Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Years With Proust - Day 403

I had in any case left my dear Albertine too long alone.  "D'you know," I said to her as I climbed into the carriage, "the seaside life and the life of travel make me realise that the theatre of the world is stocked with fewer settings than actors, and with fewer actors than situations." "What makes you say that?" "Because M. de Charlus asked me just now to fetch on of his friends, whom this instant, on the platform of this station, I have just discovered to be one of my own." But as I uttered these words, I began to wonder how the Baron could have bridged the social gulf to which I had not given a thought.  It occurred to me first of all that it might be through Jupien, whose niece, as the reader may remember, had seemed to become enamored of the violinist.  However, what baffled me completely was that, when due to leave for Paris in five minutes, the Baron should have asked for a musical evening.  But, visualising Jupien's niece again in my memory, I was beginning to think that "recognitions" might indeed express and important part of life, if one knew how to penetrate to the romantic core of things, when all of a sudden the truth flashed across my mind and I realised that I had been absurdly ingenuous.  M. de Charlus had never in his life set eyes upon Morel, nor Morel upon M. de Charlus, who, dazzled but also intimidated by a solider even though he carried no weapon but a lyre, in his agitation he called up me to bring him the person whom he never suspected that I already knew.  In any case, for Morel, the offer of five hundred francs must have made up for the absence of any previous relations, for I saw that they were going on talking, oblivious of the fact that they were standing close beside our train. And remembering the manner in which M. de Charlus had come up to Morel and myself, I saw at once the resemblance to certain of his relatives when they picked up a woman in the street.  The desired object had merely changed sex.  After a certain age, and even if we develop in quite different ways, the more we become ourselves, the more our family traits are accentuated.  For Nature, even while harmoniously fashioning the design of its tapestry, breaks the monotony of the composition thanks to the variety of the faces it catches.  Besides, the haughtiness with which M. de Charlus had eyed the violinist is relative, and depends upon the point of view one adopts.  It would have been recognised by three out of four society people, who bowed to him, not by the prefect of police who, a few years later, was to keep him under surveillance.
Marcel Proust, Cities of the Plain, pp. 891-892

We're continuing the encounter that we started yesterday, except that we're fleshing it out a bit and getting at a bit of the backstory.  In a train station M. de Charlus had sent Marcel over to contact a violinist that Marcel assumed M. de Charlus knew, only to discover that he, in fact, knew him - and only later does it occur to him that the older man didn't know him at all.  Essentially, M. de Charlus was using Marcel to pimp for him.  When Marcel was talking to his friend M. de Charlus suddenly bursts in and says, "I should like to listen to a little music this afternoon. I pay five hundred frances for the evening, which may perhaps be of interest to one of your friends, if you have any in the band."  M. de Charlus instantly engages Morel, the violinist, in an intimate conversation, and suddenly decides to leave the train.  When a flower seller interrupts them, M. de Charlus laments, "Good God, why can't she leave us alone."  The use of the word "us", especially from a man as self-absorbed as M. de Charlus, tells the reader volumes.

We also have a little foreshadowing as Proust, when talking about M. de Charlus, includes the line, "It would have been recognised by three out or four society people, who bowed to him, not by the prefect of police who, a few years later, was to keep him under surveillance."  Proust has devoted most of this volume of Remembrance of Things Past exploring the shadow world of the homosexual community in France at the time, but clearly there are rules and their are limits; not everyone plays by the rules of society.

A True Power Couple

I just wanted to post a picture of the most excellent Cyndi Brandenburg and the indomitable Inder Singh from Tiger Paws Adventures.  We couldn't have pulled off the trip to India and Sri Lanka without them.  I snapped this picture early on the morning of our first day in India.

Cyndi and I deeply appreciate everything Inder did for us, and he completely saved the day.  To my students, however, Inder was quickly raised to the level of an almost mythic folk hero.  I think he actually liked spending time with them, and fed off their energy (even if at times they they drove him - and us - quite crazy).

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Discography - Week 49

Cyndi and I have made it back, safe and sound and reasonably sane, from our latest adventure.  I snapped this picture of her strolling on the beach in Mumbai, which allowed her to add another entry to her 50 for 50 project (although she still refuses to include it all in a blog), in this case dipping her feet into the Indian Ocean.  She didn't actually swim, because, well, it's the ocean off of Mumbai and it's a cesspool, but you get the idea.




