Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The Key to the Problem

Robert Byron (1905-1941), The Road to Oxiana (London: Picador, 1994), pp. 376-377:
This morning at the Legation I met a Colonel Porter who asked what my share in the world's work was. I said I had been looking at Mohammadan architecture.

'Mind you,' he replied, 'I've seen a good deal of Mohammadan architecture one way and another, in Palestine, Egypt, and Persia, and I've given a good deal of thought to the matter. I can tell you the key to the problem if you like.'

'Really. What is it?'

'The whole thing's phallic,' he uttered in a ghoulish whisper.

I was surprised at first to note the influence of Freud on the North-West Frontier, but soon discovered that for Colonel Porter the universe itself was phallic.

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