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Love and its Critics

 | 
Michael Bryson
, 
Arpi Movsesian

Epilogue. Belonging to Poetry: A Reparative Reading

Texte intégral

  • 1 Sontag, 7.
  • 2 Martin Paul Eve. Literature Against Criticism (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2016), 26, https:// (...)
  • 3 Felski, The Limits of Critique, 47.
  • 4 Ibid., 47.
  • 5 Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schleifer. Criticism and Culture: The Role of Critique in Modern Litera (...)

1Over fifty years ago, Susan Sontag described “the project of interpretation” as “largely reactionary, stifling”, and placed it in the context of “a culture whose […] dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect at the expense of energy and sensual capacity”, before concluding that “interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art”.1 The situation does not seem to have improved in the intervening half-century. As Martin Paul Eve has very recently observed, “traditional literary criticism always coerces texts into new narrative forms”, as “its practitioners [read] to seek case studies suited for exegetic purpose”.2 To come back to the observation with which this book began, one of the great shocks caused by reading love poetry alongside the work of its critics, is just how often the critics seem hostile to poetry, while aligning themselves with the very systems of power and authority poetry has tried to resist. Literary critics immersed in what Rita Felski calls the “institutionally mandated attitude” of an “institutionalized suspicion” are part of a system of authoritative and authoritarian cultural practices that are “diffused throughout society via the legal and executive branches of the modern state”.3 Inspiring “surveillance, investigation, interrogation, and prosecution”,4 such criticism is the ethos of a prestige-driven elite claiming it “terrorizes received ideas”,5 while too often identifying with (or at least cooperating with) the systems of privilege and power it pretends to expose.

  • 6 Henry Giroux. Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014), 16–17.
  • 7 Empson. “Rescuing Donne”, 159.
  • 8 Ibid., 152.
  • 9 Sedgewick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, 150–51. Sedgwick’s discussion has el (...)
  • 10 Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media ( (...)
  • 11 The findings of the infamous Milgram and Zimbardo experiments of the 1960s and 1970s have been upda (...)
  • 12 Eric Anthony Grollman recently addressed this problem from the perspective of gender norms in the A (...)
  • 13 Chomsky, 13 Nov 1995.
  • 14 Noam Chomsky. The Common Good (Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1998), 43.

2At a time when we are facing “the near-death of the university as a democratic public sphere”, while caught in a situation in which “cynicism, accommodation, and a retreat into a sterile form of professionalism”6 have become the coins of the realm, our poetry cannot be left to what Empson once called the “habitual mean-mindedness of modern academic criticism”.7 As Felski maintains, “[l]iterary studies sorely needs alternatives” to a style of criticism that traces “textual meaning back to an opaque and all-determining power, while presuming the critic’s immunity from the weight of this ubiquitous domination”.8 We need a criticism that practices what Eve Sedgwick refers to as reparative reading, which teaches “the many ways in which selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture—even a culture whose avowed desire has often been not to sustain them”.9 This is especially true now, in a Western world where so much of modern life is structured around obedience, a world in which, as Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky argue, the governing model is to “manufacture consent” in the various populations whose compliance is being demanded. In describing the “propaganda model” of the mass media, Herman and Chomsky outline “the rewards that accrue to conformity and the costs of honest dissidence” as well as the “considerations that tend to induce obedience”10 at all levels of our society.11 This includes academia,12 where what Chomsky refers to as “the self-selection for obedience that is […] part of elite education”13 influences the discourse and defines its possibilities and limits, “strictly limit[ing] the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow[ing] very lively debate within that spectrum”.14

  • 15 Fish, “Masculine Persuasive Force: Donne and Verbal Power”, 223.
  • 16 Kiernan Ryan, “King Lear”, 377.

3The reparative reading Sedgwick called for might, if put into practice, be able to give us a new relation to poetry, provide us a chance to hear the voices of the poets again, bring their music to the fore, and unearth it from beneath a century-long avalanche of modern criticism, much of which has insisted on its primacy over poetry. Those of us who teach, study, and write about poetry are enmeshed within a more than two-thousand-year-old tradition of suspicion-based stances toward literature, and since the rise of theories that posit the non-referentiality of language, the irrelevance of the artist, and the primacy of the critic, that tradition has been contributing to poetry’s demise in a world that may need poetry now more than it ever has. But in an age in which criticism has long been enamoured of the idea that texts are deceptive, what potential for resistance does poetry have? What power can it have when so many of its critics seem dedicated to the idea that poetry must be approached through what Fish calls “the pleasures of diagnosis”15 and what Kiernan Ryan decries as “the diagnostic attitude”16 that has swept through literary studies? In such an environment, what is left of passion and desire, not only in poetry, but in its interpretation?

