Marginalia, no.10

It was a passion neither of the mind nor of the flesh; rather, it was a force that comprehended them both, as if they were but the matter of love, its specific substance.  To a woman or to a poem, it said simply: Look!  I am alive.

~ John Williams, Stoner

Can love of persons and love of art really be construed as expressions of the same basic force?  Is philanthropy (in the literal Greek sense) a subset of aesthetics – or vice versa?  Elsewhere Williams writes that love is “not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.”  In Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, George Steiner writes that “literary criticism should arise out of a debt of love.”  Can we speak of a basic ecstatic impulse, to know and be known, encompassing all these things?

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