Saturday, February 19, 2005

There's a great piece

in this week's New York Review of Books by Gabriele Annan about Richard Wollheim's memoir Germs, a book I must get & read as soon as possible. Here's a taste:

The Waverley novels became the scene of an imaginary life and [Wollheim] would sit on the lavatory as on a throne, being 'a king, King Canute, or a great prince, though also a bard' while he waited for someone to come to wipe his bottom. This phase ended when he was at last allowed to do that for himself; and one of the poker-faced comic high spots in his memoir is the detailed lesson in paper tearing and folding that preceded his new freedom. 'This small incident was probably the greatest increase in personal responsibility that my childhood had in store for me. It is what I think of when I hear moral philosophers discuss responsibility.'

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