And we've reached our final (at least for this round) Thematic Week.  For sometime we've been talking about a Thematic Week when we would revisit one or more of our fellow plenipotentiaries' songs and commentaries.  We're commenting on a noted musicologist's earlier musings, either refuting their opinions or championing their musical acumen or just talking about how much they love/hate the song.


Gary Beatrice

The Clash/Vince Taylor and the Playboys, Brand New Cadillac:

In week 37 Dave Kelley wrote eloquently about the Clash's cover of Brand New Cadillac from London Calling (which is, in my humble opinion, the greatest album ever). I agree with everything Dave said and I couldn't have said it any better than he did. But I want to add a couple points.

First of all, as Dave and I commented previously, one of the wonderful ironies of the song, made especially clear in Joe Strummer's shout "Jesus Christ! Where did you get that Cadillac?", is that the car means more to singer and girlfriend than their relationship ever did.

But the second point I want to make is that this: like the Clash's earlier brilliant cover of "I Fought The Law", this is a cover of a rockabilly song. Listen to the original, which is damn good. I've never heard it discussed but somebody in the Clash was a roots rock fan. I don't know if young Clash fans went back and discovered country music through their covers, as young Stones fans discovered the blues through Stones covers, but given how many alt country and Americana fans claim the Clash as an influence, it is possible. At the very least this English punk band helped to make country music safe for future rockers, which is yet another testament to this band's brilliance.


Dave Wallace

The Temptations - Papa Was a Rollin' Stone

To finish up soul month, I'm picking a song that Dave Kelley previously chose (and did an excellent job writing about).  The Temptations are arguably the greatest soul group of all-time and its most enduring.  As the group transitioned into the 70's, their vocal mainstays (David Ruffin, Eddie Kendrick) had left the group, and their music became more socially conscious, reflecting the current trends.  This approach peaked with Papa Was a Rollin' Stone, in which the sons gather around the deathbed of their father and deliver an unforgiving assessment of his life.  While there are a number of different versions, I've linked to the original 12-minute version (which may be more Papa than some people want!).  There are so many fantastic things about this song - the ominous bassline, the use of strings, the different lead vocal performances, the handclaps!



Kathy Seiler

I wasn't going to do a post this week because I have absolutely no business judging anyone's else's take on music, at least in my own mind. But then tragedy happened and a previous post came to mind. The post I comment on is that of my own beloved, copied below:
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Phillip Seiler, Week 37 (New Year's Eve)

It seems like a good year for contemplation and reflection and what better way to experience that then through music. There was a tremendous amount of great music this last year (and has there ever been a year with two exceptional albums from artists in the year of their death like this one?) But the album that most infected me this year was Darlingside's "Birds Say". Darlingside is an all string band from the Boston area with layered, harmonic vocals. The album is beautiful and my favorite track is the finale, "Good For You" but that is not the song I am writing about today. 

Instead, I am reminded, as I search around youtube, that a great song can be made even better by a great video.

Darlingside, God of Loss

I love this song. It has a beautiful, simple message and the vocals are perfect as is the tempo. But the video takes it to an entirely different level. Perfect in its simplicity. Perfect in its story. Great art transcends. Just watch and enjoy...or weep as I did.

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So first, I can't say that 2016 was a particularly awesome music year in my world. The most memorable music from 2016 for me was discovering the Hamilton soundtrack, which is quite an ear worm. It's MixTape followup was not nearly as good. 

I just stole Darlingside's "Birds Say" album from Phil's music library a month ago or so. It's got a folky vibe to it, with vocals that I would call more "airy" than anything else. Reminds me a little of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" vocally and generally the songs on the album all sound too much alike to make me love it. But it's good background music for me.

There is something oddly compelling about the God of Loss song, and the video Phil linked to absolutely WRECKED me the first time I watched it. I sobbed, literally for almost an hour, feeling the woes of the previous year (of which there were more than I care to admit) break open the emotional dam holding them back. I looked up the lyrics and couldn't figure out what they actually meant. I will note that Phil didn't say what he thought they meant either. So of course I went to the great oracle Google to see if it could enlighten me. It didn't help much, but referred me to the fact that the song was inspired by the book "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy, which sounds like it might have too many descriptive words for someone like me.

