Log24

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday February 5, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:05 AM

A literary complaint:

Philip Larkin on his fear of death

This is a special way
   of being afraid
No trick dispels.
   Religion used to try,
That vast, moth-eaten
   musical brocade
Created to pretend
   we never die….

A literary response
quoted in
The Last Enemy
:

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

— Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

— Back to barracks! he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

— For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

— Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

— James Joyce, Ulysses

From a musical brocade:

“My shavin’ razor’s cold
 and it stings.”

— John Stewart,
    who died on January 19

For the rest of
the brocade, see
The Last Enemy.

Related material:

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

and the quote by Susan Sontag
in yesterday’s entry,
as well as a recent
New York Times book review:

NYT review of a book on the death of Susan Sontag

“Slow music, please.
 Shut your eyes, gents.
 One moment. A little trouble
 about those white corpuscles.
 Silence, all.”

 Ite, missa est.

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