Re-reading Lawrence 55 years on

Using my Calibre reader on HP Junior I am rereading Sons and Lovers, having first read it in 1962. It holds up well. But how little of it did I really understand at the age of 18 in 1962?

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Hard to believe it was first published over a century ago! See Blake Morrison, Sons and Lovers: a century on.

Sons and Lovers is a great novel. A century of readers have reached for the same adjective. FR Leavis did, when he enrolled Lawrence in the “great tradition” of the English novel, comprising Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. And Philip Larkin did so, too, describing Lawrence as “England’s greatest novelist” and Sons and Lovers as his finest achievement: “Cock me! Nearly every page of it is absolutely perfect.” The perfection wasn’t apparent to those close to Lawrence at the time, including his childhood sweetheart Jessie Chambers, his editor Garnett, and his wife-to-be Frieda, all of whom suggested improvements and left their mark on the finished text. But the reviews were good, and 100 years later the novel’s reputation holds up, despite the recent dip in Lawrence’s critical standing.

To anyone of my generation, that dip is a puzzle…

Poem of the day: W H Auden

Now what makes me think again of this poem, which has haunted me ever since I first read it at Sydney University when I was 16?

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SEPTEMBER 1, 1939

by W.H. Auden

 

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Tomorrow when the war began…

Um, such a shame to have a loudmouth idiot in the role of #POTUS, especially given the juvenile lard-arse that “runs” North Korea! Let’s hope the Donald doesn’t get his nightmare!

US President Donald Trump has warned North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to threaten the United States.

Key points:

  • Mr Trump made comments a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left door open for dialogue
  • President’s press briefing was supposed to be about opioid addiction
  • Washington Post says Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery

But within hours of Mr Trump’s threat North Korea’s military said it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam with missiles.

Mr Trump’s comments, delivered to reporters at his New Jersey golf course, came after Japan said it believed North Korea could have developed the technology to miniaturise nuclear warheads — which would enable them to be put on an inter-continental ballistic missile.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Mr Trump said during a briefing which was supposed to be about the problem of opioid addiction in the US….

Meanwhile, I have been away as I am getting used to the new version of Windows 10. I find myself forced to use Edge, which I don’t really like, as weird things are happening now with Google Chrome since the Windows upgrade. For example, “log in to Twitter” on Chrome simply vanished every time I tried to link to it, but no problem in Edge. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

And further to the burger question. I am at Illawarra Leagues and can attest that the following is rather good.

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And I did get my mouth around it! Just!

The search for the perfect burger

A while ago the Illawarra Mercury published Wollongong’s best burger joints – as voted by you. Yesterday Chris T and I road-tested one of them: Dagwood Bar and Kitchen. A very good burger.

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But also well worth visiting for the bar offerings and the rest of the menu.

Chris T and I do however find the Bush’s Plate burgers even better. And cheaper.

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I might also add that last week I tried a burger from the Illawarra Leagues Club: House made beef patty, baby cos, onion rings, melted cheddar, garlic aioli and truss tomato relish on a house made milk bun. Served with a side of hand cut chips. Highly commended. Here is another item from their menu:

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Bangers and mash. Must try that one day. On Friday I had a really tasty fish chowder there. This is similar:

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Finally, the good news is that Fuku has reopened at last, in Corrimal Street in the new building that has arisen from the old Oxford Hotel site. The internet doesn’t seem to have caught on to the new venue yet, or its name change to Fujiyama. Chris T and I plan to check it out next weekend.