But then this week happened. A close friend of my 18 year old son (also 18 years old) died extremely suddenly. There have been many conflicting stories on what actually happened, which bothers me immensely. I know that as a result of his sudden death, he was an organ donor. This kid was smart, charming, full of potential, and made some bad decisions at times like many young men do. He spent many days and nights at our house over the years and would make fun of how many different kinds of cheeses we had in our refrigerator, which immediately endeared him to me.  I constantly told him he'd better go to college because he was going to get a scholarship and he was motivated. And I'm pretty sure I threatened to kick his ass if he didn't. He promised me he would. I found out this week he'd interviewed at Dartmouth and was awaiting their decision.

I found out Monday night that he had passed away that afternoon. The universe, in its wisdom, made the God of Loss song come on during my drive to work on Tuesday morning. And of course, I barely made it into work through the tears. And as much as the video made me weep the first time, the words alone made me weep this time. 

I'll be no outlaw
No renegade
Just your faithful
God of Loss

This tragic death brought home these words not for their beauty but for their truth. Loss just...is. You can rely on it. There's nothing really all that dramatic about it, but it's the thing we know we don't like, that we pretend isn't there. So we feel like it jumped us in an alley when it happens.

So while Phil might not have told me what the words meant, and the song did not bring me comfort this week, I am grateful for being made aware of it. It made me remember that feeling deep hurt and pain is what it is to be alive. And that loss reminds us how precious and painfully short life can be.



Phillip Seiler



This was a difficult assignment our host presented us. As I dug back through the blog I was reminded of so many great songs that people posted on. This song and post deserve amplification though.

In week 28, Miranda posted on Tracey Chapman's song Fast Car. Her post started: 

"Tracy Chapman, Fast Car

As a kid I loved this song. I liked the idea of riding in a fast car and feeling liked I belonged. I paid little attention to the verses, despite knowing all of the words and singing along. The music is simple yet rich, and it resonates. It is a great song, musically - catchy and moving at the same time. You don't have to study it to enjoy it. "

I remember when this song came out and I am fairly certain I rushed to buy the album after first hearing it, struck by the same feelings Miranda describes. (Most likely, I saw it first as MTV was still a source for music that might not get airplay elsewhere.) And the whole post just gets better and better examining this little pearl of a song. 

What I really like about the commentary is the examination of the roll of fiction in confusing our perceptions as humans. Miranda rightly points out that the turning points in literature, movies, and even songs are rarely as obvious as portrayed. We except this as necessary for dramatic effect, of course. "What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out" quipped Hitchcock but hidden there is also the realization that turning points come and go on a regular basis. Yet even if they are not enacted upon, others often do come. But how we feel in those moments, both when we act and when we do not. Oh, that is the real stuff. 


This has all been buzzing around my brain over the last few months in observing our current political situation. I am sure I am not the first to realize this but the remarkable thing about preventing the next holocaust is you will almost certainly have no idea that you did prevent it since it will not have happened. And worse, many people will think you a crank for ever suggesting things were going to be that bad. So even if you do recognize that this moment is literally that leave or live and die this way moment, no one else may ever believe you. How lonely is that? 


Dave Kelley

Return with me now to the halcyon days of the Spring of 2016.  We had a sane president, the Cubs had not yet had a World Series title since 1908, and every day did not bring another attack on the moral underpinnings of our great country.  A tremendous music blog was introduced into the ether, and the domestication of cats and dogs continued unabated.  A youthful idealist from Indiana made his first post...........

"Lookout Mountain"  Drive By Truckers

The Truckers sing about class in a way that virtually no one else does.  All three of their songwriters at the time they released "The Dirty South" very much come from a Southern progressive background, and the characters that populate their songs are very specific to the region.  It is ironic that, much like Springsteen's working class Jersey protagonists, many of the folks The Truckers sing about probably would vote for Republicans in general and Trump in particular.  The modern economy has left many behind, and many of those white working class folks feel angry and marginalized.  Sadly they sometimes fall for the siren song of the conservative Republicans and vote against their own economic interests.  If "What's the Matter With Kansas" were written today it would be entitled  "What the Fuck is Wrong With America!"

