Reading dates: 19 September—19 November 2015.
This is an interesting book to read but an even more interesting one to discuss. Structured like a monumental rant against everything and not very much substantiated with any evidence, it is energetic and fun, even if a little contemptible. It turns morality on its head: what if what we understood as good was actually not good, but just culturally good, dependent on context? The book comprises three essays and the third is against the ascetic’s values. Nietzsche is an advocate of life, of ancient Greek culture, of the Dyonisian and, I have to say, having a choice between Apollonian and Dionysian is something that does appeal to me. Why does good only hold one possibility? Here’s Nietzsche, looking dapper with Lou Salomé (who is holding a nice whip):
Of course, for much of the night, we drifted to discuss terrorism and the Paris attacks, to look at these recent events from Nietzsche’s moral philosophy perspective. Why terrorism? What values do they uphold? Are they wrong and we are right? Is it so simple? These were the actual examples missing from Nietzsche’s narrative.
Reading dates: 01 October–14 November 2015
Reading poetry is still a challenge for me, even 16 years after I made English my main language. Reading poetry aloud is a challenge, but also the best training to understand it. Neil and I read two of Auden’s poems per night. He always let me chose which one I wanted; for the other, I just lay down and listen to him. Such a luxury. It is one of those moments I will remember forever, and, when the time comes, I will also miss deeply.
In this collection, Auden’s poems are organised chronologically. I liked the earlier ones much more than I thought; I even understood something in them. As the book went on, some images were still beautiful but I think he became too formal and I liked the poems less.
At the risk of being corny, I also liked Funeral Blues, featured in the rom com ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. I suppose that, with all the sadness around the world, the expression of grief and loss by someone who is precise and articulate, as well as having the gift of words, is a small breath.