“There is a sea of horror lapping at the edges of the everyday world … “
My god. This is stunning.
“I became engulfed not just by the world’s unwellness but, more generally, by its universal pain” …
It’s hard to write about this kind of stuff without seeming melodramatic or maudlin and I give Robert McCrum a lot of credit for trying. Wow:
“Finally, there’s this recognition. Despite the extraordinary progress of medicine, despite all the safeguards we have built into the way we conduct our lives, we are still in the world of our ancestors, when life was characterised by the poets as a sparrow fluttering out of the storm into the brightly lit mead hall, circling through the laughter and the smoke for a moment, before disappearing once more into the dark. Sometimes, when I read these letters, I sense that dark just beyond the window. And I feel grateful to be still alive, in the warmth and the light of summer, out of the storm.”
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