Days Like These

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
8 August 1980

STEPHEN SPENDER,

poet and critic, observes in

his journal:

"When we were with Susan [Sontag] I mentioned the name of a friend who had done many good works. Susan said, "Oh, I remember meeting her once. It struck me that she was extremely boring, and made me wonder why it is that people who do good are so boring." I wonder about the concept of who are boring and who are not boring. People who easily dismiss others as boring are usually judging by the standards of some small, self-admiring group of friends who speak a special language of personalities and gossip. That is what members of Bloomsberry did so well. The most boring thing about Virginia Woolf's Diaries is that she finds nearly everyone outside Bloomsberry boring... Chekhov never found anyone boring. Auden made the distinction between being boring and being a bore. God was not boring but a bore. Beethoven's quartets a bore, but not boring. According to this classification the friend we were discussing is also a bore but not boring."

11 August 1867

ANNA DOSTOEVSKY,

wife of the Russian novelist,

writes in her diary about

their honeymoon in Baden:

"At 11 o'clock Fedya went off to the roulette tables. After having packed his and my trunk, I sat down to write a letter to my mother. When I had finished Fedya returned and said that he had not only lost the 40 francs which I had given him, but had also pawned his ring at Moppert's and had lost that money as well... I wanted to reproach him; but he fell on his knees before me, saying he was a scoundrel, but that all the same I must forgive him. However much I was grieved by the loss of the money, I had to give him 20 francs to redeem the ring. But when he began counting our money, we found we had to pawn my earrings to have enough to take us to Geneva... In 20 minutes he returned home saying he had lost."

Comments