"Lookout Mountain" is just a great, powerful, angry guitar song.  At times DBT reminds me a great deal of Crazy Horse, and I would cite this song as a prime example of that.  Typically I focus on the music to this song more than the lyrics.  I am not usually contemplative when playing air guitar, air drums, or both at the same time.  (I am that crazy talented!!!)  When thinking about what to do this week I scrolled back through all of the songs everyone has posted.  I blasted this one at top volume a few times in my car and found myself listening to the lyrics in the context of a world gone Trump.  Sadly, I think the character singing the song may have a "Make America Great Again" hat on top of his head.  The duality of "The Southern Thing." 

Going back through the prior posts reminded me again of how great this blog has been.  I know we are nearing the end of our year and hope that we resume at some point after taking a well deserved break.  The blog has introduced me to some great music I did not know, made me think about familiar songs in a new way, and surprisingly served as a form of therapy during very difficult times for our country.  The only downside is that I may forever be linked to "Wildfire" in the mind of some friends.  Oh magical horse, carry me away to a world without Trump!!!    :)


Gary Scudder

On Week 43 the esteemed Dave Kelley wrote the following:

"Oh the good old days of the 1990's when our biggest worry about shenanigans in The White House was illicit blowjobs.


My choice this week is "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere" by Dwight Yoakam.  An heir to the Bakersfield sound, Dwight made some great music in the 90's.  There is nothing much to say about this song other than it is fantastic.  His voice is excellent, and I love the guitar sound.  It was also featured in "Red Rocks West" which was a great movie."

I don't know if I have anything profound to say in opposition to Dave's points, although I would like to take the opportunity to propose that whoever convinced Lara Flynn Boyle to undergo plastic surgery should be tried for war crimes.  My only criticism of Dave's posting is that I think he damned the song by faint praise.

However, and more importantly, Dwight Yoakam's A Thousand Miles from Nowhere is easily one of my top ten favorite all-time songs.  America is about many things, but it's also about space and isolation.  Over a century ago the historian Frederick Jackson Turner spelled out his frontier thesis, which essentially stated that what made America America was not the east coast or the Puritans or Jamestown or the tie to England but rather it was the frontier, because it inculcated in folks true independence and freedom and democracy.  Turner's point then was that the most recent US survey had shown that the frontier was complete, which also allowed him to ask the question of what would this mean for the American sense of self.  It's a theory that's often disputed, although I still think there's a grain of truth in it, and it explains why we were still adding state in the 1950s and going to the moon in the 1960s and why we tend to love governmental programs with names like the New Frontier - and it also explains why Trump's isolationist policies are not only foolish but also, I would suggest, un-American in the purest sense of the word. And although Hamlet might have proposed that he could be bound in a nutshell and count himself a king of infinite space were it not that he had bad dreams, we as Americans can't stand to be bounded at all (which makes the gated community such an abhorrent concept).  I think it's why John Ford's use of silhouette shots from inside doorways works so well at the beginning and end of The Searchers, because it juxtaposes so brilliantly against wide open space (warning: film whore alert).   Anyway, I would argue that few songs speak to the sense of space and isolation, both geographic and emotional, than Yoakam's A Thousand Miles from Nowhere


She was brilliantly cast in Red Rock West, especially coming on the heels of playing such a nice girl on Twin Peaks.  OK, this has nothing at all to do with our Discography discussion, but I've always liked this picture.  Oh, and you can always tell if someone's Mom was reading or watching Doctor Zhivago when they were pregnant if they choose Lara over Laura.


My Years With Proust - Day 402

I had in any case left my dear Albertine too long alone.  "D'you know," I said to her as I climbed into the carriage, "the seaside life and the life of travel makes me realise that the theatre of the world is stocked with fewer settings than actors, and with fewer actors than situations."
Marcel Proust, Cities of the Plain, p. 891

