If you think that you might read this book and don’t want to know anything about the plot, then read no further. Although the pleasure of the book isIf you think that you might read this book and don’t want to know anything about the plot, then read no further. Although the pleasure of the book is in the prose and acute observations of human relationships, so I don’t think that knowing a little about the book would matter much; and I’ve no idea anyway how much I will give away.
I’m writing this on my birthday. I pay little attention to birthdays, unlike my children, but I’ve felt that because it’s my birthday I can indulge myself. So instead of working and answering emails I’ve copied out all the quotes I clipped on my Kindle. It’s taken me more than an hour, but it meant I relived the book—not the plot but the “feel.” And as I copied the words, I listened to Strauss’s Four Last Songs sung by Jessye Norman. Few things are more exquisite.
I’m going to attach my quotes at the end of this note, They are described by Hilary Mantel as “jaundiced observations – pithily expressed, painfully accurate.” I read the book because Mantel selected Howard as her favourite novelist, and I’ve attached below a long quote from her article and a link to it. I’d never read any Howard before, although I knew her as Kingsley Amis’s wife and Martin Amis’s stepmother. This is shameful but a reflection of how the world regards “women writers.” She is a better writer than either and certainly a better observer of human relationships.
“Life is lived forwards but understood backwards,” said Kierkegaard, and perhaps that’s why The Long View goes backwards. It reminded me of Pinter’s play Betrayal, which also goes backwards. The Long View was published in 1956, Betrayal in 1998. Perhaps Pinter was influenced by Howard.
The first section of the book is set in 1950. Mrs Fleming is married to an impossible man—conceited, rude, selfish, arrogant, and uncaring. The only man in the book who is not in some way a monster is her father, a man who cares not about the present but about 16th century social customs, is mostly reading in his library, and ignores the silly ways of his promiscuous wife. He is loved by Toni, as we later learn Mrs Fleming to be called, primarily because she hates her mother.
Back in 1950, her husband is about to leave her and her two children are launching into relationships that look set to be disastrous. She is a wise, comforting woman who makes people feel good. She’s a mother. Her son is marrying an unhappy, inexperienced woman simply to get the business of marriage out of the way. The wife to be, who also hates her mother, knows she doesn’t love and isn’t loved but lacks the courage to act; at least she’ll get away from her mother. Mrs Fleming’s daughter loves passionately a man who cares little for her and has got pregnant by him, perhaps in an attempt trap him. She is copying her mother, as we discover later, in loving an unsuitable man, and perhaps all women do at some point. Dumped by the man, she turns quickly to a man who loves her pathetically.
As we go backwards in time, we discover that Mr Fleming, Conrad, has had many affairs, including one with a much younger woman, Imogen, who shares an innocence with the young Toni, whom we encounter later in the book. Conrad finds it awkward that he does love Imogen, but that doesn’t stop him discarding her.
Back further, Antonia, as she is now called, is distraught by her husband’s betrayal and falls into the bed of an accomplished womaniser. He is at least, understanding women well, sensitive to her needs. But he’s more sensitive to his own needs, and she feels foolish when she understands that she’s one of dozens. He’s entirely unperturbed when she ends their relationship.
In 1927 we see Antonia launch into marriage. She’s wholly unprepared. We wonder how it happened.
The final section, from 1926, explains why. Toni lives at home in Sussex with her remote father and mother who loves parties and games. Every weekend there’s a house party with tennis, bridge, horse riding, and cocktails. During the week her mother goes to London for a couple of days, and we, the worldly wise readers, recognise that she’s with a lover. Such a thought never crosses Toni’s mind.
Toni is 19 and looks and behaves like a 17 year old. At one of the parties an older, smooth taking Irishman fixes on her. We have doubts about him immediately, but she falls in love with him. At one point he tries to seduce her, and unprepared she pushes him back. He’s angry. Later he succeeds, and we know that he loses interest at that point. She has no such idea. Worse is to come in that we sense that the Irishman has launched into an affair with Toni’s mother, and so he has. Is the mother doing it partly to compete with her daughter? We suspect so.
