Monday, February 16, 2015


The Urge to Replace the Dead

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990), Notebooks, 1922-86, ed. Luke O'Sullivan (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2014), p. 528 (from Notebook 20 (April, 1967), entry 93):
Lampedusa records that the refugees in Palermo from the earthquake in Messina in 1908 were reported to be 'behaving most indecently' when they were billeted in the Palermo theatres, & his father remarking 'they felt the urge to replace the dead.'

I remember as a boy finding an account of the earthquake in a school library & reading that, after the shock had passed & the town lay in ruins, those who had escaped, even strangers, made love together on the hill side, & I remember thinking: how poetic a way to celebrate an escape from death.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?