The other day, having been invited by Ermenegildo Zegna or some such industrialist, to reflect upon the battles of the Isonzo River, all that came to mind was the tendency of granite cliffs to shatter disagreeably, under the influence of repeated artillery shelling - itself, a large enough nuisance. But hardship by misdirection is of such renown to the Common Law, that I found myself lapsing into nostalgia for Torts class, and those many dreamy nights of sharing hypotheticals between Socratic drubbings before one's peers. One likes to know where to lay a blame, and yet in the case of battle, Sovereign Immunity wittily bars the door. It's splendid to be able to turn to a Creator for damages, in the defective production of His rocks. It was bad enough, I think we can agree, to allow a river to carve away half of Arizona.
We may never know how many readers there must be, who had experience of that Century, on which the Sisyphean genius of the Isonzo River battles - staged 8 or 9 times, over a couple of years, to prodigal movement of rock, if none of either front line - raised such a mesmerising curtain, one could have skipped the entire opera. Whole bunches of human limbs actually made it out of that interval, to our fair surprise.
Thinking the Twentieth Century
Penguin Books, 2012©