At the end of the book Toni meets Conrad, and we understand why she marries him—and we know what is to happen.
The book has an autobiographical feel. Toni begins as a complete innocent about male female relationships, as is, 30 years later, the woman that Mrs Fleming’s son is to marry. Her daughter is less innocent in that she has become pregnant, but it’s surely innocence as well as foolishness that leads her to go off with the old, loving boyfriend. Perhaps all women (and all men?) begin in state of innocence still, but I think that the position of women has changed radically—it is perhaps the biggest change of the last century.
Howard, who died at 90 in 2014, became far from innocent, marrying three times and having a string of lovers, including her first husband’s brother, Arthur Koestler, Ken Tynan, Laurie Lee, Cyril Connolly, and Cecil Day-Lewis. Perhaps all those lovers were the result of a sort of innocence.
Some have argued that The Long View should be included in the 100 great English novels of the 20th century. Lucky Jim, written by Howard’s second husband, Kingsley Amis, is in at least one of those lists, but I’d include The Long View before Lucky Jim. I look forward to reading more Howard.
Hilary Mantel on Elizabeth Jane Howard
“There were only two kinds of people, those who live different lives with the same partner, and those who live the same life with different partners … ”
“She had acted in Stratford as a girl, and she would have liked what the day offered: the dark wintry river, the swans gliding by, and behind rain-streaked windows, new dramas in formation: human shadows, shuffling and whispering in the dimness, hoping – by varying and repeating their errors – to edge closer to getting it right. In Jane’s novels, the timid lose their scripts, the bold forget their lines, but a performance, somehow, is scrambled together; heads high, hearts sinking, her characters head out into the dazzle of circumstance. Every phrase is improvised and every breath a risk. The play concerns the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of love. Standing ovations await the brave.” Hilary Mantel on EJH
June Stoker would soon be introduced to a company which had long ceased to discover anything new about themselves likely to increase either their animation or their intimacy.
To June the essence of romance suggested the right man in the wrong circumstances
Their children…were the consequence of mistaken social exuberance
His daughter was a more subtle disaster. She was undoubtedly attractive, but although not a fool, she was not equipped with enough intellectual ballast for her charms
That collective mystery, the world
She was a nice, ignorant, unimaginative girl, designed perfectly to reproduce herself; and regarding her, Mr Fleming, found it difficult to believe in The Origin of the Species
What a mistake it is to listen to one’s thoughts. But it is a mistake of such infinite variety that making it constitutes a chief pleasure in life.
Men discuss the fundamentals as superficially as women discuss the superficialities fundamentally.
She passionately wanted to be regarded ‘for herself’ as women say, which means for some elusive attraction which they do not feel they possess.
Do you know why it’s easy to make decisions for other people? It is not simply because one is objective. It is because if I make a decision for you, I shall not have to carry it out. If I make a wrong decision, the responsibility will still be yours.
The radio: “hoots of canned laughter—dreadful news—unintelligible plays—sentimental songs—jokes—orchestrated signature tunes—the vicarious excitement of football and racing commentaries—comforting heart-to-heart talks on silage, national health, or chicken incubators.
They [mother and daughter] seemed two women bound together, having in common nothing in particular, and everything in general; who, were they not related, would not willingly have spent five minutes in each other’s company; but who, because of their relationship, had spent nineteen years, irritating, modifying, interfering with, decryring, and depending upon each other.
Living, he always maintained, consisted of no fundamentals, outlines, basic truths, or principles, even for one person, let alone society, but simply a vast quantity of detail, endlessly variable and utterly unrelated.
How very much I dislike the young. Their complacent certainty that their infantile dependence will be met. Their utter lack of self-containment. Their determination to be compensated for the disastrous consequences of their casual curiosity. Their greed for indiscriminate approval—their lack of technique—their senseless demands—they will pick endless watches to pieces and expect others to mend or replace them—their inability to profit by experience of others and their refusal to experience anything for themselves. Their contempt of reserve—their ceaseless searching for somebody before whom they can swagger and be saved—their brash resolve that each time they are burned is the first—their ridiculous belief that they are Adam—the first specimen of their species, magnificently unique, when they are only one more pathetically identical detail turned off the bench. Their faith in their own indispensability—their tiny wisdom and their colossal impatience.
