Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Being There

How could this have happened to me? It's a complaint that's often registered when you find themselves entering those later "stages of man" that Jaques talks about in As You Like It. All of a sudden, you're almost at the foot length of a 12-inch ruler when you might have been at something closer to the half way mark yesterday, or so it seems. At a certain point it’s going to seem overly optimistic or quixotic to sign a five year lease, or fork out for that car or piece of furniture you finally can afford, not to mention friendship and love. Does it make sense to get married for a year or two at most, thereby leaving the other person emotionally bereft—unless, of course, you’ve fallen for a gold digger who’s looking to get set up the rest of their life. Have you ever come to one of those yellow “dead end” signs with the black lettering? You don’t think twice about them, until you begin to consider what the words really mean. Dead End are two nouns in apposition. Does a roundabout exhibit the reality of a real “dead end?” You may have heard someone describing a job that’s going nowhere, with no possibilities for advancement as a “dead end job.” The fact is whether your driving or just living, the end tends to come faster than you expected. The Long Island Expressway or LIE ends at exit 73, but it’s hard to believe for those who have never gone as far as Riverhead. When you’re just taking the LIE to exit 49S or N, the Huntington exits, you feel the LIE will go on forever.

read "Mortal Coil Stuff" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Security" by Otis Redding

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Is Democracy An Esoteric Concept?

Many Republicans and especially Trump’s dedicated base don’t have time for democracy. "The Big Lie" has actually thrown doubt on the voting process itself. The mixture of skepticism and despair on the part of the disenfranchised and dispossessed create a potent cocktail that’s employed in such a way that any election can be challenged. In a democracy irrational passions are tamed by reason--something which requires discipline. The Republican party has become a cult where doubt is promiscuously applied to undermine both rationality and empirical truth. It’s like Philosophy 101 where you learn about solipsism and the possibility that the world doesn’t exist.The fact is  democracy is a rather sophisticated proposition dependent on rather subtle and fragile assumptions. Many essential tenets of democracy like, for example, inalienable rights, are counterintuitive. It’s the opposite of majority rules, relying as it doesn’t on the notion of the one versus the many. Due process is another element of democratic thought that can be difficult to understand when a demagogic leader is revving up what’s ultimately a lynch mob. There’s always the urge to make an exception. Yes, it’s wrong to dispense with the law, but what’s the harm in twisting the facts just this one time? Doesn’t the end justify the means? Trump inspires a loyalty that abrogates many cherished assumptions of a free society. One of the first steps in overturning the rights of the electorate is to allow state legislatures to overrule the will of the people—under the theory that a governing body knows more than those who supposedly elected it. Freedom and liberty may seem like fungible concepts, but freedom as Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out in Schenck v. US doesn’t include the right to cry “fire” in a crowded theater. 

read "MAGA and the Coronavirus" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

Monday, August 29, 2022


Hyperbole is deafening. It’s a WMD that eradicates anything and everything in its path. Firstly it’s a figure of speech that drowns out the sibilant hum of the hive. It’s raison d’etre is the assertion of singularity. Whole lives fall victim to this juggernaut of inflation aka noise. Equanimity is not one of the characteristics of political discourse but the proliferation of warring grandiose assertions is a product of hyperbole. It’s like an arms race which ultimately results in the destruction of the world.Trump is probably the greatest hyperbolist of all time. A product  of the lethal cocktail of reality TV and real estate sales, he uses hyperbole as a blindfold with which to perpetrate free-form assertion.

read "God Bless Pig Latin America" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and listen to "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers

Friday, August 26, 2022

Your Own Personal Default Mode

Has your life become a walking default mode? You have a MacBook, tell yourself you can’t buy another bag of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, but can’t justify reverting back to Chips Ahoy or Famous Amos. You drive a Subaru (the car of choice for Bernie Sanders supporters), don’t understand people who message on Facebook, insist on the actual book and not the e version. You hate Florida period and refuse to ever go there again (now that the last relative who retired there is no more).You long for the old-style Cantonese food that has MSG and trumpet Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, because of its oxymoronic name and because you like to see the expression on varying health nuts' faces. You’re desperately looking for a series now that you’ve finished Borgen, period, end of sentence, Q.E.D. You refuse to be around the kind of people whose insecurity is manifest in a need to talk hyperbolically about the decisions they have made. You only “socialize” with those who're in a protracted state of mourning, people who look like they’ve received bad news (which they usually have) or even death threats, over whose faces there exists a perpetual pall. You like the going rather than the getting there, but in general have no interest in places, which are all basically all the same.

