“It was no summer progress. A cold coming they had of it at this time of the year, just the worst time of the year to take a journey, and specially a long journey in. The ways deep, the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off, in solstitio brumali, ‘the very dead of winter.’” –
Lancelot Andrewes Bishop of Winchester, died in 1626 ***

A cold coming we had of it, /
Just the worst time of the year /
For a journey, and such a long journey: /
The ways deep and the weather sharp, /
The very dead of winter. –
T.S. Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi” – Published in 1930

The fact that T.S. Eliot copies Lancelot Andrewes almost verbatim deeply demonstrates Eliot’s closing to his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent”:

“The emotion of art is impersonal (meaning has its life in the art, not the artist). And the poet cannot reach this impersonality without surrendering himself wholly to the work to be done. And he is not likely to know what is to be done unless he lives in what is not merely the present, but the present moment of the past, unless he is conscious, not of what is dead, but of what is already living.”

Seeing Through Everything. And Seeing Nothing.

by Christopher Myers

The benefit, of course, of seeing through everything is that not much is lost on you, and Franzen has an amazing ability to skewer hypocrisy and to layer everything in irony. In reading the novel though, I couldn’t help but be reminded of C. S. Lewis’s observation that to see through everything is to ultimately see nothing:

The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. 

Click the title/link to read the rest.

Seeing Through Everything. And Seeing Nothing.