“You spend ninety per cent of your time with children, invalids, fools, and animals. What a mind will yours become.” “I thought that was the company approved for women by most men.”
There are only two kinds of people—those who live different lives with the same partners, and those who live the same life with different partners.
“No woman would like being told what she was, or would have been. They like the future—the future and the present.”
“We all want something which we cannot have.” “Yes. That is tolerable. It’s the having something which we cannot want.”
How odd, he thought, listening to her, a poet can see someone in the street, and thereafter intoxicate others with what he saw, but she or I can thoroughly love, or think we love, and immediately after it seems incommunicable, or dies from our poor expression.
The trouble with human relations is that the damned ball is always rolling, or in the air, never peacefully in charge of one person.
People are so painstakingly irrational it is a wonder they survive at all. If it is impossible to be in two places at once, it ought to be impossible to make two people unhappy at the same time.
People generally get married for extraordinarily few reasons. Legalised sex; economic security; somebody to die with. Children seem to me simply an ingenious reinforcement of these arguments.
Marriage could be the fascinating, difficult experience of living in two bodies instead of one—it matters far less than people think which alternative body they select—it matters far more than they imagine how they inhabit it thereafter.
The most mysterious, intricate point about women is that they require somebody else to teach them to live in their own body. Without that, they are lost, because they never discovered.
The point about two people is that they should change at approximately the same speed in approximately the same direction.
“Never confess your love; never, never come near anyone—the further you venture with them, the longer the way back by yourself.”
She was always expecting something wonderful to happen to her—up to the very day that she died, she believed that.
Women are sharp at discovering each other’s little faults.
People are more beautiful if they are admired, more lovable if they are loved.
So—the point of no return: the last moment before a distant approaching figure is recognisable and can be identified—has seen and been seen; before there is no turning back, and they must be met, suffered, or enjoyed, or a mutual indifference underlined. He had come to see her, and at the instant of their parting in the crowded room, they met.
In the night she woke, and all the time of her life seemed concentrated on the moment of waking, and all the meaning of her existence on her being deeply, irrevocably, in love.
Growing up in Britain you come to know the characters in David Copperfield without ever having read the book. The multiple television and radio versioGrowing up in Britain you come to know the characters in David Copperfield without ever having read the book. The multiple television and radio versions, the films, and the references throughout life means that you know David, Mr Micawber, Uriah Heap, Mr Dick, Betsy Trotwood, and Peggoty. That, combined with a worry that the characters were all stereotypes, stopped me reading the book, but I’m very glad that now I have.
It was an immersing read, and I ended the book in tears. The book has been part of my life in the way that all good books are. I’m a little sorry to have finished the book, that all those characters I’ve spent so much time with have gone, but I’m also glad. I’m ready for another novel, something short and modern.
David Copperfield is clearly autobiographical, and it’s very tempting to draw parallels between the lives of David and Dickens. Dozens of academics must have done so, but I’ll not move beyond the obviousness of the poverty, bankruptcy prison, struggle, and eventual success as a writer.
It’s a book about love, heaps of love. David loved his mother, Peggoty, Little Emily, Steerforth, Traddles, Betsy Trotwood (after a hesitant start), Mr Dick, Dora, and eventually Agnes, his true love. The love for Steerforth, a charming rogue, was misplaced. His love for Dora was intense but ultimately more like that for a child than a partner. She recognised it, he didn’t. It’s perhaps fortunate that she died young. It was his true love, for Agnes, that took the longest to realise: we readers knew about it early, but he had to make a long journey before he came to it.
The love life of Little Emily was the next most interesting. She was the sweetest of creatures, kind and supportive to everybody. She was intended for Ham, a salt of the earth character who loved her deeply, but she was seduced by Steerforth. She made a terrible mistake, and it was odd to a modern reader that we never encountered her directly again. We heard about her, but her disgrace meant that we couldn’t see her again, except glimpsed on the boat leaving for Australia. But that was the fate of a “fallen woman” in Victorian times. Despite her good works she could never be whole, could never marry. But it was the most intense of all the loves in the book that saved her. When Mr Peggoty, who had brought her up, heard that she had eloped with Steerforth he determined in an instant to roam all the earth until he found her. It took him years but he succeeded and then took her to Australia, to a country where her history would not be known.
