Literature: July 2004 Archives

While I was casting about looking for a harbor or whatever you want to call it, I decided to rediscover the odd delilghts of Mack the Knife. In doing so, I stumbled across this rather unlikely discussion of how John Gay used Sanskrit wordplay in the original of the Three Penny Opera--The Beggar's Opera. The author includes a reference to his study of "Sanskrit Puns in Gulliver's Travels," also worth a look.

One never fails to be delilghted by the endless invention of the human mind. What masterpieces we are of the Father. We look and we find meaning in the most unlikely places. And the odd part of that is that in those odd places is more meaning than we could possibly comprehend anyway.

(Dedicated especially to Eric and other erstwhile and formidable semoticians out there--thank you for making the world a more interesting place. Now, won't you please come in out of the rain before you catch your death?)

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Caught in the Trap of Our Making


Described beautifully by Charles Williams:

from All Hallow's Eve

She was about a third of the way down when from far off the sound of the Name caught her. She could hardly there be said to have heard it; it was not so much a name or even a sound as an impulse. It had gone, the Indrawing cry, where only it could go, for the eternal City into which it was inevitably loosed absorbed it into its proper place. It could not affect the solid house of earth nor the millions of men and women toilfully attempting goodness; nor could it reach the paradisical places and thier inhabitants. It sounded only through the void streets, the apparent facades, the shadowy rooms of the world of the newly dead. There it found its way. Other wanderers, as invisible to Evelan as she to them, but of her kind, felt it--old men seeking lechery, young men seek drunkeness, women making and believing malice, all harborers in a lie. The debased Tetragrammaton drew them with its spiritual suction: the syllables passed out and swirled, and drawing thier captives returned to their speaker. Some went a little way and fell; some farther and failed; of them all only she, at once the latest, the weakest, the nearest, the worst, was wholly caught. She did not recognize captvity; she thought herself free. She began to walk more quickly, to run, to run fast. As she ran, she began to hear the sound. It was not friendly; it was not likeable; but it was allied. She felt towards it as Lester had felt towards the cry on the hill. The souls in that place know their own proper sounds and hurry to them.

Without question, Williams is difficult and you must read nuance and symbol to get everything. But here, in characteristic fashion, he spells it out to all who are paying attention. "My sheep know my voice and they hear me."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Literature category from July 2004.

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