29 May 2015

My Journey to Borges

I think I can confidently say that I first encountered Borges through William Poundstone’s delightful book, Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles & the Frailty of Knowledge. Knowing of my youthful interest in math and the logic puzzles of Lewis Caroll, my dad introduced me to Labyrinths of Reason when I was probably 12 or 13. Although for some reason I never followed it up until years later, I never forgot Poundstone’s description of Borges’s ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’: 

The best paradoxes raise questions about what kinds of contradictions can occur--what species of impossibilities are possible. Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), whose work appeals to all lovers of paradox, explored many such questions in his short stories. In ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, he describes an encyclopedia, supposedly from another world, created as an elaborate hoax by a group of scholars. Borges’s scholars can even imagine the paradoxes of their fictitious world; so alien is the thinking of ‘Tlön’ that their paradoxes are commonplaces to us. [1] 

Poundstone goes on to quote the Tlönian paradox of the ‘nine copper coins’. I will not reproduce it here, but of course the whole story is worth reading. Poundstone comes back to it in Chapter 10, ‘Meaning: Twin Earth’, where he discusses the mysterious Voynich Manuscript. There he observes: 

The Voynich manuscript is reminiscent of (and conceivably inspired) Borges’s short story ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’. In the story an eccentric millionaire financed a conspiracy of scholars to write an encyclopedia of the imaginary world ‘Tlön’. The first drafts were in English, but the plan was to translate the encyclopedia into Tlön’s (equally imaginary) language and calligraphy, creating a wholly inscrutable work. [2]  
There are other references to Borges in Poundstone--the essay ‘The Analytical Language of John Wilkins’ on pp. 44-5; another essay, ‘Avatars of the Tortoise’, on p. 135; the story ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’ on pp. 160-1; and, with Adolfo Bioy Casares, Extraordinary Tales on pp. 258-9. But I am less certain I actually read these parts as a youth. 

My next encounter with Borges was my freshman year of college. I had my first bookstore job at a tiny little used shop run by a late friend of mine, Bob Cowden, and while I can’t pin it down, at some point during my stint at that shop I read and fell in love with Umberto Eco’s magnificent The Name of the Rose. Of course, nothing about the reference to Borges in Poundstone, even as well as I remembered it, came to me when reading of the blind librarian, Jorge da Burgos, zealous to prevent anyone from reading Aristotle’s lost work on comedy. But when I reached Eco’s ‘Postscript’, printed at the back of the trade paperback translation I read, I found this (spoiler alert): 

The constructed world will then tell us how the story must proceed. Everyone asks me why my Jorge, with his name, suggests Borges, and why Borges is so wicked. But I cannot say. I wanted a blind man who guarded a library (it seemed a good narrative idea to me), and library plus blind man can only equal Borges, also because debts must be paid. And, further, it was through Spanish commentaries and illumination that the Apocalypse influenced the entire Middle Ages. But when I put Jorge in the library I did not yet know he was the murderer. He acted on his own, so to speak. [3] 

I suppose it is possible that it had only been five years since I’d first learned of this Borges from Poundstone, but when I found him in Eco I definitely knew him already as the Argentine author of ‘Tlön’, about an encyclopedia. 

Maybe this was why I found him memorable. I had been a lover of encyclopedias since I could first read. Maybe even longer. I had grown up with 1940s or 50s editions of the World Book Encyclopedias--which I used to pore over exhaustively, following the suggestions for additional articles on a given topic--at the homes of both sets of grandparents. My own parents had a Funk & Wagnalls, which, incidentally, was the first source I consulted to learn about the Orthodox Church (that edition had a fine article by the late Fr John Meyendorff). One of my most treasured possessions now is an eleventh edition Encyclopaedia Britannica--an encyclopedia that Jaroslav Pelikan once called ‘easy...to romanticize’. [4] I can’t help but think that this connection of Borges, not just with libraries, but with an ‘imaginary encyclopedia’, is part of what caused him to stick in my mind. 