read "Groundhog Day" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "It's the Same Old Song" by The Four Tops

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Gustave Flaubert

You may long after someone who’s unattainable, but they’re undoubtedly longing for someone or something else they can’t have. It’s Bovarysme and as Flaubert himself said, “Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” Waiting for the phone call or e mail that never comes is a tremendously self-centered, in fact, narcissistic activity. It also usually involves some kind of Mephistophelian wager. If I get my poem published or better yet win the love of my Beatrice, I will never ask for anything again. Very few people add the addenda, in the event of the successful execution of the contract with the devil, I will devote myself entirely to other people’s needs and desires. Of course, the very way out of the dilemma of unfulfilled desire is to change the game. Instead of taking, you simply give. Spiritualism is like going the right way on a one-way street. When you go against traffic, you run the risk of having a head-on. NB: Waiting for the impossible is horrible even when it suddenly becomes a possibility since the value of prayers are diluted the moment they're answered. 

read "Paris Journal VII: Madame Ovary" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

and listen to "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" by Marvin Gaye

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Diasporic Dining: The Decline of Hen


The Hen That Laid the Golden Eggs by Gaston Velle (1905)
“Split the lark--and you’ll find the Music” The Emily Dickinson lines are not part of a recipe. But you may remember not so long a ago when you’d split a couple of hens and throw them on the grill, complemented by say yellow rice. Now you’re more likely to invite the self-same guest—not someone who earned another arcane, but expensive dish like Chateaubriand—for thighs, of chicken that is since a hen’s would be nothing to write home about. But “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” to invoke Pete Seeger. Go to your local supermarket and ask for the hen section. A store clerk may point you towards the “poultry” counter simply because a hen is a kind of chicken. During the pandemic the supply chain has been disrupted in many areas. Most recently baby formula was hard to come by. Could it be that all the hens are busy laying eggs?

read "Diasporic Dining: The Running Footman" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Do the Funky Chicken" by Rufus Thomas

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

When is a Fallacy Pathetic?


There are times when fallacies are actually pathetic. You, of course, remember the pathetic fallacy in which nature mirrors the inner state of the narrator or dreamer in a work of literature. However, sometimes the history of sensibility allows language to return to its original and basic meaning and intention. For instance, marriage can revert the locution “sleeping together” to its literal meaning. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which the part stands for the whole, for instance The White House for the presidency. Of course with the former president demonstrating boundary problems deriving from narcissistic grandiosity, the equation between these two terms is challenged. Trump suffers from a mental disorder in which the everything is his. Is there a figure of speech for Mar-a-Lago representing The White House? How pathetic is that fallacy?

read "Trumpty Dumpty's Great Fall" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and listen to "Straight Outta Vagina" by Pussy Riot

Monday, August 22, 2022

Inflationary Recession or Dark Energy

Raising interest rates will slow inflation—as it puts less money in people’s hands. But inflation itself is ultimately deflationary. When prices go up consumers spend less. That’s why an inflation can easily segue into recession or what is known as an “inflationary recession.” The same kind of overlapping occurs between liberalism and libertarianism as far as political ideology is concerned. Libertarians don’t like regulation, but many also adhere to conservative positions on abortion. They argue for the second amendment as it relates to guns but don’t afford women the same freedoms when it comes to their bodies. Inflation is market-orientated libertarianism. There are consequences to having money to spend. Guns result in mass shootings like Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland. Roe v. Wade was liberal as well as libertarian. It aligned individual rights with a progressive political outlook. Ideally these countervailing notions could exemplify the notion of checks and balances, occurring  between the executive, judicial and congressional branches of government. But the current environment is characterized by the kind of dark energy that's expanding the universe to the point where objects are too far from each other to emit light.

