Tell Your Children
31 minutes ago
"Sir," he [the murderer] said, "acknowledge yourself beaten."But, of course, Dr. Fell has not been made a fool of...
"Sir," replied Dr. Fell, "apparently I must."
"Badly beaten, I think."
"So it seems."
"In fact, made a fool of."
"So it would seem."
It's human to desire what we need, and it's human to desire what we don't need but find desirable. Sickness occurs when we desire what we need and what's desirable with equal intensity, suffering our lack of perfection as if it were a lack of bread. The Romantic malady is to want the moon as if it could actually be obtained.
I left my room with a great goal in mind, which was simply to get to the office on time. But on this particular day the compulsion to live participated in that other good compulsion which makes the sun come up at the times shown in the almanac, according to the latitude and longitude of each place on earth. I felt happy because I couldn't feel unhappy.
Perhaps my destiny is to remain forever a bookkeeper, with poetry or literature as a butterfly that alights on my head, making me look ridiculous to the extent that it looks beautiful.
We may know that the work we continue to put off doing will be bad. Worse, however, is the work we never do. A work that's finished is at least finished. It may be poor, but it exists, like the miserable plant in the flowerpot of my neighbour who's crippled. The plant is her happiness, and sometimes it's even mine. What I write, bad as it is, may provide some hurt or sad soul a few moments of distraction from something worse. That's enough for me, or it isn't enough, but it serves some purpose, and so it is with all of life.
These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it's because I have nothing to say.I could have copied out an entirely different set of passages, and in fact the passages selected changed from the ones I noted in the back of my book as I went to look them up for this post and began rereading at random. I expect -- I would hope -- the next time I read the book, I would be struck by an entirely different set of passages.
It struck him that both Marta and Chiara took advantage of him by attacking him with their ignorance, or call it innocence. A serious thinking adult had no defence against innocence because he was obliged to respect it, whereas the innocent scarcely knows what respect is, or seriousness either.Innocence is (mostly) the story of a romance and marriage between Chiara Ridolfi and Dr. Salvatore Rossi. It is set in Italy and the main events take place in the mid-1950s. Rossi (the subject of the above quote) is a rising neurologist from the South, and Chiara is the only child of an impoverished count with an estate outside Florence. Rossi is equally innocent as Chiara, if not more so, and really, there very nearly isn't anyone in the book who isn't an innocent in the face of the complexities of life.
[Of the family Ridolfi] ...a tendency towards rash decisions, perhaps, always intended to ensure other people's happiness, once and for all. It seems an odd characteristic to survive for so many years, Perhaps it won't do so for much longer.We know from the very first pages that Rossi and Chiara do get married; from there the story moves back to how they met. The middle of the book has the elements of a fairly traditional romantic comedy plot. Boy meets girl (at a concert in Florence) and they fall in love at once, but the boy has vowed emotional independence and the girl (in 1950s Italy) can't quite make the first move, or at least not the first, second, third, and fourth, which is what it's going to take. So she tells her father she's inviting her strong-minded English friend from convent school, Lavinia Gore-Barnes, or Barney, to come help her, though she doesn't say what for.
"Shall I like this friend of yours?"Barney decides she needs to meet Rossi first to determine if he's suitable for Chiara; that will determine her further course of action. She arranges a luncheon at the English neighbours of the Ridolfi's main estate. Chiara is not allowed to attend. But Rossi runs away from the luncheon as fast as he can once he realizes Chiara isn't there, and Chiara runs towards the luncheon because she can't bear to stay away. The luncheon is a disaster, but Chiara and Rossi meet, and something, which involves sheets hanging out the window, happens.
"I hope you will, I'm sure you will."
"Does she speak clearly?"
"She has a strong character."
...above all he [Count Ridolfi] wanted to avoid asking Chiara about it, because she would tell him the truth.In any case, whatever happened, the marriage is now on.
"What's to become of us? We can't go on like this."The novel alas doesn't, much as I might wish it did. Highly recommended.
"Yes, we can go on like this,' said Cesare. "We can go on exactly like this for the rest of our lives."
Someday I'll compose an opera called Schopenhauer's Dog--it will be about love and compassion, Vedic India, Buddhism, and vegetarianism. The dog in question will be a music-loving Labrador its master takes to the opera, a Wagnerian dog...The dog will be a witness to the ruin of culture and the return of barbarism; in the last act, Schopenhauer's ghost will rise from the flames to save the dog (but only the dog) from destruction.