Dickens reminds us what comes of love in the scene where Ham and Steerforth, both drowned, lie dead side by side.
Another intense, misplaced love is that of Rosa Dartle, the companion of Steerforth’s mother, for Steerforth. He has literally marked her, having scarred her lip when young. Her love bursts forth when she visits the sick and disgraced Emily to tell her how much she hates her. So her misplaced love brought hate and bitterness, whereas Emily’s brought good as well as disgrace.
The novel has a distinctly psychiatric side, which fascinated me. Mr Dick is clearly a schizophrenic but is just about the most loved character in the book. I loved the way that people, particularly the difficult Betsy Trotwood, not only cared for him but insisted that he would know the answer to difficult problems—as, indeed, he did when he brought Dr Strong and his young wife together. There is surely a lesson in how Mr Dick could live among everybody rather than being locked up in an asylum—as most “lunatics” were then and still are.
We are also given a powerful picture of depression towards the end of the book when David heads abroad after his wife has died and his friends have emigrated. He goes through his dark night of the soul to arrive at a point where he can rise again, to write still better books and to love Agnes. “It was a long and gloomy night that gathered on me, haunted by the ghost of many hopes, of many dear remembrances, many errors, many unavailing sorrows and regrets.”
Dickens must have known such depression, even though he never uses the word, to write about it so powerfully. I’ll give it a while, but I must read Claire Tomalin’s biography of Dickens and reflect again on how his life relates to that of David Copperfield. ...more
I read this book because it was on a list of the greatest novels from Britain chosen by overseas critics and because I’d never read anything by ElizabI read this book because it was on a list of the greatest novels from Britain chosen by overseas critics and because I’d never read anything by Elizabethan Bowen. Thank you to those critics because I was hugely impressed and will read more by Bowen.
The book is simultaneously poetic, funny, gripping, and deeply insightful, a rare combination that made me think of Proust. Although ultimately a sorrowful book, as the title suggests, it made me laugh out loud at one point—something I never did with Lucky Jim (another novel on the critics’ list, perhaps undeservedly).
Almost everybody in the book experiences or has experienced “death of the heart.” Anna never recovered from a broken love affair. Thomas, her husband, seems to struggle to stay alive—perhaps because of being married to a wife who doesn’t love him. The heroine, Portia, has her heart die because she falls in love with the intemperate and ultimately silly, Eddie, who’s heart never came alive. Portia, it occurred to me, is following the path of Anne some 15 years behind. Ironically, Mr Quayne, the father of Thomas and Portia who is dead, was undone by his heart (or at least his sexuality) coming briefly alive and pitching him to an affair with a much younger woman by whom he fathered Portia. Mrs Quayne promptly and cheerfully threw him out, glad I felt to experience “death of the heart.”
The book is devoid of sentiment but full of heart and acute observation.
I noticed too that it’s three sections are entitled Flesh, the World, and the Devil, the three enemies of spirituality in St John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul, which I was reading at the same time. ...more
T S Eliot, my brother and I agreed yesterday, is the greatest poet in English of the 20th century, greater even than Yeats. He has at times the lyricaT S Eliot, my brother and I agreed yesterday, is the greatest poet in English of the 20th century, greater even than Yeats. He has at times the lyrical romance of Yeats, but he has more—and not the least of his gifts is to be funny. How many other great poets have been funny? Shakespeare, of course, but not many others.
Eliot’s poems have been part of my life since I was a teenager, and I have read the Wasteland perhaps 10 times. I’ve had this book for years and often read from it, but I’ve enjoyed hugely reading it right through—underlining lines that grab me as I go. This, I’ve learnt, is the way to read poetry, and you need to see the design on the page—so I don’t read on my Kindle, which otherwise I love.