read "The Final Solution: The Death of Liberalism" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Piece of My Heart"by Erma Franklin

Friday, August 19, 2022

Diasporic Dining: The Impossible Whopper

Lawrence O'Donnell (photo: Er-nay)

Usually, you need to go to a prescribed place, a particular restaurant to order a dish that you like, but The Impossible Whopper is everywhere. All you have to do is pull into a Burger King. The phenomenon is like the advent of the cell phone. Land lines were just that. If you called that Rhinelander 4 exchange you were dialing up a place. Cell phones make it very easy for errant spouses to cheat since they have a quantum alibi. You're no longer your coordinates. But let’s deconstruct the nomenclature. “Impossible” and “Whopper” are oxymorons.  “Impossible” is closer to “failure” and “Whopper” to “homerun.” People who go for Impossible Whoppers are generally dreamers who are prone to throw a Hail Mary. Anecdotally, The Impossible Whopper is the food of choice for listeners to Lawrence O’Donnell’s l0 PM show on MSNBC, which they enjoy as they quaff down their meal in a local Burger King parking lot. Great solace is the emotion that’s produced by the combination of the pickle on the popular plant-based substitute and the mixture of certainty and moral authority in O’Donnell’s voice. LO is a walking Kantian categorical imperative spewing out synthetic a priori knowledge that’s as delicious as it’s unverifiable. Wittgenstein's 7th proposition from the Tractatus reads: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Lawrence O’Donnell is not the silent type which may be why his show is called "The Last Word." He's not usually brought up in the same sentence as Wittgenstein. However scientists are continually unearthing new properties of space and time such as the fact that Dark Energy is responsible for the expansion of the universe. When you come down to it, just the fact that you can listen to Lawrence O’Donnell at any place in the 50 states, in an identical eating establishment in which you're able to procure exactly the same food, is a triumph of modernity, a mixture of string theory, quantum mechanics, black holes and wormholes all rolled into one and O'Donnell's apercus are genuine whoppers.

read "Diasporic Dining: Fast Food Inc." by Francis Levy, HuffPost

listen to "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground


Thursday, August 18, 2022


Konstantin Stanislavski in Le Malade Imaginaire (1913)

Caricaturists are born with the desire to tear people apart. Daumier liked to dechirer. The method is a kind of hyperbole such as that used by Ben Jonson in Volpone and The Alchemist and particularly by Moliere le chef des caricaturistes.Tartuffe satirizes not only the hypocrisy of a religionist bit all those who follow his cult. Le Malade Imaginaire, Moliere's last play (and the one where he himself collapsed and died on stage) takes on a hypochondriac. You’ve undoubtedly met them. Molieres most complex caricature was Alceste a misanthrope who makes his own disappointment with life a self-fulfilling prophecy by only seeking those things he can’t have. If you find yourself having imaginary conversations in your head with a world of fools then you probably qualify for the post graduate program in caricature at The New School. 

read "What is Philosophy? by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "The Way You Do the Things You Do" by The Temptations (1965)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Strange Bedfellows or Fellow Travelers?

magazine of The Communist International 

Marjorie Taylor Greene recently tweeted, “defund the FBI.” Finally, here’s an issue the right wing of the Republican and the left wing of the Democratic parties can agree on. Talk about aisle crossing. Could this be the beginning of a coalition between AOC and MTG? Would that there were an acronym to facilitate such a bipartisan effort. Similarly Retrumplicans and Deconstructionists both believe truth is culturally bound. You have to really lower the bar, but once you’re in hell you’re going to find agreement between extremes. Surely Jim Jordan and Ron Johnson can find common ground with Ilhan Omar and Bernie Sanders—as they take their seats on the boat crossing the Acheron. It all seems like a cosmic joke but it’s like the abortion rights people and libertarians in Kansas or the anti-pornography feminists and the religious right. Remember Venn diagrams? Sometimes there's just a tiny overlap between what'd contained in each circle. The Communist International was characterized by fellow travelers who carried the message, but history can sometimes create strange bedfellows. Caveat emptor! You don’t want to sleep next to someone who snores unless they have something you want.

