Reading while waiting

Just at the moment, I find myself reading the following:

– Evan Connell’s Mrs. Bridge, the film adaptation of which I watched long ago, and which includes a scene that has always stuck in my mind, between Joanne Woodward and her ‘son’, not quite connecting. The novel is now a Penguin Classic, and was trailed in The Guardian a week or so ago, and something made me think now was a good time to read this. The only other thing by Connell I have read is the very wonderful Son of the Morning Star, his reconstruction of the stories surrounding Custer’s Last Stand – I read this inadvertently during a visit home long ago, scouring my father’s bookshelves for something readable. The first page and a half of this are worth reading all on their own.

– A blogpost by Lauren Berlant, on the death of her mother earlier this year, where she takes the risk of ‘theorising’ about something deeply personal. The theme is the idea that her mother ‘died of femininity’, as expressed in various acquired habits of body and mind; and of how relationships like this are mediated by mundane objects of all sorts….

– … which is also a theme of Roland Barthes’ Mourning Diary, notes made over a two year period following the death of his mother. Extracts from this were published in The New Yorker a couple of years ago, but I didn’t take much notice back then. It reads as an episodic critique of a psychoanalytic model of mourning as working through, as temporalising the suffering of loss – the suffering did not dwindle for Barthes, clearly. It’s also a kind of background text to Camera Lucida – the diary exposes the personal feelings behind the analysis of the subjective dimensions of photography presented in that book.

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