A French boy named G that I’ve been spending time with here calls me Helen of Troy. Then, the strongest woman he’s ever met. Then, a knight — not a damsel — in distress. He says I am waiting to stake my sword into a rock. He doesn’t know about the entry (“Time Away: Modern Day Swords”) I posted a couple of weeks ago.
Murder is nearly always understood as an individual event and the criminal justice system reinforces this notion: there is an artifact, a body, that needs accounting for, and the medical examiner measures, weighs, dissects and categorizes the body as to age, race, gender and cause of death. The police scramble to find clues, to discover a likely motive, and then to close the case by making an arrest.
In an effort to be interdisciplinary, and to keep up with the current trend for all things neuroscience, I recently attended a conference in Berlin on neuroaesthetics. One of only two philosophers in the room, I found myself on the receiving end of an incredibly hostile attack after asking a question of the founding guru of the discipline, the neuroscientist Professor Semir Zeki of University College London.
Near the end of Susanna Clarke’s magical history, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, comes a peculiarly chilling scene. A magician named Childermass, riding through a wood festooned with corpses, arrives at the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart.