Clinging to wipe out
Warning: this review contains jokes about the inner circle of literary fem joy.
As Monomania (2005) by Marina Van Zuylen is not a book in which a question about a person becoming a man could be exalted as a serious question, it still pictures a character who asserts:
You must be a doctor!
As America faces a medical surge with millions of Americans approaching retirement within the next twenty years, it faces the collapse of a system in which doctors were responsible for determining what must be done as individuals approach death. Alice James escapes from her monstrous mass of subjective sensations when a doctore discovered that she had a lump that brings about death as the "solid emblem of a perverse kind of achievement." (p. 120). Social systems cling to dramatic forms of behavior for reasons that I associate with the book Games People Play by Eric Berne, M.D. Elias Canetti is an author who is pictured as ordering his "troops" by intellectual activity. Religion has made expectation of a "new immortal self" (p. 145) establishing universal harmony such a common feature of literary life that The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann is used to illustrate:
What with Doctor-God,
and the pharmaceutical Eucharist,
the hospital is organized like a church. (p. 129).
The index of Monomania does not mention John Locke, but his kind of abstraction is a basic theme of George Eliot's novel Middlemarch in which "Casaubon's flight from the world" (p. 105) is an opposite to:
Reality, to Dorothea,
is synonymous with suffocation,
so to free herself from it,
she must passionately embrace
the most abstract of ideas
and live in the most otherworldly
of environments. (p. 109).
When Dorothea is quoted:
"Celia! He is one of the most
I ever saw. He is remarkably
like the portrait of Locke.
He has the same deep eye-sockets." (p. 117).
My own concern with rage recognition in a society filled with indignation that produces, by far, the greatest sense of monstrosity that has ever been able to picture a coming collapse of unsustainable surges, tries to read in Monomania a reflection on partisan objectives as the future shifts and shuffles continuously, and perhaps more so and faster from now on than ever before. The greatness of the vocabulary that has been produced creating our medical surge in mental maladies applies so fully to ideas like:
Just as physical beauty is trivial,
so is any type of emotion
that gives immediate sensual elation. (p. 118).
Book culture allows "an extraordinary voyage from abstraction to empathy, from the ideal to the real" (p. 119) to bring people to the polyphonic quality of life in which few things that are written down go as fast as things happen in a good Beatles song.