“A black hole has taken everything but the kitchen sink. Empty space is all I eat, a dusty mood for breakfast. Oh, black hole, spare me a penny on my deathbed, so I can buy back a memory.”—Pygmy Lush “A Penny On My Deathbed”
Book review I wrote eleven years ago in which I missed the point of Madame Bovary
June 4, 2000
Just moments ago concluded “6 non-essays” by e. e. cummings. They were “essays” he delivered at Harvard in 1966. In them he explored his identity as an artist, with bits of poetry, his own and others, thrown in to boot. I also read the introduction and preface (a good 50+ pages) of “Lives of the Artists” by Vasari. The introduction warned that his language could be, at times, “treacherous,” so I may hold off on that for awhile. Before any of this (however) I finished reading “Madame Bovary” by Flaubert. Many people see it as a book of importance and an occasion of genius, but my response was not as such. I did not think much of it, in terms of Emma Bovary’s frame of mind (her ceaseless unquenched desires, her unending drama and despair, her perpetual unhappiness. It became trying after awhile). I read a critical essay on the text, in which the author felt that it didn’t have much to give and that indeed, after a re-reading, he was left disappointed. I feel much the same. However, I feel I enjoyed the book in terms of society—Emma was always wanting the material as a means to happiness (or at least happiness through passion). Her husband, although despised by her, was a much simpler man, happy with his life and therefore happy throughout, whereas his wife suffered. It’s an affirmation (at least I took it as such) of happiness over material as opposed to happiness through the material.
It’s now 3:47 and my paper only needs to be 5 pages. Right now I’m at 6 and keep writing middle stuff because I HATE writing introductions but even more, I HATE writing conclusions. And I HATE academic life. I am now really pretty good at pulling out on the fly research papers so I should probably just turn into Will Farrell’s character from Undeclared and sell that shit for money. JK?