read "The Age of Doubt or My Pillow" by Francis Levy, The Screaming Pope

and listen to "Love On a two Way Street" by The Moments

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Ron Desantis

Veritas is famously the motto of Harvard. Jeffrey Clark is a Harvard grad, along with Elise Stefanik. Ron DeSantis is a Harvard Law grad. However, one is beginning to surmise that graduates of the august institution whose credential carries such weight don’t need to live up to the meaning of its by word. George Conway is also a Harvard graduate. An old-style conservative who was one of the founders of The Federalist Society and a long-time critic of his wife, Kellyanne’s, former boss, he's more like it. You usually think of Camelot when Harvard comes to mind.The Kennedys, Schlesinger, Daniel Patrick Moynihan are the greats of American politics. But Harvard’s admissions policy has changed. No idealists need apply. You want to be a realpolitician--and be sure to mention Kissinger in your essay. Remember also that JFK, who bathed in Harvard entitlements, was behind the doomed Bay of Pigs. If you’re looking for truth, you probably should enroll at Yale which adds a little Lux to its Veritas, though watch out for Ted Cruz. The fact is that Harvard and Yale are naturally selective. The kind of students who get in, participate in another kind of #MeToo in which they put themselves first.

read "Social Darwinism Redux" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Shake Me, Wake Me When It's Over" by The Four Tops

Monday, August 15, 2022


There were two harrowing incidents over the past week, the attack on Salman Rushdie at Chautauqua and the shooting at the FBI office in Cincinnati following the raid on Mar-A-Lago.This latter is ominous due to the threat of another January 6 style insurrection. How many armed militias are organizing in the dark net where both QAnon and the Comet Pizza child molesters lurk? If such imagination could be harnessed America might become a nation of Samuel R. Delanys rather than "base" Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other Hardy Boy mutants? Would that this were all some cosmic joke provoking only witty locutions! It’s like nuclear power. There are consequences to all the waste it generates. Oh to disappear into one of the sinkholes engendered by the potash oligarch Rybolovlev--whose daughter Ekaterina notoriously became the proud owner of Sandy Weill’s 15 Central Park West Penthouse for a cool $88 million! BTW, the battered bowler worn by Oddjob in Goldfinger was valued on Antiques Roadshow at 30,000 pounds. One day there will be a retirement home for lethal images with Lotte Lenya’s spike joining WMDs and weapons of real world assassins in some yard sale in a blue state like Vermont. 

read "MAGA and the Coronavirus" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and listen to "Rock the Casbah"by The Clash.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Unleashing the Pandora's Box of Nothingness

Pandora with her husband Epimetheus (Sebastian Le Clerc, 1676)

No one is immune from the wish to have a genie jump out of the bottle. Just for the record, most genies emerge in the form of smoke as they wait to become anthropomorphized by a pregnant imagination. Deus ex machina is the expression often used to describe such paranormal events. Few people who read fairy tales realize what would actually happen if such powers were unleashed. It’s comparable to going back in time, ruffling a hair and thereby rewriting human history. Magical powers are an exception. Fellini represented the circus-like event that occurs when a child is deemed to have the power to see angels, but the end result is quite destabilizing since even the simplest things become potential power kegs. Even more troubling is what happens when one unleashes a Pandora's Box of Nothingness.

read "Of Mystics, Yogis and Dervishes" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Do You Believe In Magic?" by The Lovin' Spoonful

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Age of Doubt or My Pillow

Mike Lindell with one of his pillows

This is the Age of Doubt, on the right as well as the left. “Stop the Steal” and “The Big Lie” are the mantra of Retrumplicans while multiculturalists fueled by deconstruction look at everything in a cultural context—hence relatively. No apercu can be absolute since it only reflects the environment in which the “viewer” has developed his consciousness. This makes it virtually impossible for a person of one cultural or even sexual inclination to comment on that of the other. Election deniers and edgy academic skeptics make strange bedfellows. Stephen Greenblatt, the famed author of Will and the World, is one of the founding New Historians, but science under the influence of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is also no longer friendly to Kant’s categorical imperative or the notion of synthetic a priori knowledge. Of course, quanta which argues that tiny subatomic particles can be in two places at the same time—macrocosmically an argument for alternative universes, lends further credence to this relativistic New Science. How would Odysseus navigate the waters of modern philosophy where the sirens can easily be, as Wittgenstein pointed out, predicates for which there are no nouns? One thing is certain. Doubt is more a default mode than belief. It’s easier to find out what's wrong with a long-held truth than to construct or unearth a new one.

