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Showing posts from January 3, 2016

feelings, year 1

This week they are discussing feelings in Adam’s class. Feelings are represented by faces, drawn on the board. One face is labeled sick. Its eyes are closed and its tongue is hanging out. It sticks out from the scale of other feelings in as much as we probably think of being sick as a physiological rather than an emotional feeling. As always, though, emotional talk is fraught with a certain categorial precarity, since, after all, all emotional feelings, we also feel, are physiological states. Another face shows a gaping mouth, and is labeled surprise. Another shows a frown and a lowering brow, and is labeled anger. Another is a smily face, and is labeled happy. Still another shows tears, and is labeled sad. The faces are drawn by one of the teachers, who has a knack for caricature. You would say,at first glance, that the faces were boys. But in fact, there are no real clues to the sex of each face, save for the fact that the conventions of showing girls in childworld are absent. N

dickens and virginia woolf

In the twenties, according to V.S. Pritchett, it was fashionable to disparage Charles Dickens, at least among the modernist set. Two disparate writers from that period, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf, seem to bear Pritchett out. Waugh, famously, employed Dickens work as a tool of torture in Handful of Dust, when the hapless Tony Last is captured by an Amazonian eccentric and forced to read to him from Dickens’ collected works, an unhappy end if there ever was one. In Waugh’s one extended essay on Dickens, a review of the large Life of Dickens published by Edgar Johnson, he had a lot of fun shooting spitballs at the “disgusting hypocrite”. Dickens wishy washy liberalism and complete absense of a sense of original sin put him outside Waugh’s ultramontane disposition. No man is a hero to his letter readers – especially Dickens, whose hypocrisies can be tracked with cruel accuracy. Even in the 1870s, when the first collection of Dickens letters were published, an anonymous writer at the