Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Saul Bellow 1915-2005

The trouble was with the spark plug, which were soon repaired, and I cut out for Dunkerque and Ostend. Where the British were so punished the town is ruined. Quonset huts stand there on the ruins. The back of the ancient water was like wolf grey. Then on the long sand the waves crashed white; they spit themselves to pieces. I saw this spectre of white anger coming from the savage grey and meanwhile shot northward, in a great hurry to get to Bruges and out of this line of white which was like eternity opening up right besides destructions of the modern world, hoary and grumbling. I thought if I could beat the dark to Bruges I'd see the green canals and ancient palaces. On a day like this I could use the comfort of it, when it was so raw. I was still chilled from the hike across the fields, but, thinking of Jacqueline and Mexico, I got to grinning again. That's the animal ridens in me, the laughing creature, forever rising up. What's so laughable, that a Jacqueline, for instance, as hard used as that by rough forces, will still refuse to lead a disappointed life? Or is the laugh at nature -including eternity-that it thinks it can win over us and the power of hope? Nah, nah! I think. It never will. But that probably is the joke, on one or the other, and laughing is an enigma that includes both. Look at me, going everywhere! Why, I am a sort of Columbus of those near-at-hand and believe you can come to them in this immediate terra incognito that spreads out in every gaze. I may well be a flop at this line of endeavor. Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably , when they sent him back in chains. Which didn't prove there was no America. --last paragraph from Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March.

The Adventures of Augie March the only book of Bellow's I really could get through. This passage always sticks in my mind because I've made this drive.

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