The many faces of Paul Gowder’s personal library

A friend offered of those silly “grab the closest book, turn to page 56, and quote the fifth sentence” things. I looked to my left. To my right. Roughly equidistant were the following:

On the left:

“‘Do you know why my eyes are beautiful?’ he asked in all seriousness.” Colette, Cheri.

On the right:

“The boundless drive of the World Spirit, its irresistible thrust, is toward the realization of these stages — for this articulation of stages, together with their realization, comprise the concept of Spirit.” Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History,

If that isn’t demon on the left shoulder, angel on the right, what is?


5 Responses to “The many faces of Paul Gowder’s personal library”

  1. ben wolfson Says:

    Demon on the right, angel on the left, obviously.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    I might just have to go with demon/demon, and embrace that.

  3. ben wolfson Says:

    But really, Paul, isn’t “do you know why my eyes are beautiful” something you yourself might say? Perhaps not in all seriousness, but in some.

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    Hah, I would, but not in precisely that form. As stated, the question risks the reply “No, why?” And that’s really quite unanswerable.

  5. Paul Gowder Says:

    Consider, in this context, the remainder of the passage.

    “No,” Edmee said. “Perhaps because I love them?”
    “Stuff!” Cheri said, shrugging his shoulders. “It’s because they’re shaped like a sole.”
    “Like what?”
    “Like a sole.”
    He sat down near her to give a demonstration.
    “Look — here — the corner next the nose is the head of the sole. And then — the upper curve, that’s the back of the sole; whereas the lower line runs perfectly straight and that’s its belly. And the other corner that tapers up to my temples, that’s the sole’s tail.
    “Yes, but if I had an eye shaped like a flounder, that’s to say, with the lower part as much curved as the top, then I should look silly. See? You’ve passed your matric., and you didn’t know that?”
    “No, I must admit …”
    She broke off, feeling guilty, because he had spoken sententiously and with exaggerated passion, like someone with a mania. “There are moments when he looks like a savage,” she thought, “like a man from the jungle. Yet he knows nothing about plants or animals, and sometimes he doesn’t seem even to know about human beings.”

    (It’s really a shame nobody ever told Collette “show, don’t tell.”)

Leave a Comment