A letter

Dear Marc, David and Cormac,
In your books you make a connection to one another, directly and indirectly. Firstly, in the Epilogue of ‘non-places, introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity’ by Marc Augé, 1992 there is a reference to the novel ‘Small World’ by David Lodge.
“A few years ago the talented British novelist David Lodge published a modern version of the quest for the Holy Grail, a novel set with effective humour in the cosmopolitan, international and narrow world of academic linguistic and semiological research”.
In ‘Small World’ by David Lodge, 1984, on page 84 of the 2011 Vintage publication, Lodge writes,  “The paper must be finished soon, for Morris Zapp has asked to see a draft before accepting it for the conference, and on acceptance depends the travel grant which will enable Rodney Wainwright to fly to Europe this summer (or rather winter), to refresh his mind at the fountainhead of modern critical thought, making useful and influential contacts, adding to the little pile of scholarly honours, distinctions, achievements, that may eventually earn him a chair at Sydney or Melbourne. He does not want to grow old in Cooktown, Queensland. It is no country for old men”.
Cormack McCarthy wrote ‘No Country For Old Men’ in 2005, making the same quotation as Lodge, from the first line of the first stanza in ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ by W.B. Yeats, 1926.

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

There would be a thousand links made by others from these beginnings but it is these that come to my ear and eye, from far to near. Yeats wrote this when he was sixty’ish, so the entertainment of old age is a process of becoming older, but not old. I could make the golden bird on the golden bough that appears in the fourth stanza, it has a place at this point in time, where I had been wondering how something modelled and cast could co-exist with my recent work on human ecology.

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