The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


Engraving of a guy chopping down a tree, with a group of people watching with some concern from the lower left corner
Erysichthon, engaging in some ill-judged arboriculture, cropped from Johann Wilhelm Baur’s illustrations to Ovid (ca. 1641)

…soon memory pours forth from every direction, sprouting its vines and flowers up around you till the old garden’s taken shape in all its fragrant glory. Almost unbelievable how much can rush forward to fill an absolute blankness.

—Mary Karr (The Art of Memoir)

There are so many memoirs I’m in the middle of reading, or have just finished reading, or am just about to read, and they tell their tales of strange normalcy or ordinary absurdity in a keen and keening chorus, making sense of nonsense and vice versa. They blend together and untangle, their questions acute, oracular, unanswerable, and I cannot tell them apart, just as I cannot mistake one for another.

It is uneasy reading. The presence of a chorus makes one wonder where the hero has wandered off to and what unfortunate ending is creeping slowly, slowly toward the footlights of the present moment.


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