Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Signpost [last number] +1

There are many different kinds of charm, more than I have described below.

The charm of Lolita is aloof, childish, sarcastic. It is full of mockery and hard-to-reach places. It also has a sort of breathless resignation to the pleasures of adulthood.

The charm of Catherine Moorland is quiet and prudent. It is unthreatening but it also provocative, and it has hard questions for older people.

Elizabeth Bennet has a similar charm, in my opinion. But it is more penetrating and more intelligent and it is capable of anger. I could not imagine Catherine Moorland being really angry.

Dora Copperfield has a different kind of charm altogether. She is all candyfloss and icing. You need to be gentle with her or she will break apart, but in return she will give you pleasures of the gentlest kind.

Imagine each of these charms separately. Then imagine them all together, combined in one person. This person will be sensual and puzzling. She will be sharp and full of youth and full of an intense girlish vexing energy.

And imagine the kind of response this person would get when they took their vexing youthful affection and bestowed it on another person. I venture that the response would be strong and erratic. By turns the person would be calm, complacent, condescending, aloof, suspicious, guarded, amused, surprised, alarmed, affronted, insecure, defensive, thoughtful, warm, admiring, tender, tantalised, wary, adventurous, calm.

These responses would not follow each other in a graded sequence. They would jump around a lot, start again from scratch, repeat themselves. After a while they will settle down into a wary excitement, but even then they will be prone to sudden changes.

All of this may explain why I have not written much on this blog recently. Another explanation is that I have been reading a lot of History of Science; but that explanation is not very interesting. I don't know what I will write on this blog in the upcoming weeks, but I hope it is something.