Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The classics

My subway reading of late has been Madame Bovary. Somehow I made it all the way through college without having Gustave over to play, and now our date will be over in about 20 pages. There's nothing like a book about adultery to get one thinking, especially one that reduces its heroine to an interesting act of self-destruction, one that doesn't let her off the hook by shifting to the narrative resolution of a character who learns the virtues that the author wants to point us towards(are you listening Leo? Why didn't you just call it Constantin Levin?). What I wonder is: other than the masterful prose, what is it that makes these completely predictable tales of women incapable of controlling their impulses so readable, so enduring? If we relate to the story, does that mean we in the modern world are nothing but a bunch of debauched gigolos and slatterns? Do all adulterers deserve to eat Arsenic or manually change the train signals? Or does this genre describe a framework that no longer functions, an outdated moralism that does more harm than good? Is it time to start fucking? Or is are we all bound for the confessional?

3 comments:

Ethan said...

I was going to make some clever remark about the confessional from _History of Sexuality_, but I am too tired. So user your imagination...

Ren said...

As I said before,

Throw yourself under a train and I'll fucking kill you.

Figure that one out.

Meredith said...

No trains, I promise. No promises on obnoxious Foucault references though.