a panharmonicon :

A note of note from David Shields’s Reality Hunger: A Manifesto,  ~ new type of literature as seen by Emerson, 1830,  ~ “a panharmonicon” – in brief, literature that included EVERYTHING… even the “lowest of personal topics” are permissible.

(on that note…is it not intriguing to dip our toes in another’s still waters)

I will end with a recommendation – Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark.

Today was a day for escape. The mind has been a bit full, the heart a bit withered, the blood a bit thin, so, there was a need to create a different vista. CM’s books oft take me to places that remind me of playing make-believe from childhood, when the tree scrub behind the railroad tracks became vast forests in which I traveled far and alone. Outer Dark takes you deep into the woods – the backwoods -where the unthinkable happens – the reader  is never quite prepared for the next page.

The story begs to be read outside, preferably near a deep woods. There really is no such a place around here, so, the dog and I traveled to the next best thing – a small lake. A tiny adventure that left the spirit a bit more calm, but still longing for another vista. Tonight, the book is half done, and I’ve begun to wonder just how deep into the dark of the human psyche McCarthy shall venture. An amazing read thus far…





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  1. I always wonder how good McCarthy is…The Road was great until I thought about it, then it was style with little substance, how does this stand up to comparison?

    • interesting question that I’ve not pondered – McCarthy’s initial appeal is his unique style of brevity that still creates a vast scene. As for “little substance” – guess I would need more info – lack of character development? I’m not a great fiction reader (last genre of choice) so will step lightly, however, as character is less important to me than the affect, McCarthy’s genius (for me) is creating a world that leaves one a bit wiser for entering (if that makes sense). This book is so brief, yet multi-layered, I cannot yet answer until I know how it ends…working a lot of nights this week – so perhaps this weekend will follow up. ~ a

      • to quote myself because I am really vain…honest. ‘Caught up in the book, I really enjoyed it but on reflection, it seems less impressive, with the repetitive nature, lack of direction and the feeling this reader was left with of ‘is that it’?, it does become more style over substance. Like No Country For Old Men, on reflection that too, was just an average thriller. I’m not sure how Mr McCarthy does it but I am still interested in reading more of his stuff, even after what I just typed.’

        I thought I may just be biased against the lack of speech marks but I’ve thought about it quite a lot and just in case I do have The Border Trilogy as well so perhaps that will have the depth I seek.

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