I nearly forget to mention that within 6 or 7 years of reading Eco, in Thessaloniki, I became very dear friends with a Greek-Italian-American graduate of St John’s College Santa Fe named Philip Navarro (you’ll find him credited in one way or another in a number of English-language Orthodox publications). Sadly, I have found that dear Philip is a difficult person to stay in touch with, but the years that we spent either in the same city or at least talking frequently on the phone were sufficient for the fellow to acquire his own real estate in my mind. Anyway, this is relevant because Philip was a huge fan of Borges, and made reference to him every once in a while. I sheepishly admitted that I had not actually read him, but I knew that the day must come eventually. 

Nevertheless, it could only have been within about the last 10 years that I finally got round to purchasing something of Borges’s--a Book-of-the-Month Club edition of Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings. And it was probably a few more years after the purchase that I finally read my first actual Borges story, ‘Deutsches Requiem’ (a powerful piece vividly depicting the psychology of an educated Nazi prison camp guard--read it while listening to Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem and try not to weep). It was a few years more before I read any further into Labyrinths

In the end it was the brief little pieces, not quite fiction, not quite essays, that Borges calls ‘parables’ that really drew me in. As an example, I shall post perhaps the briefest one in Labyrinths, ‘Parable of Cervantes & the Quixote’: 

Tired of his Spanish land, an old soldier of the king sought solace in the vast geographies of Ariosto, in that valley of the moon where the time wasted by dreams is contained and in the golden idol of Mohammed stolen by Montalbán.
In gentle mockery of himself, he imagined a credulous man who, perturbed by his reading of marvels, decided to seek prowess and enchantment in prosaic places called El Toboso or Montiel.
Vanquished by reality, by Spain, Don Quixote died in his native village in the year 1614. He was survived but a short time by Miguel de Cervantes.
For both of them, for the dreamer and the dreamed one, the whole scheme of the work consisted in the opposition of two worlds: the unreal world of the books of chivalry, the ordinary everyday world of the seventeenth century.
They did not suspect that the years would finally smooth away that discord, they did not suspect that La Mancha and Montiel and the knight’s lean figure would be, for posterity, no less poetic than the episodes of Sinbad or the vast geographies of Ariosto.
For in the beginning of literature is the myth, and in the end as well. [5] 

Obviously, this is quite simple. It is the briefest observation about Cervantes. It might perhaps even have been stated by someone else in a much less interesting way--in Cervantes’s day, his own time and place were not terribly romantic, whereas 400 years later they are practically the stuff of legend. But in Borges’s hands, it becomes something that awakens the imagination, enchanting the world itself and the books that tell us of it. 

Just a few weeks ago I finally purchased Borges’s Collected Fictions--as I understand it, his complete fiction--and I’ve begun working on it. I did finally read ‘Tlön’ as well as another one, which I think Philip must have told me about, called ‘Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote’. I’ve read nearly all of the short pieces originally published in the 1960 volume, The Maker. I just completed Borges’s homage to H.P. Lovecraft, ‘There Are More Things’. I’ve read a wonderful essay of Borges on Dante, ‘The Divine Comedy’, [6] as well as two lectures by Eco on Borges: ‘Between La Mancha & Babel’ and ‘Borges & My Anxiety of Influence’, both in On Literature. [7] 

I realise all of this is kind of superficial, and not likely to be of much interest to anyone who doesn’t know me. I plan to do a second Borges post wherein I will explore a couple of short pieces in a little more depth. 

[1] William Poundstone, Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles & the Frailty of Knowledge (NY: Anchor, 1988), p. 19. 

[2] Ibid., p. 195. 

[3] Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose, Including the Author’s Postscript, tr. William Weaver (San Diego: Harcourt, 1994), p. 515. 

[4] Jaroslav Pelikan, The Vindication of Tradition (New Haven, CT: Yale, 1984), p. 4. 

[5] Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings, ed. Donald A. Yates & James E. Irby (NY: Book-of-the-Month Club, 1996), p. 242. 

[6] Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Divine Comedy’, tr. Eliot Weinberger, The Poet’s Dante: Twentieth-Century Responses, ed. Peter S. Hawkins & Rachel Jacoff (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), pp. 118-35. 

