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, September 14, 2011

Coetzee's "Costello": Koba the Bear and Paul West

Lesson 6: The Problem of Evil. Ok, but not my fave chapter: traverses an age-old subject and doesn't turn up much that is new (I mean Hannah Arendt new).

One bit I dog-eared (also threw a Howgarthian line in with an exclamation mark) because I liked it so much (especially if I could widen its scope). The underlining is mine:
   The routine censorship paper is liberal in its ideas, with perhaps a touch of the Kulturpessimismus that has marked her thinking of late: the civilization of the West is based on belief in unlimited and illimitable endeavour; it is too late for us to do anything about that, we must simply hold on tight and go wherever the ride takes us. It is on the subject of the illimitable that her opinions seem to be undergoing a quiet change. Reading West's book has contributed to that change, she suspects, though it is possible the change would have happened anyway, for reasons that are more obscure to her. Specifically, she is no longer sure that people are always improved by what they read. Furthermore, she is not sure that writers who venture into the darker territories of the soul always return unscathed. She has begun to wonder whether writing what one desires, any more than reading what one desires, is in itself a good thing.

Stalin is called the older brother and mentor of Hitler:

Stalin Pictures, Images and Photos
Koba the Bear

Paul West, a real author, is alluded to (Coetzee never lets him speak) in this work of "non-non-fiction":

Paul West
[From the Wikimedia Commons.
Source: Paul West's Literary Assistant, Liz Butler]
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