Monday, March 31, 2008

Singing in the dead of night.

Suddenly the weather has caught up to the flowers and the birdsong and the perpetual greenness of the grass. You can't imagine the repertoire these blackbirds have.

I am about to finish rereading a very important and very intricately difficult text, Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. This time around, not only do I seem to understand what I'm reading--and this is my third time through this book in the past decade--but I even find parts of it very stirring indeed. (Emerson and Thoreau fans in the house, you should know that this philosophic novel was absolutely essential in launching Transcendentalism.) "Am I to view the Stupendous with stupid indifference, because I have seen it twice, or two hundred, or two million times?" Carlyle has his Professor-protagonist declare. No, certainly no, comes my reply flying back. As does his: "There is no reason in Nature or in Art why I should: unless, indeed, I am a mere Work-Machine, for whom the divine gift of Thought were no other than the terrestrial gift of Steam is to the Steam-engine; a power whereby Cotton might be spun, and money and money's worth realised."


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