[7] Umberto Eco, On Literature, tr. Martin McLaughlin (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2004), pp. 104-17, 118-35.

25 May 2015

'Abd al-Rahmān's Palm Tree: An Andalusian Poem

In Jorge Luis Borges's enchanting little story, 'Averroës' Search', about the mediaeval Arab philosopher, I came across the following passage a couple of weeks ago:

'...Time widens the circle of the verses, and I myself know some verses that are, like music, all things to all men. Thus it was that many years ago, in Marrakesh, tortured by memories of Córdoba, I soothed myself by repeating the apostrophe which 'Abd-al-Rahmān spoke in the gardens of al-Rusayfah to an African palm: 

Thou too art, oh palm!,

On this foreign soil... 

'A remarkable gift, the gift bestowed by poetry--words written by a king homesick for the Orient served to comfort me when I was far away in Africa, homesick for Spain.' [1]

Then, last Saturday morning, I awoke with the Doors' song 'Spanish Caravan'--with its lyric, 'Andalusia with fields full of grain'--stuck in my head, and I had to read a bit about Spanish geography. Finally, a grabbed a copy of a book I bought several years ago, Night & Horses & the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature, edited by Robert Irwin, the 6th chapter of which is entitled 'The Lost Kingdoms of the Arabs: Andalusia'. On the second page of that chapter, I read the following, and immediately recalled Borges:

'Abd al-Rahman I (reigned 756-88) made Cordova the capital of the territory of Andalusia. (The Arabic toponym 'Al-Andalus', which probably originally meant 'Of the Vandals', subsequently came to refer to Muslim Spain.) 
'Abd al-Rahman I was himself a poet. The poem which follows was written at Rusafa, his Spanish palace, which he had named after one of the Umayyad palaces in Syria where he had grown up.

A palm tree I beheld in Ar-Rusafa
Far in the West, far from the palm-tree land:
I said: You, like myself, are far away, in a strange land;
How long have I been far away from my people!
You grew up in a land where you are a stranger,
And like myself, are living in the farthest corner of the earth:
May the morning clouds refresh you at this distance,
And may abundant rains comfort you forever!

Nykl, Hispano-Arabic Poetry and its Relations with the Old Provençal Troubadors, p. 18

'Abd al-Rahman's poem about exile and longing was to set a precedent for the many backward- and eastward-looking laments which form a leading theme in Andalusian literature. [2]

[1] Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, tr. Andrew Hurley (NY: Penguin, 1998), p. 240.

[2] Robert Irwin, ed., Night & Horses & the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature (NY: Anchor, 2001), p. 245.

20 May 2015

The Faithful City of Isaiah's Vision

This is a homily I preached at our school chapel last Advent. The text is one I chose, though I don't really remember what led me to it.

‘Afterward thou shalt be called “the city of righteousness, the faithful city”. Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and her converts with righteousness.’

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is fitting as we begin the period of Advent, patiently, or sometimes impatiently, expecting the adventus or coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we look back to the prophecies of the Old Testament that foretell the mighty works He came and will come again to perform. Today’s reading from the prophet may seem to strike a dark note at first, for it concerns the unfaithfulness of the holy city of Zion--Jerusalem. The Prophet Isaiah says the city has become a harlot or adulteress, that she is greedy and without charity or justice. It’s easy to read this and think smugly to ourselves, ‘Wow, those people were bad.’ But we miss the point entirely if we read this prophecy merely as a history of some place in the Middle East thousands of years ago.

