“Aber im tiefsten hat Erasmus immer gewußt, daß dieser Unheilgeist der menschlichen Natur, daß der Fanatismus ihm seine eigene mildere Welt und sein Leben zerstören werde.” from “Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam (German Edition)” by Stefan Zweig

This is a bleak assertion, particularly when considered in the light of contemporary potentialities, such as the clash between the forces of intransigent reaction and those of inelastic neo-puritanical progressivism, each in its way tending toward fanaticism and the false certainty of the “premature synthesis”, each therefore requiring caution. I would march for neither. The poignancy of Zweig’s allusion to the fate of Erasmus’ spirit of tolerance and moderation bears with it the weight of a terrible indictment, when we consider the manner in which all that he, the author, held dear, including life itself, was extinguished by Nazism. LJ

“Tahm”

On reading George Clare’s moving work “Last Waltz in Vienna”, I find myself introduced to the Yiddish term “tahm”, which denotes “the ability to change without apparent effort the commonplace into the superb”, a beautiful notion, I think, deployed by the author with reference to his maternal grandmother, Adele Immerdauer.

Cycling on the Île de Ré

 

The spectacle of poppies growing between the rows of vines at St. Clément des Baleines was arresting in its loveliness. On the right is the harbour at Loix, an enchanting place to stop and contemplate the sea before heading into the village for breakfast.

Tea

My rich tea biscuit has just disintegrated on being dunked, which would be unremarkable but for the immediacy of the said disintegration, which occurred long before the two-second threshold. O me miserum!