Prophecy And Propaganda As Compensatory Fantasy

In a footnote in his chapter on Herder in Three Critics of The Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2000, p. 231), Isaiah Berlin writes: Like other passionate propagandists, Herder pleaded for that which he himself conspicuously lacked. As sometimes happens, what the prophet saw  before him was a great compensatory fantasy. TheContinue reading “Prophecy And Propaganda As Compensatory Fantasy”

The Pleasures Of Books Never To Be Written

In ‘The Flaubert Apocrypha’ (from: Flaubert’s Parrot, Vintage International, New York, 1990, pp. 115-116), Julian Barnes writes: If the sweetest moment in life is a visit to a brothel which doesn’t come off, perhaps the sweetest moment in writing is the arrival of that idea for a book which never has to be written, whichContinue reading “The Pleasures Of Books Never To Be Written”

Wishful Dreaming And Running On Cold Mornings

Last night, my preparations for bed included a little collection of running gear: tights, shorts, gloves, hat, an inner layer, and finally, an outer sweatshirt. I was planning to make a return to a running routine after having been diverted and distracted back in December. I had checked in with my running partner to seeContinue reading “Wishful Dreaming And Running On Cold Mornings”

The Dog Stars: The Apocalypse As Outdoorsman Fantasy

Peter Heller‘s The Dog Stars is one of those post-apocalyptic novels in which authorial fantasies are overwhelmingly transparent. The world is coming to an end; flu has stalked the land; millions have died. Violence is the currency of most human interaction; food is scarce; government is invisible. And so on. You’ve seen most of thisContinue reading “The Dog Stars: The Apocalypse As Outdoorsman Fantasy”