I previously wrote about Charles Dickens take on knowledge in “Hard TImes”. Yesterday was his birthday – England 1812, Charles Dickens, whose works include A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations, is generally considered the greatest Victorian-era novelist.
I don’t think there are any Anglo authors who have taken the condition of society into popular literature in the same way since, although perhaps he was just a man of his times.
Good Old Encyclopaedia Britannica for sending me regular news. Here’s their latest offering. No commissions involved.
Irish novelist James Joyce, born this day in 1882, was noted for his experimental use of language and his exploration of new literary methods in such large works of fiction as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939).
“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile and cunning.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
It must be a week of reminders of favourites from great authors. I actually kept the following posted on my wall at work – part of a coping strategy for working with a resistant bureaucracy. Personally I have gravitated toward the fool. Even tried it myself. But in the end I just found myself slobbering, so the writing was on the wall. I left the public sector and I’m much better now 🙂
Definitions of Human Character from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
The Cretin: “Cretins don’t talk; they slobber and stumble. Cretins are of no interest”.
The Fool: “He wants to talk about what is in his glass, but somehow he misses. Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone. In their positive form they become diplomats. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent.
The Moron: Morons never do the wrong thing. They get their reasoning wrong. Morons occasionally say something that’s right, but they say it for the wrong reason. Morons are tricky. Plenty of morons’books are published, because they’re convincing at first glance. God chose to be unthinkable to prove that philosophers are morons.
The Lunatic: Is easily recognised. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The lunatic doesn’t concern himself at all with logic. Everything proves everything else.