Monday 10 April 2017

Something of a Disappointment

Quite obstinately, I prefer the stately dance of reason to any conclusion more rapidly arrived at, however persuasive the display ... And so difficult is this prejudice to shake off that I now look upon myself as one of those unfortunates who have lost their faith but are still unable to recant...
TLS, 5 October 1984
Kitty Maule [in Providence] says about Romanticism that in certain situations reason doesn't work, and that's the most desolating discovery of all.
Haffenden interview, Novelists in Interview, 1985
If only he could fall in love again! Only in that climate of urgency could he make decisions ... He was left with reason, which, at his stage of life, would propel him in directions which were uncertain, and which he would have to negotiate alone.
Strangers (2009), Ch. 15
Against his expectations the age of reason was proving something of a disappointment.
Ibid., Ch. 20

Reason and Romanticism: a key Brooknerian binary. That reason might have as many limitations as its obverse is plain from the start: Brookner knows she has 'lost her faith'; she knows reason 'doesn't work' always. Years later, in Strangers, she's still revolving these conflicts round and round, and their irresolution keeps her project potent and viable, and could have kept it going indefinitely.

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