Summer with Austen

I typically summer with Jane Austen.  I am re-reading Persuasion, next to Mansfield Park my favorite of the novels.  But I am also reading Stuart Tave’s brightly commanding Some Words of Jane Austen–one of the best books I have ever read, not just on Austen, but period.  It is a book that could only be written after long, exacting immersion in Austen, but also only after long, exacting immersion in the moral art of common life.  What a book!

Some Words of Jane Austen (Phoenix Books) - Stuart M. Tave

Summer’s the Worst (Video)

Something light and cool and bittersweet as the wet electric blanket of the Alabama summer enwraps us.

And, yes, I’ve posted a different video of this song before, at the beginning of another summer.  Hard to know the song, live here and not hear it in your head as summer descends.

Whitman–Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances (Poem)

Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all – that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only,
May-be the things I perceive – the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night – colors, densities, forms – May-be these are, (as doubtless they are,) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known;
(How often they dart out of themselves, as if to confound me and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aught of them;)
May-be seeming to me what they are, (as doubtless they indeed but seem,) as from my present point of view – And might prove, (as of course they would,) naught of what they appear, or naught any how, from entirely changed points of view;
To me, these, and the like of these, are curiously answer’d by my lovers, my dear friends;
When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long while holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom – I am silent – I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that of identity beyond the grave;
But I walk or sit indifferent – I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

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