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Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Sober Saturday Insight

Initially, I congratulated myself for understanding the offhand references the author made to Gore Vidal, Oskar Schindler, Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the glow wore off soon after as I realized that had I read this novel upon its 1988 release, I would have recognized only the first of those three names.

Though I think of myself as a reasonably well informed sixty six year old, I can recall having a similar opinion of myself at thirty nine. Yet in 1988, Schindler and Wittgenstein would have sailed over my head, blissful ignorance intact, my sense of my intelligence at the time untouched. And, had I noticed those names instead of skimming over them, I likely would have been distanced or defensive or annoyed or possibly all three at once.

So, what might I be missing in the contemporary literature I'm reading? And when reading a 2016 novel in 2036, what will I be congratulating myself for having learned over the last twenty years?    

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