". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading Wednesday -

     . . . . Yah I know it's Thursday now, but I did scrabble these notes yesterday, Wednesday.

Reading, I am reading, but very slowly. Still coming back from the Cuba Expedition, and I am spending a lot of time out of the apt. in company of people of all sorts for various projects.

                                               Clovis I

We continue in our Great Merovingian Escape from our own world's political horrors. It really settles us down before sleep to read about all these figures about which we know so little beyond the dimensions of their brutality wielded upon each other.

I have been struggling with Greg Iles's third and concluding volume of the white supremacist evils perpetrated in Natchez and environs during the age of Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights era, Mississippi Blood (2017). But the icky dimensions of Iles's own psyche are back on view large and overwhelming in this third volume, meaning his sexual fantasy that deals with race and age in ways that, honestly, make his central fantasy stand-in of self, so yucky.  But Iles and his character Penn Cage see themselves only as good guys, so it's even more difficult to deal with.  Iles and Penn are outright creepy, which might seem an odd judgment when he's also created some of the most truly evil villains to be found on the page. But then, the villains are comic book villains, really, whereas we're take to Penn Cage seriously as both a man and white hat hero.  Why haven't Iles's friends told him . . . .

Instead I'll be reading Claire Tomalin's Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (2003).  I've read other of her biographies, notably the work that deals with Charles Dickens' and his very young actress mistress for whom he cruelly discarded his wife, The Invisible Woman, from which a film was made.  Last year or was it the year before? I listened to three volumes of Pepys Diaries, which was a wonderful experience.  So I expect to enjoy this biography too. Unlike Iles, Pepys, despite his flagrant sexual / gender transactions (so judged even by himself, at least at times) is a likable guy.  He doesn't lie to himself about himself. In so many ways he embodied the spirit of his age. Combine that with his capacity for diligent work and his winning personality, no wonder he got on.

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