read "The Wormhole Society" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and listen to "Voulez-vous Couchez Avec Moi Ce Soir" by Lady Marmalade

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Farther and Wider

Fantasy is a liberation movement. If you live in such a world, you’re given carte blanche to do or be anything you want. Walter Mitty is the perfect example of a free spirit who’s tethered to the reality of  body and ego. In his excursions, he becomes a hero. But in order to indulge these flights of fancy, he is danger of being fit for cement shoes. If Mitty were any of the things he dreamt of, there would be nowhere to go, no world of escape besides death itself. In The Lost Weekend, Ray Milland plays the alcoholic writer, Don Birnam. The movie is based on a semi-autobiographical book by Charles R. Jackson. What happens to a writer who lives out his alcohol infused dreams? In the case of Jackson, he died from an overdose of barbiturates while trying to write a sequel to his The Lost Weekend, Farther and Wider.

read "God Bless Pig Latin America" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Return of the Jedi?

Alex Jones is ordered to pay almost $50 million to Sandy Hook parents. For the first time in history, the residence of a former president is raided by the FBI. What's next? Has Odysseus in the form of Merrick Garland finally launched an arrow into the eye of Polyphemus? Through two impeachments and a stalwart base (aka Dark Force) who would tolerate their hero murdering someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Democrats have waited to bring down the current anti-Christ, the Villainous Lex Luther of American politics, a mutant that’s the product of reality television. Simple water was the Wicked Witch's kryptonite. Will it be the Fulton County Prosecutor, Fanny T. Willis, the chairwoman of the January 6 commission, Liz Cheney, Cassidy Hutchinson, Pat Cipollone, Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short or his legal counsel, Greg Jacob? Mussolini ruled for 21 years, Hitler 12, Stalin, 30, Darth Vader, 20.The former president was sighted leaving Trump Tower in Manhattan as flashing police lights surrounded his Palm Beach residence. Will tomorrow simply be another day on the course in Bedminster, before a triumphant return to the Melrumpia in Palm Beach? One thing is certain. History was being made, last night, one way or the other, as it always is, but unlike Darth Vader, Trump runs no danger of redemption.

read "God Bless Pig Latin America" by Francis Levy The East Hampton Star

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

Monday, August 8, 2022


"The Degradation of Alfred Dreyfus" by Henri Meyer

Remember Mario Savio and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement? Libertarianism creates strange bedfellows. The recent referendum in Kansas was a resounding victory for abortion rights but advocates in that heavily Republican state framed it as an individual rights issue. The word "abortion" wasn't used in the campaign. On the other side, feminists who usually identify as left have become identified with Christian fundamentalists who don’t regard pornography as free speech. From a free speech perspective, the #MeToo movement is right wing particularly in the "blacklisting" which recalls the McCarthy era. Ian Buruma, the editor of The New York Review of Books was purged when he invited a Canadian journalist who'd been #MeToo'd to defend himself. What about Zola’s defense of Dreyfus, J'Accuse...!? Has that been removed from the canon along with Courbet’s “The Origin of the World?" Is forcing someone to wear a seatbelt or mask, both invasions of privacy, tantamount to legislating the fate of an unborn fetus? Abortion rights advocates would say it's mixing apples and oranges.You make someone wear a seatbelt for their safety and similarly protect a woman who's physical and mental health are endangered by unwanted pregnancies (some of which are the result of rape or incest). Still, whatever the reason and however it was framed, it’s good news that 70% of Kansans voted for the right of women to control what goes in their bodies. 

read "God Bless Pig Latin America" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and listen to "Hear Comes the Judge" (1968) by Pigmeat Markham

