. 'I don't know why I should regard myself as an exception--' she began.
'Because you are; that's why;...'There is something special about Lily. And so, when something bad happens to her, it's at least potentially tragic.
"...this strategy was a bitter necessity in order to achieve a certain humorous leavening of the somber material..."
"There is nothing sillier, in a novel about an artist, than merely to assert the existence of art, to talk about genius, about works, to hail these and rave about their effects upon the souls of the audiences. No, concrete reality, exactitude, were needed--this was utterly clear to me."But short of including a score or a CD, the reader can only estimate musical works from the description of their effects on others. Doctor Zhivago includes Zhivago's poems and we can judge of them, though less so in my case, since I have no Russian. But a novel about a musician? Music is inherently harder. Is Mann's the right approach? I think a lot of people don't read Mann because of his difficulty, because of all that music theory, but then I think hardly anybody reads Rolland at all. (Which is a shame.)
How much Faustus contains of the atmosphere of my life! A radical confession, at bottom. From the very beginning that has been the shattering thing about the book.
Has any man who ever bore the incubus of creation on his back, always concerned, obsessed, preoccupied with the the work of days and years--has any such man ever been an enjoyable companion? Dubito.
Protracted psychological low, intensified by horror at the misguidedness of the novel I began with so zestful a sense of experiment.
Why, yes. Certainly! On with it! We'll cut a page and a half; we'll cut three pages. That will make it more readable, somewhat more readable.
The fact remains, never before has any work so agitated and moved me!But also these, more general:
Switzerland is where the most gloriously un-German things are said in German.
People who feel held back and not given their due, and who at the same time present a distinguished appearance, often seek redress in racist self-assertion.
Life is pain, and we only live as long as we suffer. [Ouch! Tell me it ain't so, Tom!]
There is no doubt in my mind to whom we are indebted for this victory. It is Roosevelt.Mann was an enthusiastic American citizen at the time and a great partisan of FDR. Still the House Un-American Activities Committee hounded him out of the country a couple of years later.
|Humpty's eyes may look a little dazed.|
Nothing is so far as truth;
nothing is so plain to see.
Look where light has married earth
through the green leaves on the tree.
Nothing is so hard as love--
love for which the wisest weep;
yet the child who never looked
found it easily as his sleep.
Nothing is as strange as love--
love is like a foreign land.
Yet its natives find their way
natural as hand-in-hand.
Nothing is so bare as truth--
that lean geometry of thought;
but round its poles there congregate
all foliage, flowers and fruits of earth.
Oh, love and truth and I should meet,
sighed the man beneath the tree;
but where should our acquaintance be?
Between your hat and the soles of your feet,
sang the bird on the top of the tree.
"Mine, I fear, is not a well-regulated mind: it has an occasional tenderness for old abuses; it lingers with a certain fondness over the days of nasal clerks and top-booted parsons and has a sigh for the departed shades of vulgar errors."
"[This inability to see into her] only brought me more completely under her power: no matter how empty the adytum, so that the veil be thick enough."
|Hubert is thinking about adventures|
"Although resembling humans in form, they lack a human soul, so to achieve mortality, they must acquire one by marrying a human."When she arrives in New York her guide to society is the rather questionable Mrs. Heeny, a masseuse. Undine and her mother know nothing about old money New York, but under Mrs. Heeny's dubious tutelage, they learn, and Undine learns quicker. Undine captivates Ralph Marvell, the heir to an old money fortune much diminished over the years. Certainly Ralph is more aware of the poetic overtones of the name Undine, though the exact nature of the legend is never mentioned in the novel. Even more than her Romantic name, though, her beauty snares him; that, and the belief she's unformed, and he can do the forming.
The only essential was that he should live 'like a gentleman' -- that is, with a tranquil disdain for mere money-getting, a passive openness to the finer sensations, one or two fixed principles as to the quality of wine, and an archaic probity that had not yet learned to distinguish between private and 'business' honour.This is all pretty much satire to this point, but Ralph Marvell becomes a pretty sympathetic character; he may be a little romantically naive, but does he deserve Undine?
"And is Undine one of the exceptions?"
Her companion took the shot with a smile. "No -- she's a monstrously perfect result of the system: the completest proof of its triumph. It's Ralph who's the victim and the exception."And so it proves.
But under all the dazzle a tiny black cloud remained. She had learned that there was something she could never get, something that neither beauty nor millions could ever buy for her. She could never be an Ambassador's wife; and as she advanced to welcome her first guests she said to herself that it was the one part she was really made for.Ha! So the scheming provincial gets her comeuppance anyway. But in a tiny way. And why was she divorced? Because her father compelled her to get divorced; back then Elmer Moffatt seemed unsuitable, though we've come to see they're all too suitable to each other. To what extent is Undine even the author of her own fate? If she'd stayed married to Elmer, as she wanted, she could have been an ambassador's wife! That is, if Elmer had still succeeded, dragging along the spendthrift Undine. And Undine had acquired the tone to be an ambassador's wife as the wife of Elmer Moffatt.
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)--
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.
"I take SPACE to be the central fact to man born in America,..."I noticed Biblioklept highlighted an earlier post about Olson for Melville's birthday at the start of the readalong, which I enjoyed. So, you know, if you can't wait for my profound thoughts...