For ‘the city’ is us, human beings. This is the Lord’s way of giving us a picture, because we all have some idea of what a city is like, though most of our modern cities are rather poor things. But it is a deeply significant picture. It means human beings are not just individual people, totally separate from each other, but people made for each other. St Chrysostom says, ‘Do you see how many bonds of love God has created? He’s done so as forces of nature lodged in us to be pledges of our peace with one another. We are of the same substance….God made us to need one another...’ [1] Even the great hermit, St Anthony, who spent 30 years in prayer with God alone, says ironically, ‘Our life and our death is with our neighbour’, [2] and because of this teaching, as St Athanasius writes, even ‘the desert was made a city’. [3] We must begin by realising that human beings are all neighbours, we are a family. In a famous book based on this image of ‘the city’, St Augustine writes:

‘And human nature has nothing more appropriate, either for the prevention of discord, or for the healing of it, where it exists, than the remembrance of that first parent of us all, whom God was pleased to create alone, that all men might be derived from one, and that they might thus be admonished to preserve unity among their whole multitude.’ [4]

Thus our first mother Eve was taken out of the side of our father Adam, and the two were given to each other to help one another. But the sin of the Fall has split this familial unity that St Augustine speaks of, and we have become the broken family that St Augustine calls ‘the city of man’. For ‘the founder of the earthly city was a fratricide’--Cain, the murderer of ‘his own brother, a citizen of the eternal city, and a sojourner on earth’. [5]

And thus, as the Prophet says, the city of man has become full of murderers now (1:21)--for Christ says we are all guilty of murder whenever we become angry with our brother or insult him.

The Prophet says the city’s ‘silver is become dross’ (1:22)--which as Matthew Henry says means that moral corruption and injustice in the powerful among society is worse than economic decline. [6]

The Prophet says the city’s ‘wine is mixed with water’ (1:22)--meaning the sweetness and fellowship of human life has become flavourless due to our sin.

The Prophet says that the princes--our leaders--have become rebellious against God--the companions of thieves--defrauding the poor--greedy for profits and bribes--allowing the oppression and exploitation of the powerless--calling the orphans and the widows and the homeless lazy, dishonest, thieves, and drunkards, when it is really the powerful who are all these things. (1:23)

It is this city of which Socrates prophetically warned his pupil Alicibiades, ‘I know the city, and I fear that it shall get the better of both of us’ [7]--of the pupil, because it would seduce him to a life of sin, and of the teacher, because it would put him to death unjustly.

So God says He will ‘avenge’ Him ‘of His enemies’ (1:24). He will say: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.’ (Matt. 25:41-3)

This is the fate of what St Augustine calls ‘the city of man’, and it is depicted well in Dante’s Inferno, where Dante beholds ‘the city they call Dis, / with its great hosts, with its grave citizens’. [8]

But thanks be to God, there is another City, which St Augustine calls ‘the City of God’--because as St John says, when he sees it ‘coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband’ (‘in the purity and virtue of the saints’), it ‘has the glory of God in it’ lightening it more brilliantly than even the sun could do (Rev. 21:2, 11, 23). It is a city of the converts, of the repentant, restored to beauty and order--and love--by the Lord, and thus as St Andrew of Crete writes, ‘This city, which has Christ as its cornerstone, is composed of the saints concerning whom it is written: They shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land (Zech. 9:16)’ [9].

It is a city marked by justice and charity between all, where ‘the love that moves the sun and the stars’ binds everyone together forever. In an essay called ‘The Redeemed City’, the eccentric Anglican man of letters, Charles Williams writes:

In the last paragraph of the Apostles’ Creed the City is defined. ‘I believe in the Holy Ghost’ is its first clause and primal condition….Simultaneously all its citizens derive from all. ‘The Holy Catholic Church’ is its name here, allowing for all proper implications of whatever kind....But the other four clauses are, as it were, the four walls of the description [of St John] in the Apocalypse; or, if the metaphor divides them too much, say they are the four qualities of that life: ‘the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life everlasting’. They are the qualities of the renewed perfection of union--interchange, interchange redeeming even the denial of itself...The almost incredible nature of things is that there is no fact which is not His glory. This is the great inclusion which makes the City. If, to use terms of space, we ascend towards it, it is still that which descends out of heaven, and is the cause and course of our ascent. The language of it is in the great interchange of fiery tongues by which the Spirit manifested at the beginning. [10]

But we mustn’t forget that all of this does not simply happen magically. As the Lord says through His prophet, ‘I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy’ (Is 1:25). We must be purged of our sins and passions, and begin to practice the commandments of Christ if we are to become the City of God. So as we embark upon this journey that will lead us to the little city of Bethlehem, and to worship the great King whose birth is proclaimed with the words ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace towards men of good will’, let us remember to do our part in symphony with His grace to live with justice, to show love towards all in our earthly city here and now, and to comfort the outcasts and afflicted in the streets, so that we may one day behold the heavenly City, where ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Rev 21:4).

