One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Beware of Pity": Black Love

The young narrator, Hofmiller, ruminating on the fact that Edith has fallen in love with him:
Even if I had sometimes been stirred by Ilona's sensual beauty, I had never even thought of Edith as a member of the opposite sex; it had never even so much as crossed my mind that her crippled body was possessed of the same organs, that her soul harboured the same urgent desires, as those of other women. It was only from this moment that I began to have an inkling of the fact (suppressed by most writers) that the outcasts, the branded, the ugly, the withered, the deformed, the despised and rejected, desire with a more passionate, far more dangerous avidity than the happy; that they love with a fanatical, a baleful, a black love, and that no passion on earth rears its head so greedily, so desperately, as the forlorn and hopeless passion of these step-children of God, who feel that they can only justify their earthly existence by loving and being loved. That it is precisely from the lowest abysses of despair that the  panic cries and groans of those hungry for love ring out most gruesomely -- this was the dread secret which I, in my raw inexperience, had never ventured to suspect. It was not until this moment that the knowledge penetrated my consciousness like a red-hot knife.
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