Reading Alone

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Few if any will confuse Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet as a work whose object is erotic. Indeed, one wonders whether he has ever seen a nude body but his own. This, I suppose, is what distinguishes him most from Rilke, who knew as much of unapologetic lust as he did its more shameful cousin. The most striking thing for me about Pessoa’s cult classic, it is that, right?, is that its intertwining of honesty & intensity breathes like one in the midst of a dream, that occurring & that recalled, where the legs of lovers are locked and distinguishable, but never wholly, only by the rhythm and sway of their give & their take. It is, I find, all a kind of oxygen.

Appropriately, but also unfortunately, the difficulty one faces when reading The Book of Disquiet is that of its writer/narrator, and indeed that of many a Narcissus looming over himself, bound to drown. A balance, teetering though it may be, must be struck, and is maybe best done by not reading it alone. Thus I found myself reading it out loud even when on a plane, and upon landing sending quotes quite at random.

I want to keep it all to myself too much actually to keep it to myself.

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