I had the pleasure of meeting with a handful of students yesterday– first-years in the college, ten of them back-to-back, to discuss their recent papers on Hamlet. As wonderful as these meetings were (I would write ‘thrilling,’ save that I’m afraid of being read as sarcastic), they unsurprisingly wore me out. Home for the night, exhausted, I thought to re-watch J. M. Coetzee’s 2003 Nobel Lecture, “He and His Man” — a characteristically strange and beautiful inversion of Defoe and Crusoe’s relationship which opens up onto questions of intersubjectivity, imagination, the profligacy of thought. Searching for the clip, I came upon new footage (posted just last month) of the following reading at the University of Cape Town. Perhaps because I spent so much of my day on the choreography of Claims / Evidence / Reasons, or, from the other direction, perhaps because the old man of the story is right, to read is to submit, even as the child of the story is right, there are holes between the pages, the stars, the numbers, between each of us and every other, and then perhaps because there’s something of these twin truths in almost every interaction with students . . . Whatever the reason, I find it quite extraordinary.
I find it quite extraordinary, and would love to hear what you think.