Literary Saturday: The View From Lycabettus
Published on: April 3, 2010
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  • WigWag

    “Readers of Special Providence and God and Gold don’t have to look to hard to see ways in which that tripartite childhood experience informs both the subject matter of those books…” (WRM)

    I am just curious why “God and Gold” is available for the Kindle (I’ve down-loaded it) but “Special Providence” is not. Will “Special Providence” be available in e-book format anytime soon?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      You will have to check with the publisher; the rights to Special Providence are owned by the Century Fund.

  • Lycabettus — great to have a term for it.

  • fw

    It would be great if Special Providence were available on the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble and Borders. There are still a few of us who like to browse the aisles.

  • WigWag

    If there are any readers out there with some time to kill, let me suggest that you think about your own που στω. What experiences, what encounters ground you in our world? What shapes the angle(s) from which you look out at the passing scene? What does it help you see — and what are some of the things that might be hidden from you because of your characteristic stance?,,, And while no standing point can give a human being the kind of omniscience and all-comprehension that God has, this viewpoint has given me a glimpse of something bigger than itself — and for that I’m grateful. (Walter Russell Mead)

    Speaking of literary Saturday, Mead’s post put me in mind of Joyce’s “Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man.” From page 16 of that book, here is Stephen Dedalus grappling with the some of the same issues that Mead highlights in his post.

    “He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn the names of places in America. Still they were all different places that had different names. They were all in different countries and the countries were in continents and the continents were in the world and the world was in the universe.

    He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written there: himself, his name and where he was.

    Stephen Dedalus
    Class of Elements
    Clongowes Wood College
    Sallins
    County Kildare
    Ireland
    Europe
    The World
    The Universe

    That was in his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written on the opposite page:

    Stephen Dedalus is my name,
    Ireland is my nation
    Clongowes is my dwelling place
    And heaven is my expectation.

    What was the universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began?…It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that. He tried to think what a big thought that must be but he could think only of God. God was God’s name just as his name was Stephen.”

  • Luke Lea

    My own που στω? Well, let’s see. On the one hand, I was born and raised in a provincial corner of Tennessee, where I returned 35 years ago and have lived ever since. Yet I hitchhiked around the world when I was twenty-one just to see if it really was round. Along the way I learned that a back alley in Kabul looks like a back alley in Chattanooga, in fact just like the one that ran behind the house I grew up in. I am an educated man, I suppose, if not as well read as Mead; yet I have spent my whole working life of 40 years in the field of manual labor, with either a shovel or a hammer in my hand. I learned that common people, some of them, are as real as Jesus. And once, while wandering in a graveyard on a summer afternoon, I learned that resurrection strikes like a serpent: that Christ and all his followers walk this earth again in the form of man, if only we had eyes to see them.

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