Zosima-isms/1

This is the lot that befalls you, mothers, on earth. And do not be comforted, you should not be comforted, do not be comforted, but weep. And there is more joy in heaven over one…

People

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts…

Endings/Continuings

The end of Yiddish, except as an academic pursuit or as a final nostalgia, is not at all Kafkaesque. Jewish history has many ironies and countless sorrows, as well as a panoply of cultural achievements…

With Unswerving Steadfastness

Swami Prabhavananda, The Eternal Companion: Brahmananda—His Life and Teachings   A while back, through reading the spiritual works of Christopher Isherwood, I became acquainted with his guru, Swami Prabhavananda, who was a devotee of Brahmananda,…

We, Unsubsidized and Unbridled

And it is my firm conviction that a man can learn more about poetry by really knowing and examining a few of the best poems than by meandering about among a great many. Language is…

Neither Conformism Nor Eccentricity

John Armstrong, Love, Life, Goethe: Lessons of the Imagination from the Great German Poet Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007 Almost twelve years ago I read this book, and the themes of Bildung and mastery were most…

A Call to Life and Deeds: Goethe’s Maxims

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections   Translated by Elisabeth Stopp; edited with an introduction and notes by Peter Hutchinson; Penguin Books, 1998 I’ve been reading Pierre Hadot’s 2008 book, N’oublie pas de vivre:…