Poland, theater

Of course we were pretentious–what is youth for?

Off to the university library for some Polish class homework. One of the pleasures of a new city is navigating the different routes to your destination; I’m not at the point yet that I know the best routes from hither to thither, so I try new buses and things. The 118, the 503, the 105, the 128…

The library has a cafe on the ground level where you can get a cup of tea for 4 PLN and a bowl of soup for 5. (Again, divide by 3 for USD.) I’ll camp out there and do review homework until class this evening.

This morning, organizing logistics for some upcoming interviews with people, and realizing my October and November are getting quite full. In the next four weeks, I’ll be going to Wroclaw twice, Krakow once, and Lublin once. I was trying to make a list of available evenings in Warsaw when I could conduct an interview, and was surprised to only have a handful of them.

Later tonight, I’m going to go to a party at the house of a friend of a friend, in a hitherto-unvisited neighborhood, near the Muranow metro stop.

Julian Barnes wants to take over for a bit here:

Of course we were pretentious—what else is youth for? We used terms like “Weltanschauung” and “Sturm und Drang,” enjoyed saying “That’s philosophically self-evident,” and assured one another that the imagination’s first duty was to be transgressive. Our parents saw things differently, picturing their children as innocents suddenly exposed to noxious influence. So Colin’s mother referred to me as his “dark angel”; my father blamed Alex when he found me reading The Communist Manifesto; Colin was fingered by Alex’s parents when they caught him with a hard-boiled American crime novel. And so on. It was the same with sex. Our parents thought we might be corrupted by one another into becoming whatever it was they most feared: an incorrigible masturbator, a winsome homosexual, a recklessly impregnatory libertine. On our behalf they dreaded the closeness of adolescent friendship, the predatory behaviour of strangers on trains, the lure of the wrong kind of girl. How far their anxieties outran our experience.

– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011)

This particular quote makes me realize there are some similarities in Barnes’s project in this book to that of Donna Tartt in The Secret History. Intellectual coming-of-age and corruption. But Barnes, unlike Tartt, leaves the young people behind quickly to go to looking back at them from the point of view of an older character.

There you have it. I really liked The Sense of an Ending. I could read the entire thing over again, right now.