Senior lecturer

The great books of the 1950s and 1960s were to be chewed over and quarreled over for the next forty years, but the terms of the debates they engendered were never displaced. They were anyway simply better books than anything that came after, and in retrospect I can see why I was drawn to the discipline as it then was, and why I was never afterwards diligent about keeping up with the literature, as they called it.


The trouble with this is not that Wagner is made nicer than he really was, or that his intention is given a teleological spin, it is rather that we are likely to miss what he actually says about the present age. The burden of Parsifal—which Wagner called ein Bühnenweihfestspiel, A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage—is that the path to maturity and wisdom for the exceptional individual, the Chosen One, the Redeemer, and, through him, to the redemption of the world of men and nature, must begin and end with religious consecration and utter spiritual isolation.


I took to daydreaming during these monologues, which Walsh, or Welch, took as a personal offence, and she was not long in spinning her revenge. She called me Brighteyes, after a Viking tale of H. Rider Haggard. It was her conceit that I was Swedish, and therefore thick, and it amused her to address me in a macaronic Scandinavian sing-song.


Haneke has, in interviews, remarked on his admiration for the Danish master, Carl Theodor Dreyer, whose film Ordet presents a religious parable culminating in a resurrection—one of the greatest moments in all of cinema. The analagous moment in Haneke’s film is perhaps not remarked on in reviews because it is more comfortable to explain the mysterious in psychological terms, or to assume there must be such an explanation.


UC-47 was to last another six months. It was rammed by a British patrol boat off Flamborough Head on November 18, 1917, and went down with all hands. Although accessible to divers, the site is listed as a war grave and the wreck may not be entered or disturbed.

Black Peter

Forman’s English was of course American English. Not a generic American English (if there is such a thing), more a particular gravelly, lowish-medium, side-of-the-mouth, flat, no-nonsense American voice, its register neither specifically formal nor specifically colloquial, speech requiring no movement of either lips or eyebrows, a nowhere dialect whose native territory one thinks of as Hollywood big-shots, neo-cons in think tanks, sellers of Ponzi schemes.