Here is my collection of quotes:
In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse
I shall not want Honour in Heaven For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney And have talk with Coriolanus And other heroes of that kidney.
My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment’s surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, have we existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty room.
Of all that was done in the past you can eat the fruit, either rotten or ripe.
I say: take no thought of the harvest, But only of proper sowing.
The lot of man is ceaseless labour, Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our knowledge brings us nearer to death.
Seek only there Where the grey light meets the green air The hermit's chapel, the pilgrim's prayer.
Eyes that last I saw in tears
Eyes that last I saw in tears Through division Here in death’s dream kingdom The golden vision reappears I see the eyes but not the tears This is my affliction.
This is my affliction Eyes I shall not see again Eyes of division Eyes I shall not see unless At the door of death’s other kingdom Where, as in this The eyes outlast a little while A little while outlast the tears And hold us in derision.
I love a tall girl. When we stand face to face She with nothing on and I with nothing on; She in high heels and I in bare feet, We can just touch nipple to nipple Tingling and burning. Because she is a tall girl.
And the wind shall say: ‘Here were decent godless people Their only monuments the asphalt road And a thousand lost golf balls.’
On my soul be prepared for the coming of the Stranger, Be prepared for him who knows how to answer questions.
Though you forget the way to the Temple, There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not. You shall not deny the Stranger.
And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness. The main that is will shadow The man that pretends to be.
What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility
Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Toward the door we never opened Into the rose garden.
Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.
The intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.
Do not let me hear Of the wisdom of old me, but rather of their folly
The inly wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility; humility is endless.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought
In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by the way which is the way of ignorance
And what you do not know is the onlt thing you know
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But toe remind of your, and Adam’s curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital.
For us, there is only the trying/ The rest is not our business.
As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living.
A life time burning in every moment, And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
Old men ought to be explorers Here pr there does not matter We must be still and still moving.
The sea has many voices, Many gods and many voices.
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is al deception, The future futureless, before the morning watch When time stops and time is never ending.
We had the experience but missed the meaning, And approach to the meaning restores the experience In a different form, beyond any meaning We can assign to happiness.
Time the destroyer is time the preserver.
The way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back. …you are the music While the music lasts.
Water and fire succeed The town, the pasture, and the weed
This is the death of fire and water
Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age To set a crown upon your lifetime’s effort. First, the cold friction of expiring sense Without enchantment, offering no promise But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit As body and soul begin to fall asunder. Second, the conscious impotence of rage At human folly, and the laceration Of laughter at what ceases to amuse. And last, the rending pain of re-enactment Of all that you have done, and been; the shame Of motives late revealed, and the awareness Of things ill done and done to others’ harm Which once you took for exercise of virtue, Then fools’ approval stings, and honour stains.
Every poem an epitaph.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew tree Are of equal duration.
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.
And all shall be well and All manner of things shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one.
In the effort to keep day and night together, It seems just possible that a poem might happen
No peevish winter wind shall chill No sullen tropic sun shall wither The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only. ...more
Larry, the central character in Maugham’s novel, is an “ordinary American” who suffers terrible trauma in the First World War and then spends years trLarry, the central character in Maugham’s novel, is an “ordinary American” who suffers terrible trauma in the First World War and then spends years traveling and experimenting to try and find meaning for his life. He tries reading, travel, love, sex, paintings, physical labour, and Christianity but comes closest though an Indian mystic.
Maugham tells Larry’s story as if he was a friend, and in “real life” he probably was, although despite lots of speculation nobody has reliably identified the subject. The novel is filled with contrasting characters: a materialist snob; a woman who opts for the “perpetual compromise of marriage” rather than love; a dull businessman; a whore; and a woman who goes right off the rails. All, Maugham, concludes at the end to his own surprise, found success. Death was success for the woman who went off the rails.