Friday, August 5, 2022

The Homeostatic Divide

Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel in Waiting For Godot (1961)

What if you find yourself spiraling out of control? Most people will do anything short of strangling themselves to cultivate inertia as a way of keeping the peace. Very few like to have the carpet pulled out from under them. Homoeostasis is the condition that organic life strives towards. It’s similar to balancing on a see saw. Human kind in particular is multivalent and capable of shifting weight to accommodate, not stasis but change. Life is a stagnant pond, a toxic dump in which dreams remain just that, languishing in a green ooze under Bayonne’s chemical sky. The opposite, of course, is to dive off one of those high cliffs in Mexico, where you have to time your jump in order to avoid hitting rock bottom.

read "God Bless Pig Latin America" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and watch the animation of Erotomania

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Hiking the Neurogenic Pathways of Summer

Vetheuil in Summer by Monet

Is summer like a good meal that you devour too quickly? There's an old expression “the first bite is the banquet” that few people adhere to, despite the intention to savior every moment. Actually one's neurogenic pathways are the problem.  It’s like the expeditiousness of the Interstate (or Robert Moses  exercising eminent domain). Once you realize how much time you saving you're willing to forgo the pleasure of charming backroads. You’re so fixated on getting to where you're going, in this case sunshine and the prospect of leisure, that you get swept up in a tsunami of endorphins which make it hard to process the details. Meals, swimming, uninhibited sex are thrown into a Cuisinart of pleasure which literally blows your mind—putting you on an assembly line that places the result, Summer, over process of its enjoyment.

read "The Pleasure Principle" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Summertime"by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Stamps of Approval

Can you still seek approval from someone who’s no longer here? You know the kind of person who actually has devoted time and attention to not validating you---a contradiction in terms since indifference is neither an act of will nor something that requires effort. Consider the idea of an exception, ie someone coming back from the dead just to apologize for being wrong about you. There are doors which will always be closed and questions that are never answered. What did you do wrong? Are you perhaps overly sensitive to slights even the most heralded of talents suffers? Can you take some solace that Obama was forced to prove his provenance by producing a birth certificate? Nothing more humiliating than that. Who's to say that human life is not similar to that childhood playground, where bullies run the show and you're perpetually passed over for the pickup game.

read "15 Seconds to Infamy" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and watch the animation of Erotomania

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Word Heist: Casanova or Neuhaus?

Casanova translates as Neuhaus in German so when the famed lover did his business in the Burger King bathroom to quote Digital, he might have been mistaken for a chocolate. Such are the vicissitudes of navigation on the River of Language. Or take the composite of Nostro and (u)omo which makes up the title of the famed Conrad novel. But Is Nostromo an Everyman or a representative of institutionalized exceptionalism? Is that what the novel is about? Words are often taken for granted Is Casa Nova a house of ill repute? 

read "The Age of Euphemism" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Casanova" Ultimate Kaos

Monday, August 1, 2022

La coscienza di George Eliot

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), 1850

George Eliot makes psychoanalysis look like a bush league backwater. Dorothea Brooke, the heroine or actually anti-heroine of Middlemarch evolves from a troubled character with a distorted notion of self-sacrifice to a trouble character who finally gratifies her desires—at the loss of both her social position and wealth.  Dorothea’s husband, the famous intellectual Casaubon, is a prelate but the brilliance of the novel lies in its absence of judgment. It’s an analysis of conscience rather than morality. Deliberation infuses the narrative. Actions are anticipated under the pressure of circumstance and nearly all the decisions finally taken are tarnished by ambivalence. There’s always a cost and few characters, with the exception of the once feckless Fred Vincy, ever find that their lives untarnished by previous missteps. However, is this not an indelible description and prescription for living? Eliot was actually ahead of her time. The title of a novel written decades later by a writer of totally different disposition might throw light on the predicament Eliot adumbrates. The Confessions of Zeno is one of the translations of Italo Svevo’s novel. In the original Italian it’s La coscienza di Zeno.

read "Sense and Sensibility" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

and listen to "Why Do Fools Fall in Love? by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers