Thursday, August 19, 2010

It’s nothing special

Yet more stuff that I should have included in the Noughties book; from the 2000 edition of The Sense of an Ending, by Frank Kermode, who died on Tuesday:
Since most people, one supposes, understand that the connection between apocalypse and millennium is fortuitous, the mildly apocalyptic stir of anxiety or interest induced by the year 2000 is (except for fundamentalists, who in any case are confident that they will be carried off to safety before Armageddon) only a faint, modern, vestige of an older and greater dread, belonging to a vastly different understanding of the world and of time... What we cannot say is that the millennium is somehow more real, more a part of the nature of things, than the apocalypse we dismiss as a fantasy.
Now, as someone who was shot by both sides in the academic wars over structuralism and postmodernism, Prof Kermode took a risk when he so glibly set up reality as being equivalent to “the nature of things”. And I’m not sure whether “most people” – as distinct from most people that he knew socially – gave the whole calendrical coincidence thing much thought. I wonder whether he ever went to the bloody Dome.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Don't think my headache is helping me to process that sentence, but - 'fortuitous'?

Wish these LRB scribes would stop dying.