Monday, June 3, 2019
The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Fifteen
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans (13 April 1747 – 6 November 1793), mentioned in The Earth Will Shake. See Wikipedia bio.
This week, please read from page 293 ("From Sir John Babcock's journal: Back in Paris again ...") to page 317 ("But, damn it, why do I feel I've seen those violet Sicilian eyes somewhere before?")
Lots of zingers in this chapter:
"Our class does have a sense of union, and the lower orders are not allowed to hear about such things when one of us is involved," page 204.
"Everybody said Italians were the best lovers; but nobody, anywhere, in history or in legend, had ever said they made the best husbands," pages 301-302.
Lots of interesting discussions and allusions:
"a very private in-joke for fellow Masons," page 304. Sigismundo Celine's references to Masons anticipates Mozart and Beethoven.
The descriptions of the jokes and abrupt shifts in Celine's music reminds me of Dimitri Shostakovich, a composer I can't remember Wilson ever discussing. But Shostakovich got much of his style from Mahler. I know Wilson liked Mahler.
Page 309, "Tuscany and Parma are not Napoli," Father Ratti said. "I am willing to join in this effort, because only by such repeated attempts will we achieve our goals, but I am not optimistic." The whole discussion is a good description of social change; remember when gay marriage and marijuana legalization seemed hopeless?
I haven't even discussed the history of Freemasonry in this section; I don't know enough to add to what Wilson shares.