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(March 2005)


Jeremy's journal

The alternatives are not placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.

J.M. Coetzee

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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

🦋 Silver, Nitrate, Shipping

"Very well," had said the considerable personage to whom Charles Gould on his way out through San Francisco had lucidly exposed his point of view. "Let us suppose that the mining affairs of Sulaco are taken in hand. There would be in it: first, the house of Holroyd, which is all right; then, Mr. Charles Gould, a citizen of Costaguana, who is also all right; and, lastly, the Government of the Republic. So far this resembles the first start of the Atacama nitrate fields, where there was a financing house, a gentleman of the name of Edwards, and -- a Government; or rather, two Governments -- two South American Governments. And you know what came of it. War came of it; devastating and prolonged war came of it, Mr. Gould."
Somehow I had gotten in mind from The Secret History of Costaguana, that Nostromo held specific allegoric reference to the building of the Panama Canal. That does not seem to be quite right... Certainly the story of the Canal is a relevant line of thought for approaching this book; and the Atacama, too -- nitrate was of huge importance when Conrad was writing this.

posted evening of May 29th, 2012: Respond
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Monday, June 4th, 2012

🦋 What I'm reading these days

Currently reading Nostromo on the subway to and from work, The Lives of Things and (very, very slowly) Manual de pintura y caligrafía* for weekend reading, and making plans to open up and read and write about Antigua vida mía as my contribution to the Spanish Lit Month which Richard of Caravana de recuerdos will with his various co-conspirators be hosting in July. Here is a snippet of reading experience from this weekend --

One could say that the chair about to topple is perfect. In what sense? "complete" certainly -- is the implication here that perfection is death?

Two books in hand on Sunday morning, Sunday morning, pleasant summer Sunday in South Orange, in the village where I live. The orderly torrent of yellow luxurious sunlight amazes me, soft on my skin like satin.

I open up The lives of things and read about the Chair, about the bench beneath me, the allegory's still not crystal clear to me, I'm happy though to dig the plain, the superficial meaning of the words and phrases, marvel at the beauty of the key instead of trying it in its lock.

*(And what, precisely, is the point (you will ask) of reading Saramago in Spanish translation, a novel which is available in English translation, in translation by Pontiero no less? Not sure. But I am having fun with it...)

posted evening of June 4th, 2012: Respond
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