Editorial Note 1

by Esteban

Two hundred and fifteen posts into a strange experiment, you may be wondering what is happening here.

These are excerpts from my Writer’s Notebook. I post them to share with likeminded readers, so that you can read over my shoulder as I adventure through the history of great ideas.

The more scholarly among you may be annoyed by my selections. I seek wisdom wherever it may be mined, and I do not respect consensus. Heretics burned at the stake for offending the authorities of their day. Good ideas endure. I am not shy about mining ideas from controversial sources.

Some of you may detect themes emerging from my selections. The beauty of creating a database of excerpts is that they may be tagged, facilitating thematic associations spanning centuries and cultures. I presently read widely on Kabbalah, and I am wading through the staggering corpus left by E.A. Wallis Budge. I Include other excerpts if I find them beautiful. I find forbidden subjects much more satisfying than mainstream scholarship.

I cite sources so that you can locate originals and delve deeper. Most sources that I cite are available free. You just need to search for them. Should you perform such searches, please post the links in the comments. I will integrate them into the posts with gratitude. Likewise with corrections.

One liberty that I take with the excerpts that I post is that I break up long paragraphs to improve readability, or to showcase ideas which may otherwise not stand out.

Without further ado:

“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.”

–T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Prufrock and Other Observations, 1998: Gutenberg Etext #1459.