Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence

I woke up yesterday morning, July 4th Independence Day in the United States, and sort of randomly chose a book off my bookshelf to bring with me into the bathroom. The book was Faust which I haven't read yet but eagerly anticipate getting into. I opened it randomly to the middle and read this great passage (spoken by Mephistopheles) on page 203 of my edition:
The laws and statues of a nation
Are  an inherited disease,
From generation unto generation
And place to place they drag on by degree.
Wisdom becomes nonsense; kindness, oppression:
To be a grandson is a curse.
And it reminded me of Stephen Dedalus' words in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:
When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
And also the recurring idea of Stephen's in Ulysses that "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

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