Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2015

Finding Jesus in White Noise

I am endlessly intrigued by allusion to Jesus in literature. Intentional or inci-/accidental, affirmatory or critical – it all expands on the conversation; all highlights and reinforces the permeation of his shaping presence in reality.

There's lots of examples to choose from. Writers, it seems, are themselves endlessly intrigued by him – at least, within the largely Western, recent centuries' traditions that encompass most of my reading choices. It's the subtle instances that most delight me, like the following scene in the pleasingly quirky White Noise by Don DeLillo [1]...

The family of college professor Jack Gladney – along the rest of their town and the inhabitants of the surrounding region – are displaced by an 'airborne toxic event'. They are temporarily housed in an abandoned scout camp. The place is rife with uncertainty; rumours of varying degrees of extremity proliferate; concrete information is scarce. Anyone boasting a claim to knowledge, however tenu…

So long lives this ...

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.  (William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, c.1609)  Was ever arrogance so eloquent! He's basically saying, "Look, love, you're a bit of alright. And I can write, right? In fact, I'm a big-shot playwright. Will's words won't wilt, I'll warrant you. Some centuries' time this rhyme'll be a rite of educational passage for school kids up and down our Scepter'd Isle and where'er else our native tongue be known." Only, he's Shakespeare, so he's saying it in words so Shakespehearianly splendid as to render them self-fulfilling. (Well, four hundred years and counting, at least ... so far, so good).

Many of Shakespeare's sonnets are pre-occupied with the idea of immortalisation through the written word. The fact that most are addressed to a man (scholars are unable to unambiguously conclude that the relationship was a romantic one but much of the lan…