Sunday, August 13, 2006
Saul Bellow. How well he understands the impoverishment of the spirit when you live in a culture where nothing has value, only a price; and how valiantly and with what integrity and humor he fights against it. How well it chimes with my present circumstances. Always experimental and knowing, and accepting of himself and curious for others, Charlie Citrine, that wonderul creation. What fascinates me most about reading Humboldt’s Gift for the first time is seeing how Charlie’s growing discovery of anthroposophy is going to unfold, and what he will eventually make of it. How will it help the character to resolve his extreme loftiness and disengagement, which is Citrine’s imperative as a character, his fate? And what ultimately is Saul Bellow’s stance towards it. I love how he swoops from talk of the consciousness soul and the etheric body (the obsolete mad discourse of one of my previous lives) with descriptions of Chicago mobsters and other intellectual pursuits. Steeped through and through with a passionate love of culture and art and above all, literature. His study of boredom has got to be the most interesting unwritten book ever.