For the city of the great King is well planted on the mountains of Sion, with the joy of the whole earth, on the sides of the north. God is known in her palaces, when he undertakes to help her. (Ps 47:2-3 LXX)

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[1] Homily 34.6; St John Chrysostom, The Love Chapter: The Meaning of First Corinthians 13 (Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2010), pp. 78-9.

[2] Apopophegmata Patrum, Anthony 9; Benedicta Ward, SLG, tr., The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, rev. ed. (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1984), p. 3.

[3] Vita Antonii 14; St Athanasius, The Life of Antony & the Letter to Marcellinus, tr. Robert C. Gregg (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1980), pp. 42-3.

[4] De Civitate Dei 12.27; St Augustine, The City of God, tr. Marcus Dods (NY: Modern Library, 1950), p. 410.

[5] De Civitate Dei  15.5; St Augustine, p. 482.

[6] Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible: New One Volume Edition, ed. Leslie F. Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1966), p. 828.

[7] Alcibiades 135e; Plato, ‘Alcibiades’, tr. D.S. Hutchinson, The Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper & D.S. Hutchinson (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), p.

[8] Inferno 8.68-9; Dante Alighieri, Inferno, tr. Anthony Esolen (NY: Modern Library, 2003), p. 81.

[9] In Archbishop Averky, The Apocalypse in the Teachings of Ancient Christianity, tr. & ed. Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) (Platina, CA: St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1998), p. 268.

[10] Charles Williams, The Image of the City & Other Essays, ed. Anne Ridler (London: Oxford U, 1970), p. 110.

19 May 2015

Donald Sheehan & Edith Wyschogrod on Shakespeare & Henry James

This will likely be a short post, largely because I don’t have that much to say on the subject right now, but I’d still like to get it out there for my own benefit at least.

Recently, Xenia Sheehan very kindly had Paraclete Press send me a review copy of The Grace of Incorruption: The Selected Essays of Donald Sheehan on Orthodox Faith & Poetics, a collection of essays by her late husband, Donald, a former professor of English at Dartmouth and director of The Frost Place in New Hampshire. I was thrilled to receive it, having already perused the contents in a pdf she e-mailed me a few months back, but felt a little uncertain of what order I wanted to read it in. To make a long story short, I found myself very soon going to Part One, chapter 6, ‘The Way of Beauty & Stillness: Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale’. [1] It is a truly enlightening essay throughout, and I was excited by Sheehan’s handling, signalled in the title itself, of Archimandrite Vasileios’s lovely bibliaki, Beauty & Hesychia in Athonite Life, as well as the reading of the Bard’s play that is the essay’s raison d’être.

What I wanted to focus on here, however, is a very specific aspect of Sheehan’s perceptive mediation of a dialogue between Winter’s Tale and J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey. He describes the plot of WT in some detail, focusing intently on Paulina’s revelation of the living Hermione to her husband, Leontes, who has believed her dead for 16 years. Sheehan notes that this revelation is a response to, but also, by cultivating a spirit of stillness through beauty, further productive of Leontes’s repentance for his destructive jealousy. He then suggests that the image of ‘the Fat Lady’ that their older brother Seymour has inculcated in Franny and Zooey has taught Franny a similar wisdom born of beauty and stillness:

This wisdom is above all iconic, for it reveals to the beholder--both to Franny and to Leontes--the way of beauty and stillness.

