Posted by: gdevi | March 3, 2015

Ice Storm

The university closed at 3:30 this afternoon; didn’t help me–my classes were in the morning. I did leave as soon as my German IS meeting was over. We are reading Goethe’s Faust. Faust is not an easy read. To begin with, poetry and verse, not to mention verse drama, is hard for students to read. But my students are doing well. On the one hand, it is easy to mistake Goethe’s Mephistopheles for a ridiculous character and say ha ha etc. But Mephisto’s ridiculousness is a cover. We had a very good discussion today about what does it mean to say that Mephistopheles has become this farcical thing? Faust captures European thought right at the cusp of High Romanticism’s critique of the Enlightenment.  Mephistopheles is not funny at all; he is funny the way Joker is funny or Penguin is funny or American Psycho is funny–it is sociopathic farce. Faust is poised right before the total amoral world of the Existentialists and with Ivan in the Brothers Karamazov who said, “Everything is permitted.” Of course, everything is not permitted, and you have to learn it the hard way. That is what Faust is about. What is the nature, texture, context, face, body, and value of evil when the lines between evil and good have been blurred? How do we recapture evil so we can recognize good again? Thanks for a great discussion about the riff-raff at Auerbach’s tavern, my dear students. I love Goethe and I love Faust. What a great great writer.

I wish I could post the sound of ice falling. Ice has been falling all evening. It is unbelievable. If you open the doors, you will hear this drip drip drip outside of crystallized ice and snow falling like the sky is leaking. I am sure tomorrow will be a delayed opening. I don’t even know who can shovel this stuff? I am so thankful that I didn’t have to drive to Harrisburg today for the meeting with the chancellor; the consortium had its annual meeting with the chancellor scheduled for today. Thank god it was rescheduled. What a skating rink outside.

I miss my mother so much. I wish I were in India with mother. I truly do. I feel so blessed to have been born as your daughter and to have known you. I love you, amma.

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