thank you for your gracious correction. I was, of course, quoting from
memory, which is certainly flawed, all the more so as one approaches 40
(please do not groan, those of you out there whom I know only slightly
exceed 40 :). I doubt I've ever seen a correction made more graciously,
and I'm not being facetious, either.
On Sun, 27 Jan 2002, Marcia Karp wrote:
> Venus Freeman wrote:
> > I also appreciate the
> > point (whoever made it first--forgive me for forgetting and thus being
> > unable to give credit where it's due (was it Marcia?)) that it is the book
> > that kills them. But is it really? The problem, the reason for their
> > death and condemnation is because, as Mandelbaum translates it, "they read
> > no more that day." I do see the point that it was the reading together
> > that brought them to the moment of their sin. And I have always loved the
> > perfect understatement of the line: it conveys a great deal by simply
> > telling us they put the book down.
> Dear Venus,
> How nice to hear your voice again.
> I didn't say that the book killed them, I think Rick S did, but that Francesca
> calls the book a pander -- that is, the story of Launcelot's being enthralled to
> love excited (to be coarse) Paolo and Francesca to their own illicit acts. They
> resisted until their feelings were enacted in the story. As you and Rick do, I
> think it important that they were reading. Compare this from Auden's “In memory
> of W. B. Yeats”:
> For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
> In the valley of its saying where executives
> Would never want to tamper; it flows south
> From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
> Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
> A way of happening, a mouth.
> I like the happy coincidence of Auden's mouth with the fatal kiss. Anyway, Rick,
> here's a paper waiting for you to write in your semester's leave.
> You make a nice point in your observation on the tact and power of «quel
> giorno più non vi leggemmo avante» ("that day we read no more").