In carrying out a favor for M. de Charlus, Marcel stumbles across an old acquaintance, in one of those odd happenstances that only happens in Dickens novels and real life, and it causes him to reflect upon the seemingly limited number of different players and scenes in the world. As we all know, William Shakespare told us, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts." Now, as every student in Heroines & Heroes can attest, Vladimir Propp proposed that there are only seven character functions: 1) the villain, 2) the dispatcher, 3) the helper, 4) the princess, 5) the donor, 6) the hero, and 7) the false hero.  It seems to me that I've traditionally done a poor job teaching Propp, because instead of focusing on the character functions my students get side-tracked by the thirty-one different stages (interesting, but I would argue of less interest).  I had the thought recently that one approach would be to have the students consider times in their lives when they have played each of these different roles.  In the last couple years I've started modeling academic activities (and certainly not personal behavior) for my students, which leads me to create a new self-portrait every year.  So, with this in mind, if I'm going to ask my students to identify the times they've played the different Proppian roles (keeping in mind that they're young and may not have played them all; I'm always amazed how few of them have even been in love, let along played the false hero) I should really force myself to undertake the same exercise.  I'll have to revisit this post and report my findings.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Metaphor

I've been posting way too many pictures of myself lately, which, to be fair, is a testament to the fact that several folks, most notably my students, have snapped some decent shots of me (a very rare occurrence).  Here's a picture of me in the Indian city of Nashik, early into our recent trip (I'll have much more to say about it later).  To me this picture is somewhere between a summary and a metaphor for my entire teaching career: I'm overseas and I'm backed by a small mountain of dried cow shit.

Nashik was fascinating, and served as a lovely transition away from Mumbai (itself, obviously, an indelible part of India) to a more traditional aspect of Indian life.  The dried cow pies were set aside as a fuel source for the celebratory bonfires that would mark the beginning of Holi. As always, I effortlessly blend into my surroundings. [Hint: I'm the one in the middle.]

My Year With Proust - Day 401

   To the reproaches which I heaped upon her when Saint-Loup had left us, Albertine replied that she had intended, by her coldness towards me, to dispel any ideas that he might have formed if, at the moment when the train stopped, he had seen me leaning against her with my arm round her waist.  He had indeed noticed this attitude (I had not caught sight of him, otherwise I should have sat up decorously besides Albertine), and had had time to murmur in my ear: "So that's one of those priggish little girls you told me about, who wouldn't go near Mlle de Stermaria because they thought her fast?" I had indeed mentioned to Robert, and in all sincerity, when I went down from Paris to visit him at Doncieres, and when we were talking about our time at Balbec, that there was noting to be done with Albertine, that she was virtue itself. And now that I had long since discovered for myself that this was false, I was even more anxious that Robert should believe it to be true.  It would have been sufficient for me to tell Robert that I was in love with Albertine.  He was one of those people who are capable of denying themselves a pleasure to spare a friend sufferings which they would feel as though they were their own.  "Yes, she's still rather childish.  But you don't know anything against her?"  I added anxiously.  "Nothing, except that I saw you clinging together like a pair of lovers."
Marcel Proust, Cities of the Plain, p. 889

"I never told you about this because I thought it would crush you, but now I could give a shit.  I fucked Elizabeth. Before you broke up.  Before you were having trouble, even.  So you can stop making her into a saint.  She was good in bed and she could keep a secret.  And that's about all I can say about her." John (Peter Gallagher) to Graham (James Spader) in Sex, Lies and Videotape.
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As I was re-reading this passage from Proust several things popped into my head, one of them being the end of the brilliant film Sex, Lies and Videotape.  Our insistence on lying to each other and to ourselves about love and sex - and our endless persistence and creativity in doing so - has to be one of the hallmarks of our species.  We all lie and we all play roles, and I suppose the juxtoposition between our reality and our play-acting seems most dramatic in women mainly because society tries to force them into a smaller and more defined intellectual and moral window.  Certainly there are women who cling to illusions of virginity with one hopeful and patient would-be lover while happily descending into casual depravity (if I keep repeating this term it will become a thing) with another more insistent or more knowing lover.  Although, truthfully, it probably has very little to do with the patience or impatience, or skill or clumsiness, of her lovers, but rather her determination to choose her own role.  Marcel had sold a version of Albertine to his friend Robert, and thus also to himself, and it was necessary to maintain that delusion, as much for himself as for Robert.

