Crying For Anna Karenina

I’ve become a better, not worse, crier over the years. Growing up hasn’t made me cry less, now that I’m all ‘grown-up’ and a really big boy. Au contraire, I cry–roughly defined as ‘tears in the eyes’ or ‘lumps in the throat which leave me incapable of speech’ even if not ‘sobbing’–more. There is moreContinue reading “Crying For Anna Karenina”

Hankering for a ‘Comfortable’ Past

In Home: A Short History of an Idea (Penguin: New York, 1986, pp. 213) Witold Rybczynski writes: If department stores or home-decorating magazines are any indication, most people’s first choice would be to live in rooms that resemble, as much as their budgets permit, those of their grandparents….such nostalgia is absent from other periods of our everyday lives. WeContinue reading “Hankering for a ‘Comfortable’ Past”

A Bodily Memory, Re-Evoked

Today, after a several-month-long gap thanks to my sabbatical leave, I am ensconced again in my university campus office. (I made the trip in today to meet a doctoral student and to attend to some bureaucratic matters.) My journey to campus–a half-hour walk as usual, preceded by dropping off my daughter at daycare–was uneventful, remindingContinue reading “A Bodily Memory, Re-Evoked”

Parents and Children: Perfect Strangers

A couple of days ago, I received news that a gentleman who had known my father during their years of service in the air force had passed away. A dozen or so years ago, we had established a brief correspondence by email; in his messages, he had briefly detailed the extent of his contact withContinue reading “Parents and Children: Perfect Strangers”

Children and Nostalgia

I often find myself talking or writing about nostalgia. As I said here a little while ago: I’m an immigrant; nostalgia and homesickness are supposed to be my perennial conditions. In that same post, I remarked too, on the particular manifestations of both kinds of nostalgia–restorative, which concerns itself with returning to the lost home and reflective,Continue reading “Children and Nostalgia”

Kinds of Nostalgia

In reviewing Hadara Lazar’s Out of Palestine: The Making of Modern Israel, (‘Palestine: How Bad, & Good was British Rule, New York Review of Books, 7 February 2013) Avishai Margalit writes The term “nostalgia” was coined by a Swiss doctor, Johannes Hofer, in a dissertation submitted to Basel University in 1688. It was meant to be usedContinue reading “Kinds of Nostalgia”

The Autumn as Inducer of Childhood Remembrances

In ‘The Innocent,’ one of the twenty-one short stories in Graham Greene‘s Twenty-One Stories (Penguin, 1970), the narrator of the tale notes, On an autumn evening, one remembers more of childhood than at any other time of year… Our hero is correct. Or at least, this rings true to me. Why might that be? Our story-tellerContinue reading “The Autumn as Inducer of Childhood Remembrances”