In praise of the unknown and unseen – I

In praise of the unknown and unseen – I

The great humanist George Eliot sings the praises of those who act well or kindly in countless unmarked ways, without any song or dance about it.  See a similar example in her superb Adam Bede, and Vasily Grossman’s plea for the value of untraceable kindnesses....
In praise of the unknown and unseen – II

In praise of the unknown and unseen – II

Highlighting the significance of the insignificant people who constitute most of humanity and its history. See a similar praise of unsung heroes in Eliot’s Middlemarch, and an echoing cry by Vasily Grossman.  I sense that George Eliot and Vasily Grossman would...
Like a surgeon’s knife

Like a surgeon’s knife

Adam Bede is so far from being like a timid woman that this is striking, and Eliot uses the idea of recoiling from a surgeon’s knife to convey the anguished passivity and powerlessness of a powerful, active man when confronted with a wrong he can’t act to...
To listen as to a recurrent music

To listen as to a recurrent music

What a beautiful description of listening out for someone’s voice.   Despite Adam’s listening for her voice so, it doesn’t yet occur to him that he might fall in love with her. And voices, how memorable, individual and yet evanescent they are!  When...
Fate waiting in the wings

Fate waiting in the wings

All aglow, this bright afternoon when two characters cross paths, blush, and entwine fates.  Impossible to have any intimation on such an afternoon that it could lead to disaster.  Only the writer senses it, and tries to warn the reader. It would have done no good to...
Leaden-coloured sky

Leaden-coloured sky

Having enjoyed a sunny afternoon, I am now looking out to a leaden-coloured sky, but it doesn’t feel like a departing hope – rather it’s bringing more of the rain that has been absent for so much of the last year, so I sense a welcome dousing. But I...
Three-cornered chair

Three-cornered chair

It is years – decades – since I saw one of these, but I grew up with an oak one, Jacobean-black, made by my great-grandfather and always commandeered by my ample grandfather when he visited, to the extent that my mother referred to it as...
Departing hope

Departing hope

A grimly compelling way to evoke a louring sky.  Compare this ‘departing hope’ with Vasily Grossman’s description of the rising sun like a burst of hope. ‘Under a leaden-coloured sky, with a narrowing streak of yellow, like a departing...
Worrying like a butter churn

Worrying like a butter churn

You’ve surely spent moments and even nights of your life in mind-churning worry, as described here by a women who knew what she was talking about as she managed her own butter churns and other dairy paraphernalia. ‘… and worret myself as if I was a churn...

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