Friday, November 23, 2012

Clouds of Witness Ch 7 cont

Wimsey reminded himself that in so democratic an institution one could hardly expect the assistants to assume that air of superiority which marks the servants in a West End club. For one thing, they would not be such capitalists. In the dining-room below the resemblance to a mission tea was increased by the exceedingly heated atmosphere, the babel of conversation, and the curious inequalities of the cutlery.

The Tower of Babel  forms the focus of a story told in the Book of Genesis of the Bible. According to the story, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar  where they resolved to build a city with a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."

God came down to see what they did and said: "They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withheld from them which they purpose to do." "Come, let us go down and confound their speech." And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, so that they would not be able to return to each other, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel "because God there confounded the language of all the Earth".

The Tower of Babel has often been associated with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, a ziggurat dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Marduk by Nabopolassar, king of Babylonia (c. 610 BC). The Great Ziggurat of Babylon base was square (not round), 91 metres (300 ft) in height, and demolished by Alexander the Great. A Sumerian story with some similar elements is told in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.      

Miss Tarrant secured seats at a rather crumby table near the serving-hatch, and Peter wedged himself in with some difficulty next to a very large, curly-haired man in a velvet coat, who was earnestly conversing with a thin, eager young woman in a Russian blouse, Venetian beads, a Hungarian shawl, and a Spanish comb, looking like a personification of the United Front of the “Internationale.”

The united front is a form of struggle or political organization that may be carried out by revolutionaries or communist political regimes. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organization created by communists in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

According to the thesis of the 1922 4th World Congress of the Comintern: “The united front tactic is simply an initiative whereby the Communists propose to join with all workers belonging to other parties and groups and all unaligned workers in a common struggle to defend the immediate, basic interests of the working class against the bourgeoisie.”

The united front allowed workers committed to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism to struggle alongside non-revolutionary workers. Through these common struggles revolutionaries sought to win other workers to revolutionary socialism. The united front perspective is also used in contemporary and non-Leninist perspectives.   

Lord Peter endeavored to please his hostess by a question about the great Mr. Coke, but was checked by an agitated “Hush!”
                “Please don't shout about it,” said Miss Tarrant, leaning across till her auburn mop positively tickled his eyebrows. “It's so secret.”
                “I'm awfully sorry,” said Wimsey apologetically. “I say, d'you know you're dipping those jolly little beads of yours in the soup?”
                “Oh, am I?” cried Miss Tarrant, withdrawing hastily. “Oh, thank you so much. Especially as the color runs. I hope it isn't arsenic or anything.” Then, leaning forward again, she whispered hoarsely:
                “The girl next me is Erica Heath-Warburton—the writer, you know.”
                Wimsey looked with a new respect at the lady in the Russian blouse. Few books were capable of calling up a blush to his cheek, but he remembered that one of Miss Heath-Warburton's had done it. The authoress was just saying impressively to her companion:
                “—ever know a sincere emotion to express itself in a subordinate clause?”
                “Joyce has freed us from the superstition of syntax,” agreed the curly man.

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in (and with) an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent amongst these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre also includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Joyce was born to a middle class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.

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