by JL Wall
I read in The Wall Street Journal about the melancholy of affluence, “Not in all the five millenia of man’s recorded history have so many been so affluent.” Minds formed by scarcity are distorted. The heart can’t take this sort of change. Sometimes it just refuses to accept it. (Humboldt’s Gift, p. 3)
I’m quite possibly the only person who has come to love Bellow’s prose in spite of personal misadventures with Augie March (it may have had much to do with the horrible typesetting of my copy) — but the angle at which he approaches it, just so slightly askance that you don’t notice anything is different until the light hits it like that and everything is altered, gets me every time. And here, suddenly, there is no difference between the blessings of modernity and the curse of it: they’re one and the same, and neither would exist without the simultaneity of the other. Something worth considering.