Friday, August 24, 2018

The Cemetery in Barnes (but not Noble)

Thanks to Gabriel Josipovici whose The Cemetery in Barnes elicited the following paragraph from Michael Caines in the 6/15 TLS: “Gabriel Josipovici’s people are a rum bunch. His oeuvre includes a clown turned private investigator; a girl who listens to her father reading Pope’s Homer and dreams of being like Thetis; some version of the painter Pierre Bonnard; an art historian who once wrote a book about Bonnard is now struggling to write a book about Joseph Cornell. These characters discourse about life and art with a Josipovician jouissance,learned yet light.” One could go on. Actually it’s unclear who to thank the writer or the critic. Without the cast of characters, the review would not have its ne plus ultra faut de mieux. Ah, Wilderness! was the title of an O’Neill play, but this is the reverse. This piece of criticism could be called,  Ah, Western Civilization Goes On After All! The review proceeds on. Suffice it to say, it’s not fair to Mr. Caines to rely totally on his response to Josivopici’s edifice of citations, but it’s hard to hold back on the following: “There is—quoi d’autre?—much quotation from and rumination on Joachim Du Bellay, Shakespeare et al.” Thankfully not a word of politics infects the writing, but one can’t help thinking that the existence of the humanistic enterprise, for all its effeteness (to employ the word that Spiro T. Agnew used to descibe those who opposed the Vietnam War) is some kind of statement, even a protest against the earth spinning off its axis ("Global warming could tilt world off axis,ComputerWeekly. com, August, 2009).

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