Monday, November 10, 2008

One for the Monk

I visited the National Portrait Gallery yesterday in London and happened upon this painting. Immediately recognizable:

Sir Salman, of course - he of the so-called hysterical (but I say alive! and perhaps even more realistic) realism so controversial among the Americans here at Oxford. (Then again, I loved War and Peace, which is nothing if not big and ambitious and given to long digressions about the way the world works - but which is also fundamentally concerned with individual people in the most vital and arresting sense. There are few sentences in literature that have shaken me as profoundly and immediately as Tolstoy's "Love emerged, and life emerged.")

I mention this because I am currently working my way through Midnight's Children per the recommendation of one Lonely Monk, and it is certainly massive (as big as India, you might say) but it takes place through the experience and inside the head of one person (and in the heads of many others - but still filtered through the narrator). Everything that is grand and sweeping about the narrative is also intensely personal; it is huge, but it all unfolds before two eyes. 

Back to work for now, though. Joseph de Maistre calls - and are my peers at beloved Georgetown answering? I happened across a piece in the Georgetown Voice yesterday about the re-appearance of the Georgetown Academy on campus. Word is that the new incarnation will be quite different from the Academy of old - one can only hope! - but since their website isn't up yet, I'll just have to wait and see.  

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