In both Salinger and Shakespeare, this way opens through death: the [feigned] death of Hermione and the [actual] death of Seymour. For in both, death becomes the way in which both Hermione and Seymour can become iconic, and in so doing, they can become for Leontes and Franny the transforming experience of the boundary, that place between the worlds that simultaneously separates and reconciles. As Father Vasileios puts it: ‘To die, to be buried, to depart’ so as ‘to give another the ability to love life’ (Beauty, 9). Here is the light of beauty and stillness that shines in late Shakespeare and Salinger. [2]

This passage immediately recalled for me a book I spent a bit of time with in college--Edith Wyschogrod’s Saints & Postmodernism: Revisioning Moral Philosophy (which I have already blogged about briefly here). In chapter two, ‘Saintly Influence’, ‘Henry James’s novel The Wings of the Dove is treated as hagiographic fiction that illustrates the influence of altruistic action on moral self-interpretation and practice.’ [3] The ‘saint’ of the piece, on Wyschogrod’s reading, [4]  is Millie Theale, a young American heiress suffering from a terminal illness who discovers that the poor Englishman (Merton Densher) she loves is secretly engaged to someone else (Kate Croy) and is only pursuing her in the hopes of getting her money after she dies. Although this plan is conceived by Kate, Densher is induced to persist in the courtship of Millie until his conscience drives him to confess. Already Millie’s kindness and innocence have been operating upon him, and she selflessly encourages him to pursue his true love, Kate. But when she dies, Millie leaves the scheming couple a large bequest to help them get married, despite knowing full well how they had tried to deceive her. While remaining firm in her intent to accept the money, Kate astutely observes, ‘She gave up her life that you might understand her’, and ‘She died for you that you might understand her. From that hour you did.’ [5]

In Wyschogrod’s words, it is here, ‘when the interplay of cynical reason and saintly generosity becomes transparent’, that ‘Densher’s transfiguration occurs’. [6] He renounces the bequest and refuses to marry his calculating fiancee unless she renounces it too. ‘...Millie’s moral practice is now (somehow) repeated in Densher’s life. He has learned a new moral gesture.’ [7] One is tempted to say that whereas for Kate, the ‘wings of the dove’ were Millie’s bequest itself, enabling her and Densher to ‘fly and be at rest’ in their worldly life, for Densher the ‘wings’ were her forgiveness and generosity made manifest in her death by the request, which enable his soul to fly from the mercenary ends he has pursued and ‘be at rest’ inwardly. To use Sheehan’s words, Millie becomes iconic, thereby opening to Densher the way of beauty and stillness. Fr Vasileios’s words, quoted by Sheehan, certainly seem to apply to Millie’s decision:

To die, to be buried, to depart. . . . And yet to have lived and died in such a way that your presence, discretely and from a distance as if a fragrance from someone absent, can give others the possibility to breathe divine fragrance! To grant someone else the possibility of living, of being invigorated, of having the nausea dispelled; to give another the ability to love life, to acquire self-confidence and stand on his own two feet, so that from within him there arises spontaneously a ‘Glory to Thee, O God!’. [8]

Never having read The Wings of the Dove, or Franny & Zooey for that matter, I can’t develop the connections much further without ending up on thin ice, but even this much looks to me like an interesting parallel.

[1] Donald Sheehan, The Grace of Incorruption: The Selected Essays of Donald Sheehan on Orthodox Faith & Poetics, ed. Xenia Sheehan (Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2015), pp. 75-86.

[2] Ibid., p. 85.

[3] Edith Wyschogrod, Saints & Postmodernism: Revisioning Moral Philosophy (Chicago: U of Chicago, 1990), p. 33.

[4] It should be noted that Wyschogrod is well aware that her ‘saint’ is not a traditional one. One reason she notes inter alia: ‘In Jewish and Christian saintly narratives, power ultimately derives from transcendence and is channeled through saintly practice. By contrast, in a novel reflecting its nineteenth-century capitalist provenance, power is derived from wealth’ (ibid., p. 45).

[5] Qtd. in ibid., pp. 46 & 48.

[6] Ibid., p. 46.

[7] Ibid., p. 48.

[8] Archimandrite Vaseileios, Beauty & Hesychia in Athonite Life, tr. Constantine Kokenes (Montreal: Alexander, 1996), p. 11.