All the Little Live Things by Wallace Stegner

By Wallace Stegner

Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's nationwide ebook Award-winning novel, The Spectator Bird, returns during this disquieting and keenly saw novel. Scarred by way of the mindless demise in their son and baffled via the engulfing chaos of the Sixties, Allston and his spouse, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And even though their new domestic appears like Eden, it additionally has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of gear, yoga, and intercourse; and Marian Catlin, an enticing younger girl whose otherworldly innocence is way extra appealing—and way more risky.

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Xxxii • Introduction In "The Rhine," a hymn that perhaps more successfully than any other enacts the modulation of the overstrained transcendental im­ pulse—the refusal to suffer the alterity of the sacred—that for Höld­ erlin was the mark of all heroic excess, is associated with madness and self-destruction. that he shall destroy As his enemy, and under the rubble Bury his father and his child, If he should seek to be like them and not Allow inequality, the wild dreamer. It is finally the gods themselves who contain and divert the "heroic" desire for merging—the desire for unboundedness—so (rften em­ bodied in Hölderlin's poetry by the surging course erf rivers: But a god desires to save his sons Fromflittinglife, and he smiles When without restraint, but hemmed in By holy Alps, the rivers Rage at him in the depths as this one does.

20. the noncoincidence of "now" and "then": "Empedocles, through his temperament and philosophy already filled with a hatred for culture, with a contempt for all particular affairs, all interests oriented toward particular objects, a sworn enemy of all one-sided existence and thus restless, dissatisfied, suffering even in truly pleasant conditions simply because they are particular conditions and are truly fulfilling only when they are felt to participate in a great harmony with all living things; because he cannot live, feel love in these conditions with the depth of a god's omnipresent heart; because as soon as his heart and mind attend to the concrete particular, he is bound by the law of succession" (StA 4,1: 145; my translation).

With what faith did I read those smiling hieroglyphics! But I had almost the same experience with them that I had had long ago with birches in spring. I had heard of the sap of these trees and was amazed at the thought of what a precious drink their graceful stems must yield. But there was neither strength nor life enough in it. And, oh! how irredeemably wanting was everything else that I heard and saw! As I went now here, now there, among these people, it seemed to me that human nature had resolved itself into the multifarious species of die animal kingdom.

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