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I'm currently reading 'On the Heights of Despair' by the Romanian philosopher, E.M. Cioran, and so far, so brilliant. The opening sentence was enough to have me reading onwards: 'Why can't we stay closed up inside ourselves? Why do we chase after expression and form, trying to deliver ourselves of our precious contents or "meanings," desperately attempting to organise what is after all a rebellious and chaotic process?' and this further on, 'There is no authentic lyricism without a grain of interior madness....'
This week's TLS also has two very interesting reviews on Karen O'Brien's Women and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-century Britain, and Stephen C. Behrendt's British Women Poets and the Romantic Writing Community. It never ceases to amaze me just how vibrant and mad the eighteenth century 'feels' (not that I was there, naturally) when compared to the stiff, rigid propriety of the nineteenth, especially when one considers how much was 'cleaned up' by the Victorians, language in particular. A colleague the other day informed me that Love Lane, here in London, was, in the eighteenth century known quite simply as 'Cunt Lane' because it was where women sold their bodies for a few pennies or whatever the currency was, currant buns perhaps!

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