By chance I read this book as I was reading Maugham’s book on ten great novels. This is not a great novel, and Maugham, I’m sure, would not think of himself as a great novelist. But, although devoid of poetry, he’s a good story teller and makes acute observations of humans that are disconcerting but largely true. ...more
If you're interested in art, cooking, the full range of human behaviour, and the complexities/improbabilities of love and want a rollicking good readIf you're interested in art, cooking, the full range of human behaviour, and the complexities/improbabilities of love and want a rollicking good read then this is the book for you. The overcomplicated but still engaging plot hardly gets in the way. It's a much easier (and ultimately more enjoyable) read than my last book, The Brief History of Seven Killings, but it's much less of a literary achievement, although it's a novel I'd have been proud to write. You can feel the pleasure that the author had in writing and it--and, I can only assume, takes in life....more
Paints a convincing picture of dementia and links it with soldiering: both are about everything becoming less. Illustrates how we all develop a storyPaints a convincing picture of dementia and links it with soldiering: both are about everything becoming less. Illustrates how we all develop a story of our lives, often ignoring reality and building on imagination. Illuminations refers both to Blackpool and things that were in darkness being illuminated, but the illuminations also contrasts with the darkening, the turning of out of lights that is dementia. The chapters on soldiering in Afghanistan I found shocking, and the banter among the soldiers was unconvincing, just too fast and smart, rather like in Romeo and Juliet. This is the first O'Hagan novel I've read. I'll read more....more
Somerset Maugham is out of fashion, but as a traveller, “man of the world,” voracious reader, and jobbing novelist he is well set up to write about teSomerset Maugham is out of fashion, but as a traveller, “man of the world,” voracious reader, and jobbing novelist he is well set up to write about ten great novels—and importantly the novelists who wrote them. His thesis is that novelists, unlike some other creative artists, have to create primarily from their own experience. Perhaps the best part of the book is his rapid, partial, and judgemental sketch of the lives of his 10 novelists. All the lives were extraordinary in some way, and he wonders whether you need to live an extraordinary life to write a great novel. Three of his authors are French (Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert), two Russian (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy) four English (Fielding, Austen, Emily Bronte, Dickens), and one American (Melville). I was pleased that I had read eight of the novels. All are essentialy (if not literally)19th century novels, and Maugham thinks that great novels come from times of great change. And all the authors avoid the issues of the moment and concentrate on the timeless issues: “God, love and hate, death, money, ambition, envy, pride, greed and evil.” Maugham assumes that his readers have read the novels (although I don’t think it would matter greatly if you hadn’t), and after telling the stories of the authors’ lives he speculates on the link between their lives and novels. He speculates that both Melville and Bronte were gay, and that their extraordinary novels were fuelled by the impossibility of acknowledging and satisfying their sexual desires. The speculation is more interesting than convincing, but his observations on the basics of the craft of novel writing are more convincing. At the end of the book he attempts a conclusion on what makes a great novelist. He starts with imagining a party that all his 10 novelists attended. That bit’s embarrassing, and he’d have done well to cut it. He’s driven back to thoughts on talent and inspiration as his answer but is unable to pin down either. Perhaps his most interesting conclusion is that great novelists don’t have to be great writers—by which he means have great style in their sentences. Overall, a book well worth reading if you love literature. ...more
Having spent months reading my previous non-fiction book, I found it highly gratifying to read this very short book in two days. The book comprises SaHaving spent months reading my previous non-fiction book, I found it highly gratifying to read this very short book in two days. The book comprises Sack's last four essays, one written around his 80th birthday, one when he discovered his malignant melanoma had metastasised and he knew he was going to die soon, and one just before he died. I'd already read the first three and had even written to Sachs suggesting (perhaps grandiosely) that we might write something together. His secretary not he replied, but maybe he read my letter. They are fine essays about life and death and illness in Sacks's tradition and well worth reading twice and even more.
In the last essay, which I hadn't read before, he returns to his beginnings in London when he was brought up as an orthodox Jew and observed the Sabbath. Near the end of his life he visited Israel and experienced the Sabbath again. "The peace of the Sabbath," he writes, "of a stopped world, was palpable, infused everything, and I found myself drenched with a wistfulness." The last sentence of his last essay reads: "I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one's life as well, when one can feel that one's work is done, and one may, in good conscience rest." ...more