I guess I’ve reached my intellectual nadir. I’m now too lazy to read anything except mysteries by Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton.
I’ve been a Grafton fan for many years. I love visiting Kinsey Milhonne and her found family in Santa Theresa, California.
I read ‘Double Deuce’ by Robert B. Parker several years ago, one of the Spenser novels that became the television show ‘Spenser for Hire,’ which I’ve never seen.
Then, more recently, I read a couple more Spenser novels, and I was hooked. I love the way Spenser beats the crap out of guys who are used to beating up people weaker than they are. I read ten of them.
But then the Whately Antiquarian Book Center was out of Spenser novels, and there I was in Barnes and Noble, paying seven bucks for paperbacks. For a tag sailor like me that was truly ignominious.
Spenser is a big tough guy with a sexy psychiatrist girlfriend, and he’s always making these obscure literary allusions that he doesn’t explain. You have to Google them, which is tremendous fun.
There’s lots of Shakespeare, of course, and Alexander Pope, and Keats and Shelley and people like that.
Then, in ‘Thin Air,’ Spenser’s sexy psychiatrist girlfriend, Susan Silverman, whom I always picture as Sarah Silverman, alludes to ‘The Wound and the Bow,’ a book by my grandmother’s cousin, Edmund Wilson, known in the family as Cousin Bunny.
A quick Google search found this article by Lee Siegel in the New Yorker in 2013:
“Edmund Wilson wrote a famous book called ‘The Wound and the Bow,’ in which he explored the way artists react against a personal weakness and turn it into a creative blessing.
“The book’s title refers to the legendary Greek archer Philoctetes, who was afflicted with a festering, malodorous wound that would not heal, yet whose prowess with his bow was crucial in the Greek victory at Troy.”
Philoctetes’ wound smelled so bad — even in an open boat! — that his shipmates marooned him on an island in the Aegean, and then they had to come back and get him later.
“For Wilson, the myth demonstrated the idea of, as he wrote, ‘superior strength as inseparable from disability.’
“You think of D. H. Lawrence, the fiery apostle of liberated sexuality, who was plagued by sexual impotence. Or the reckless adventurer and seducer Lord Byron, born with a club foot. Or the deaf Beethoven, or the blind Goya…
“As Malraux, the Resistance hero, adventurer, diplomat, and novelist, who is said to have suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, once wrote: ‘Man is not what he thinks he is; he is what he hides.'”