Welcome to November. There’s a Greek greeting shared between folks on the first day of each month. This isn’t the first day of the month, but it is the first TAC Fiction Review of the month, so I share with you, Kalo Mina, which means, ‘good month.’ In effect, it’s a wish that the coming month bring you blessings and happiness.
Terry Teachout posted a George Orwell quote that one might want to reflect one prior to pontificating on what the coming months and years may have in store:
“People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.” – George Orwell, “London Letter,” Partisan Review, Winter 1945
This quote is appropriate because many of those linked below steadfastly refuse to ignore “the most grossly obvious facts.”
The past few weeks have been devoted to supernatural hauntings. This week, as Fall drifts into Winter, the selections below plumb hauntings of a more emotional nature, therefore I’ve included more poetry than past postings.
First up, an incredibly moving short story by the first non-Western winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Please follow the link so as to absorb it in its entirety. Then comes a review of a poet, whom First Things described as “haunted by brokenness.” Rounding out the links is an essay about by a man who may be described as haunted not so much by personal brokenness as by cultural brokenness. This week’s “Poetry Corner” includes two by this great poet.
Please forgive the paucity of fiction this week.
- “The Editor” by Rabindranath Tagore
Essays and Reviews:
- T.S. Eliot and the Demise of the Literary Culture
- A Poet Haunted by Brokenness – First Thing’s Losan Boyd on Kathleen Graber’s new collection of poems, The Eternal City
- Philadelphia Sage – David M. Whalen reviews American Austen: The Forgotten Writings of Agnes Repplier edited by John Lukacs
- “The Grocer’s Cat” by Agnes Repplier – an essay Repplier published in 1912, which cat lovers may find intriguing.
- “Literature and the Contract of Eternal Society” by Russell Kirk
- “Thomas Wolfe, Then and Now” by Andy Whitman
News and other bits and bytes:
- It’s a New “Look!” for Superman
- America Loves Manly Men, not Metrosexual Emos– Big Hollywood’s Ben Shapiro takes on this new “Look!” Superman
- Is the E-Book the New Hardback?
- Stars Fall in Amazon Protest about E-Book Prices – Should a book’s price affect how many stars it gets at Amazon?
- Returning to the Scene of the Crime – “After a foray into literary fare, ‘urban novelist’ Dennis Lehane brings back his wise-cracking detective duo”
Poetry Corner – Selected from Prufrock and Other Observations by T.S. Eliot
As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and
being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a
talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at
each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her
throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter
with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked
cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: “If the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden …” I decided that
if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments
of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention
with careful subtlety to this end.
Thou hast committed-
Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.
The Jew Of Malta
Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon
You have the scene arrange itself-as it will seem to do-
With “I have saved this afternoon for you”;
And four wax candles in the darkened room,
Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead,
An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb
Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole
Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and finger tips.
“So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul
Should be resurrected only among friends
Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom
That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.”
-And so the conversation slips
Among velleities and carefully caught regrets
Through attenuated tones of violins
Mingled with remote cornets
“You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find
In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,
(For indeed I do not love it … you knew? you are not blind!
How keen you are!)
To find a friend who has these qualities,
Who has, and gives
Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you-
Without these friendships-life, what cauchemar!”
Among the windings of the violins
And the ariettes
Of cracked cornets
Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins
Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own,
That is at least one definite “false note.”
-Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance,
Admire the monuments
Discuss the late events,
Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half an hour and drink our bocks.
“Portrait of a Lady” continues here.