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The Chinese Joan of Arc

Posted by on Jan 29, 2022 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

Lin Zhao was a figure of Chinese dissidence under Mao. This daughter of a bourgeois, the eldest child of an affluent family in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, engaged in the Communist Revolution and executed without a trial during the Cultural Revolution, today enjoys the status of an icon for many intellectuals in her country. The short life of Lin Zhao, born...

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To be a visionary

Posted by on Jun 9, 2021 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

Herman Melville once wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne in these words:    In a week or so, I go to New York, to bury myself in a third-story room, and work and slave on my “Whale” while it is driving through the press. That is the only way I can finish it now, — I am so pulled hither and thither by circumstances. The calm, the coolness, the...

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Is etymology relevant?

Posted by on Jul 26, 2020 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

It did not take us long to transform civilization. In fifty years, we have almost stopped making war, standardised the possibility of making love without increasing the population, quarantined half of humanity, taken from our children the games once played by hands and offered them video games instead, and replaced books with social networks! The digital...

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Montaigne’s back room

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 3 comments

In these days of solitary confinement, this correspondent remembers a one-time lawyer and courtier in 16th century France who inscribed a few lines in Latin on a pillar of his study that read like this: “…. on the last day of February, his birthday, Michael de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still...

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That Vital Need for the Pestilence-stricken Multitude

Posted by on Mar 29, 2020 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s . . . Thus exploded the raging King Lear in Shakespeare’s play when he realised that his two daughters were trying to deprive him of all that represented his identity. The king’s daughters were...

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Confinement, isolation and Marcel Proust

Posted by on Mar 22, 2020 in Miscellaneous Jottings | 0 comments

To ……….. In these days of government recommended social isolation, we have days, may be months, to meditate on the benefits of inaction. It is nothing new though for the ‘magnum opus’ of the French author (bearing the title of À la recherche du temps perdu) mentioned in the title of this piece has also been translated as ‘In Search of...

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