I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Wednesday, June 26, 2024


My AirBnB in North Berkeley has a wonderful garden, lush and half-wild, full of bees and butterflies. And I have been spending a lot of time in it after a bad fall on the sidewalk on Sunday night which left me bruised and a little shaky. I have a lot of reading still to do for my Oxford program next month, and I have found that sitting in the shade in the garden and watching the swallowtails and hummingbirds makes it possible (barely) to wade through the impenetrable thickets of Henry James's prose.

At any rate, I have managed to finish The Turn of the Screw, and am pleased to realize that I still hate it every bit as much as I did when I was younger and much more inclined to decide I liked certain books because I felt that I should rather than because I actually did.

I'm very glad that I never have to try to teach my English students to parse something like this:

It was a pity that I should have had to quaver out again the reasons for my not having, in my delusion, so much as questioned that the little girl saw our visitant even as I actually saw Mrs. Grose herself, and that she wanted, by just so much as she did thus see, to make me suppose she didn’t, and at the same time, without showing anything, arrive at a guess as to whether I myself did!

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