One of the first things I tended to when unpacking at my new little garden flat was restoring the integrity my little colony of books – placing them just so on the book shelves.
Now they’re standing all-stately-like once again it is impossible to resist the urge to tilt the spine of familiar titles, cradle them off the shelf and browse whimsically back through them. This evening I revisted Mann and his novella ‘A Death in Venice’.
It reminds me somehow of one of Andre Gide’s novellas, the name of which I cannot recall. This is just one of the passages from A Death in Venice that deserves decontextualised admiration:
“And he felt in his heart a curious elation at these events impending in the world about him. Passion is like a crime: it does not thrive on the established order and the common round; it welcomes every blow dealt the bourgeois structure, every weakening of the social fabric, because therein it feels a sure hope of its own advantage” (pp. 56-57).