Servant of the Dead
E-mail from a friend:
While I was going over to see mother there was a good interview on NPR. The man's thesis was that the dead have always had a role in our lives. From the old times of ancestor worship and appeasement to today in literature and law. He had this mantra-like saying about how we build a house to house our books and that our books house the voices of the dead. He talked about Odysseus and Æneas and Dante all needing to consult the dead at an important juncture, how we use the words of the dead, the Law, to resolve issues in our time. It was really cool.
He was a professor of French and Italian at I forget what university. The interviewer asked him what had led him to this view. He said he had been raised in Turkey until he was twelve and then in Rome and had always been keenly aware of the "overburden of the past. He said that his work teaching literature required him to spend an inordinate part of his time with the voices of the dead. (That reminded me of Byatt's Possession.)
And of course I thought of you working in that house that houses the books that house the voices of the dead. Freaky, huh? Like driving through the cop party.
- posted with permission of the author