so very well. He surely had virtues you were unaware of;
nor perhaps are those deep wounds the ones
that you imagine (out of ignorance of his life)
to be the dreadful blows that came from you
Don't count on your feeble memory.
Temper your remorse, which is always
so one-sidedly against you, it's casuistry.
An obstacle was there and it distorted
my actions and the way I lived my life.
An obstacle was there and it stopped me
on many occasions when I was going to speak.
But perhaps it's not worth squandering so much care and trouble on puzzling me out. Afterwards - in some more perfect society - someone else who's fashioned like me will surely appear and be free to do as he pleases.
... unless a statesman feels some sense of re- vulsion when he has to choose to commit a nec- essary evil, he is far more likely to commit an evil when it is not necessary.
Noel Annan could capture the Wodehousian enchantedness of Comrade Stalin perhaps better than the master, himself, given the latter's absorption in record-keeping. In the surreal ditziness of the doddering ornithologist, Saxby senior, there were flashes of unanswerable penetration, resembling Stalin's on hearing that his spy, Kim Philby, was being a huge success in Spain, even as Franco was advancing. That isn't logical, Stalin objected. It's rather the way one feels to be given excuses of endearing innocence for a President, on the strength of his liking for Topolobampo, who's amassing a dossier on the entire world. Nice taco, Comrade?
It's enough to engender the ennui on which repression always relies, to be greeted with the identical intimidations one voted against, all one's life, as the culture's descent into the paranoia of the Cold War climaxed in the incred- iblest confection of invisible e- mergencies, in every corner of a soccer child's locker room. Al- ways there was the complaisantly clever "reformer," who'd promise relief from domestic injustice in broad daylight, who'd dare us to risk our lives and our hopes with worse. Now we admit, this isn't logical, and with the clear-eyed, crazy ornithologist, we observe, there's no such bogey in the sky. It's where we go to breathe.
Rare as they may be, they can throttle the silly to a standstill.
At Groton he bucked the spartan regime of its headmaster. Endicott Peabody told his mother to take him away since he would never make a Groton boy out of him. His mother re- plied she had not sent Dean there to be made into a Grot- on boy but to be ed- ucated, and she sug- gested Peabody should start doing so.
It is a portrait not of Marian Evans the woman but of George Eliot the artist, and one is not surprised to learn that Lewes rejected it. The face is sad, the eyes are cold and weary, the expression superior, the mouth is sensual and cruel: not the cruelty of a torturer, but the cruelty of a judge. Why should it not be? No charge of hypocrisy laid at her door could compare with the double-dealing of the society which condemned her .. Human beings, particularly when they are artists, are too valuable, too disparate, too contradictory to be left in the hands of the critics or the psychoanalysts. Their poignancy rests in the peculiar force with which each spurns the ideal.