Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Posted by VH Charbolin at 10:16 PM
Friday, September 7, 2018
"How, then, could we devise one of those useful falsehoods we were talking about a while ago, one noble falsehood that would, in the best case, persuade even the rulers, but if that's not possible, then the others in the city?"
Plato, The Republic
Posted by VH Charbolin at 12:29 AM
Thursday, August 30, 2018
One could be forgiven for supposing that the English are the stupidest most God-awful people on the face of the Earth. Evelyn Waugh may be a satirist, but good satire hits the mark only by being three quarters true. Half-truths are necessary for the preservation of political communities, but when one is at the point of professing three-quarters truths, one has entered upon the collapse of civilizations. That is pretty much what we find going on in Decline & Fall.
Posted by VH Charbolin at 10:43 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness does not receive the excited attention that I usually lavish all of my other readings with. This is partly due to the fact that it is generally a shorter book, and one with which I am far better acquainted, having read it in my teenage years for school and pondered it since. The book is also difficult to treat on its own on account of the impact it has had on our wider culture. The poetry of T.S. Eliot, the brilliant analogy to the Vietnam war in Apocalypse Now - all of this is probably why, contrary to my several posts on Nostromo, there will likely be no more than the previous and this current post on Heart of Darkness. Here, I would like to consider for a moment the exact nature of "the Horror."
Posted by VH Charbolin at 1:16 AM
Monday, August 6, 2018
Posted by VH Charbolin at 1:38 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Having returned to Brideshead Revisited a second time, I am amazed at the speed and lucidity with which I have managed to get through Book I. It may actually be a function of the fact that my initial reading was in pdf, whereas now I can enjoy the paper version (albeit in Polish). Certainly Book I still weighs heavily with all of its pomp, pretentious and unbearably English mannerisms, but it seems to go down rather well the second time around.
Posted by VH Charbolin at 11:36 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Writing archetypes always risks limiting the appeal of a novel's characters. Of course social novels (let us call them such) aim not so much to follow the fate of individuals as to engage in social commentary. Certainly Dostoevsky's Poor People is often interpreted in this light. Given this, I venture a rather odd question which has sprung to mind as I read the love letters: do poor people have poor taste?
Posted by VH Charbolin at 11:11 PM
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Posted by VH Charbolin at 5:01 AM
Saturday, July 14, 2018
The inclination to return and finish Brideshead Revisited was always there, awaiting the proper motivation to spark it into action. Writing my preliminary reviews of the first 100 pages, I fully understood how unfair I had been to Waugh, though it was more a case of hating the message, not the messenger. Initially I had compared the message of Brideshead to that of Helena and found the former inferior to the point of irrelevance. Only now do I realize that it was inadvisable to make such a comparison as though between two autonomous histories, for they are but acts in a larger drama which Waugh unfolds before our eyes: the tragedy of the collapse of Catholic England.
Posted by VH Charbolin at 10:56 PM
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Finally, I have broken through my initially painful aversions and revisited Brideshead Revisited after finding the first 100 pages of the book utterly tormenting for a multiplicity of reasons elaborated upon in earlier posts. Upon completing Book I, with the pleasant notion that our Catholic hero is off to explore Orthodox relics, I am firmly well pleased with the work - now.
Posted by VH Charbolin at 10:20 AM