And speaking of Robert, maybe he's a better friend, and a better person, than he has seemed to be up to this point.  Proust writes that he "was one of those people who are capable of denying themselves a pleasure to spare a friend sufferings which they would feel as they they were their own."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Years With Proust - Day 400

Robert must have realised that I was not indifferent to Albertine, for he did not respond to her advances, which put her in a bad humour with myself; then he spoke to me as though I was alone, and this, when she noticed it, raised me again in her esteem.  Robert asked me if I would like to try and find, among the friends with whom he used to take  me to dine every evening at Doncierces when I was staying there, those who were still in the garrison.  And as he himself indulged in that sort of teasing affectation which he reproved in others, "What's the good of your having worked so hard to charm them if you don't want to see them again?" he asked.  I declined his offer, for I did not wish to run the risk of being parted from Albertine, but also because now I was detached from them.  From them, which is to say from myself.  We passionately long for there to be another life in which we shall be similar to what we have here below.  But we do not pause to reflect that, even without waiting for that other life, in this life, after a few years we are unfaithful to what we once were, to what we wished to main immortally.  Even without supposing that death is to alter us more completely than the changes that occur in the course of our lives, if in that other life we were to encounter the self that we have been, we should turn away from ourselves as from those people with whom we were once on friendly terms but whom we have not seen for years - such as Saint-Loup's friends whom I used so much to enjoy meeting every evening at the Faisan Dore, and whose conversation would now have seemed to me merely a boring importunity.  In this respect, and because I preferred not to go there in search of what had given me pleasure in the past, a stroll through Doncieres might have seemed to me a prefiguration of an arrival in paradise.  We dream much of paradise, or rather of a number of successive paradises, but each of them is, long before we die, a paradise lost, in which we should feel ourself lost too.
Marcel Proust, Cities of the Plain, p. 888

First off, this section reminds me of the Kathleen Edwards song Copied Keys, a song that is much more knowing and self-aware than she should have been able to write when she was that young.

Marcel and Albertine has unexpectedly come across Robert Saint-Loup, who suggests they go in search of some old friends.  Proust tells us, " I declined his offer, for I did not wish to run the risk of being parted from Albertine, but also because now I was detached from them.  From them, which is to say from myself."  And maybe this particular passage is what first brought me to the Edwards song.  You can easily lose touch with your friends and your world, and thus with yourself.  I've talked before about the fact that one of the biggest challenges that I faced with lovely British girl was finding a universe where neither one of us depended upon copied keys, which is why our best options always focused on alternate locations such as Abu Dhabi or Hong Kong.  While I would have missed my friends and my world tremendously, I suspect I could have more easily lived in London than she could have lived in Vermont, mainly because I'm older and I've enjoyed the company of my friends for many more years; essentially, I would have had more to draw on from the storehouse of memory.

Proust, typically, then launches into a much more philosophical rumination on life, specifically the life we are living and the life that we dream of living.  This relates to both another imagined life running parallel to our own lived life (and this is something I'm perpetually guilty of) but also the next world (which, depending upon your own beliefs, might also qualify as an imagined world).  "We passionately long for there to be another life in which we shall be similar to what we have here below.  But we do not pause to reflect that, even without waiting for that other life, in this life, after a few years we are unfaithful to what we once were, to what we wished to main immortally"  However, what does that other world, either the parallel one from this life or the next, even mean for us?  As Edwards asks her lover, "would you even be the same?"  More pressingly, would we even be the same?  Proust proposes, "Even without supposing that death is to alter us more completely than the changes that occur in the course of our lives, if in that other life we were to encounter the self that we have been, we should turn away from ourselves as from those people with whom we were once on friendly terms but whom we have not seen for years . . ."  Essentially, we would turn away from our friends, and we would even turn away from ourselves.

In the end, Marcel decides to not go in search of this lost world, this imagined world, this paradise, a paradise that was already lose. "In this respect, and because I preferred not to go there in search of what had given me pleasure in the past, a stroll through Doncieres might have seemed to me a prefiguration of an arrival in paradise.  We dream much of paradise, or rather of a number of successive paradises, but each of them is, long before we die, a paradise lost, in which we should feel ourself lost too."  I need to brood over this section more, which is why I'm planning on, upon completion, to go back and reread all of my commentary again and potentially add new reflections.  I can't decide whether this is one of the saddest passages or one of the most hopeful passages; I am sure it is one of the most insightful passages.

As Proust reminds us, "In a world thronged with monsters and with gods, we know little peace of mind."