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From a human point of view, it has no philosophical or ethical content.

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It is, as a vision, a devastation, an apocalypse at wrong end of time. It is a drama in which matter and energy usurp roles that once belonged to gods and angels.

It is without life: brutally mechanical. It is without even the seeds of life, or the likelihood.

The circumcision of gentiles in the United States is a cruel and useless mutilation. It is an ironic turn of events. The circumcision of the Old Testament was a slicing away of the merest tip of the foreskin, the akroposthion as the Greeks called it. In the Hellenizing period of the first century C. Gentiles began to circumcise fairly recently: a Victorian attempt, one among many, to prevent masturbation.

Housman was circumcised at thirteen. It is difficult to think of another such institutionalized gratuitous meanness, the brutal insensitivity of which enjoys universal indifference. A Tiresian conundrum: a male who has never known the sensuality of a foreskin, both for masturbation and for making love, cannot know what he has been so criminally bereft of. An American evangelist on Swedish TV reminds me that kinship is one of the most primitive of tyrannies. Our real kin are those we have chosen.

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An easy and smooth style is all very well, but it takes no chances and has no seductive wrinkles, no pauses for thought. Michel was, as he figured it, happy. Stalin is dead — but Tatlin will outlive him by less than three months. Viktor leaves. Tatlin sits among his hens and his books, of which he reads the same pages over and over.

He and the others are ghosts of themselves, living in their minds, in memory and imagination.

Guy Davenport

The story ends, as it began, with the flying machine. Godine, , In his own fiction, Davenport has succeeded in that regard, finding new ways to dramatize one, suggestive question: What if we were free? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.

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