Self’s Favorite Character in ANNA KARENINA

A young doctor has examined Kitty and prescribed for her a period of travel abroad. After he delivers this news to Prince Alexander Dmitrievich and his wife, Kitty’s parents, the old prince pats Kitty’s hair and says:

  • “These idiotic chignons! You can’t get to your real daughter, you’re petting the hair of dead peasants.”

WAAAH!!!

Stay tuned.

 

Anna Karenina As She Was, P. 68 of ANNA KARENINA

Anna Karenina goes to the Oblonskys to play peacekeeper between Stiva and his wife Dolly. Which, in light of what happens later, is extremely ironic. Her message to Dolly: Forgive him! Because he loves you!

After dinner, when Dolly retires to her bedroom, Anna goes to her brother, “who was lighting a cigar.”

“Stiva . . . go and may God help you.”

When Stepan Arkadyevich (Stiva) left, she returned to the sofa, where she sat surrounded by the children. Whether it was because the children saw that their mother loved this aunt, or because they themselves sensed the special charm in her, the older two, and the younger ones in their wake, as often happens with children, had latched onto their new aunt before dinner and would not be separated from her, and between them something like a game was invented that consisted in sitting as close to their aunt as possible, touching her, holding her little hand, kissing it, and playing with her ring, or at least touching the flounce on her dress.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Levin Again: ANNA KARENINA, p. 35

Levin lunching with his old friend Stepan Arkadyevich aka Stiva, whose wife Dolly has just discovered his affair:

Levin: You can’t imagine how it is for me, a country dweller, all this is as savage as the fingernails of the gentlemen I saw in your office.

Stiva (laughing): Yes, I saw how intrigued you were by poor Grinevich’s nails.

Levin: I can’t help it . . . Just imagine you’re me and take a country dweller’s point of view. In the country, we try to keep our hands in a state that makes them handy to work with; so we trim our nails and sometimes roll up our sleeves. But here people let their fingernails grow as long as they can stand it on purpose, and they wear cuff links like saucers so that they can’t do anything with their hands.

Stiva (smiling): Yes, it’s a sign that he doesn’t need to do rough labor. His mind does the work.

Self is fascinated by this glimpse into the foppish fashion of Muscovites.

Stiva seems like a good guy, a good friend to Levin. Ugh, but he’s really so entitled.

Stay tuned.

New Year, New Issues: Prairie Schooner and Calyx

dscn0047

Just Arrived: Sunday, 6 January 2019

SPREAD THE WORD.

BARRACOON: The Door of No Return

It took self a few days to get through the Foreword by Alice Walker and the Introduction by Deborah G. Plant. Now, she’s about to begin the book proper.

Just before the Preface is a photograph:

dscn0041

That little gap of ocean was all the slaves saw as they crowded together in the Slave House, the last stop before they were loaded onto ships that took them to lands of untold misery.

Zora Neale Hurston in the Preface, dated 17 April 1931:

I was sent by a woman of tremendous understanding of primitive peoples to get this story.

It is so uncommonly sad to read the Preface. The slaves entered the barracoon as human beings; little did they know it would be the last time they would feel themselves as such. From that point onward, they were mere cattle.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Barracoon, The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’

from xvi of the Introduction:

From 1801 to 1866, an estimated 3,873,600 Africans were exchanged for gold, guns, and other European and American merchandise.

 

New Book: BARRACOON: THE STORY OF THE LAST ‘BLACK CARGO’

from the Foreword by Alice Walker:

  • Ours is an amazing, a spectacular journey in the Americas. It is so remarkable one can only be thankful for it, bizarre as that may sound. Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.

Looking Back: The New Yorker, 28 May 2018

Self has been subscribing to The New Yorker for over 30 years.

She saves back issues. Obv.

Here’s an excerpt from a Talk of the Town piece published 28 May 2018:

“The Long Fight,” by Amy Davidson Sorkin

  • Among the many matters on which congressional Republicans have failed to press Donald Trump, a joke told by a communications aide may not rank particularly high, but it should have been among the easiest to address. This joke came during a White House meeting, after Sen. John McCain announced that he could not vote for Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee for C.I.A. director because, at her hearing, she would not concede that the agency’s past practice of torture was immoral. “It doesn’t matter,” the aide said. “He’s dying anyway.” Instead of apologizing, the White House launched a hunt for the person who had leaked the remark. Some Republicans expressed outrage, but when G.O.P. senators attended a private lunch with Trump, on Tuesday, the incident wasn’t even mentioned.

After reading the piece, self adds McCain’s The Restless Wave, the book the Senator co-authored with Mark Salter, to her 2019 reading list. In that book, McCain writes

  • that he knows that torture can break people, and make them say anything — even tell lies, producing bad intelligence — and that it can rob a person of everything except “the belief that if the positions were reversed, you wouldn’t treat them as they have treated you.”

Stay tuned.

Gary Kamiya: The “Tenderloin” District, San Francisco

  • What is remarkable about the Tenderloin is that it has remained physically unchanged for more than 80 years. It is a time capsule. The same progressive forces that have kept out ‘progress’ and inadvertently created a Museum of Depravity, have also created a Museum of the Lost City, a vanished world memorialized in the neighborhood’s extraordinary collection of residential hotels. There are hundreds of these historic SROs in the Tenderloin, the largest number in the world. The SROs are the reason that in 2008, the Uptown Tenderloin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 24th San Francisco neighborhood to be so listed.

— Gary Kamiya, “Adventures in the Skin Trade”

Rachel Cusk Sentence of the Day: KUDOS, p. 135

Been reading Kudos since 18 December. Bought her hardbound copy from the London Review Bookshop. The cover had big, black, bold letters against a pristine white background. This very minute, the book sits on her lap, and the white background has acquired a greyish tinge.

p. 135:

That tribe was one to which nearly all the men in this country belonged, and it defined itself through a fear of women combined with an utter dependence on them; and so despite her best efforts it was only a matter of time, she realised, before her son’s questions about right and wrong found their answer in the low-level bigotry with which he was surrounded and to which everything was encouraging him to submit.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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