Monday, December 18, 2023

The Mayor of Casterbridge

mug shot of Rudy Giuliani (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of the great essays on alcoholism. His central figure Michael Henchard bears comparison to another famed literary alcoholic, Jack Torrance. A 21 year vow of abstinence is the event around which the narrative hinges. Henchard, who in a drunken fit has auctioned off his wife and daughter, sobers up and becomes successful. When he starts to drink again, he loses everything. In Greek tragedy it's "hubris" (in modern psychiatric terms narcissistic grandiosity) that brings down a great man. The "hubris" is ocassioned by a tragic flaw, "hamartia." Remember how Don Birnam (Ray Milland) dreams of greatness in Lost Weekend (1945). Has America's mayor become a guest at The Overlook Hotel?

see the animation of Erotomania at The Nihilist Film Festival

and listen to "Boogaloo Down Broadway" by Johnny C

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