Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Trains and blue denim

Yesterday I made a literary pilgrimage, due to the kindness of a generous intermediary, to meet one of my great literary heroes: Albert Murray. I blogged last summer about the last installment of his miraculously enjoyable novel sequence, The Magic Keys, and as sometimes happens the blog post made a connection and helped this visit come about.

Mr. Murray is far on in years, but it was extraordinarily moving to hear him range widely over topics American and anthropological and literary and cultural--casually talking of "Duke" and "Count," can you imagine?!?--all with a view towards thinking about education and human potentiality. And then he read out loud to us passages from The Omni-Americans and from Thomas Mann's Joseph and His Brothers which clearly is a book I must read in the near future.

If you were only going to read one of Murray's books, surely it should be The Seven League Boots, which is a stunning novel & one I am eager to read again (but though I've bought two or three copies over the years I always press them on someone who I think must read it, it is an extremely favorite novel of mine).

I will not soon forget the sound of Mr. Murray's voice and the expression on his face as he read and chuckled wheezily at Mann's humorous faux-Biblical incongruities.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is one of the main reasons I read lit blogs at all - to find out about someone whose work I knew absolutely nothing about - and surely must be one of the great pleasures of blogging, to sprinkle a few more drops of water on arid ground. So many thanks.

    And yes, do read the Mann.