4We might begin to address that question by taking our cue from a writer of both poetry and criticism. In an August 16, 1890 letter to the editor of The Scots Observer, Oscar Wilde noted that while “the critic has to educate the public”, the responsibility of the artist is different, for “the artist has to educate the critic”.17 In that observation there is something crucial that contemporary academic criticism sometimes seems to have forgotten: artists respond to art differently than do critics (especially of the university-trained and theoretically-inclined variety). Wilde, who made a point in his work of exploring both sides of that dynamic (especially in such essays as The Decay of Lying and The Critic as Artist), is not favoring one over the other, but recommending a synthesis of approaches to experiencing, understanding, and commenting upon art. The ideas this approach leads to in his writing are not often of the sort likely to be welcome in modern criticism, as for example, his connection between life and art and his emphasis on the individual artist behind the work: “[t]he longer one studies life and literature, the more strongly one feels that behind everything that is wonderful stands the individual”.18 Reparative reading might well give us an opportunity to reincorporate both aspects of Wilde’s statement into our critical practices—the reconnection of literature to life (not regarding literature as purely self-referential after the fashion of Blanchot and others), and the reconnection of that literature to the individual writer and reader. This reparative reading, as imagined here, does not advocate a prescriptive method of reading, or lay down rules for what one must or must not see, hear, and feel in poetry and other forms of literature. But in the twin spirit of Sontag and Wilde, it suggests a defense of poetry, and in Sontag’s terms, a less revenge-driven relation between the intellect and art, less driven by the hermeneutics of suspicion which often seems to triumph over texts rather than explore them or explain them. Such a reading practice suggests that now and then critics might do well to be educated by the artist, rather than the theorist—and that works of criticism, this one included, might do well to recover a sense of the passions of poetry, and what Sontag refers to as the “energy and sensual capacity” of art and life.

5That sensual energy is still with us, and is amply represented in a wide variety of modern literature, across multiple genres and languages. It appears in places like the poetry of Aleksandr Pushkin, who, though most famous for his long-form works such as Evgeny Onegin (Евгений Онегин) and Boris Godunov (Борис Годунов), also wrote a number of powerful shorter poems. “When in My Embrace” (“Когда в объятия мои”), from 1830, is filled with the frustrated eros often found in the troubadour albas, where the lovers are threatened with separation by a jealous husband and the coming of the dawn. But in Pushkin’s poem, something even more forbidding separates the lovers: their own doubts. The poem shows us the painful regrets experienced by a lover who is abashed before his beloved, filled with a sense of his own guiltiness and unworthiness before a woman whom he imagines as recalling previous betrayals by men such as himself:

  • 19 Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin. “Когда в объятия мои”. In Sobranie sochinenii, Vol. 2, 294, http://rv (...)

Когда в объятия мои
Твой стройный стан я заключаю
И речи нежные любви
Тебе с восторгом расточаю,
Безмолвна, от стесненных рук
Освобождая стан свой гибкой,
Ты отвечаешь, милый друг,
Мне недоверчивой улыбкой;
Прилежно в памяти храня
Измен печальные преданья,
Ты без участья и вниманья
Уныло слушаешь меня
Кляну коварные старанья
Преступной юности моей
И встреч условных ожиданья
В садах, в безмолвии ночей.
Кляну речей любовный шепот,
Стихов таинственный напев,
И ласки легковерных дев,
И слезы их, и поздний ропот.19

When in my embrace,
I enclose your shapely form,
And in a gentle voice of love
I delightfully praise you,
Silently, from my shy arms
By skillfully disentangling your figure,
You answer, sweet friend,
Smiling at me distrustfully;
Keenly kept in your memory,
The betrayal of sad devotion,
You, without sympathy and attention,
Are sadly listening to me…
I curse my subtle schemes,
My youthful crimes,
And my arranged meetings, waiting
In gardens, in the silence of night.
I curse the speech of love’s whispers,
Poems with mysterious melodies,
And the caresses of credulous maidens,
And their tears, and their murmurs.

6Though there is a note here of the unachievable beloved found in Dante and Petrarch, the lady is all-too-human, unachievable not because of her demi-divine status, but because of her distrust, and the self-doubts of a lover keenly aware of his own past and potential dishonesty. No authority, divine or otherwise keeps the lovers apart, except for the promptings and warnings of their own hearts. Pushkin’s poem speaks to an older tradition of poetry, and is informed by it, while transforming and internalizing its themes of separation and loss. Here, we have an initial clue as to what at least one kind of reparative reading practice might look like: reading those older poets can help us understand Pushkin, and reading Pushkin can help us understand them in turn.

7We can see a further indication of what such a reading practice might look like by turning to Pablo Neruda’s “I Can Write the Saddest Verses Tonight” (“Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche”), poem 20 from his 1924 collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair (Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada). Neruda’s verse laments a loss of love so affecting and so powerful that it feels like the tearing away of one’s own soul:

  • 20 Pablo Neruda. “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche”. In Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Ca (...)

Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.
La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.
[…]
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.
Porque en noches como esta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.
Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa,
y éstos sean los últimos versos que yo le escribo.
20

My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitens the same trees,
But we, who were then, are no longer the same.
[…]
Love is so short, and forgetting is so long.
Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
My soul has no peace, having lost her.
Although this be the last pain that she causes me,
and these the last verses that I write.

8The voice in Neruda’s poem—a lover who cannot seem to let go of the memories and regrets that revolve around the loss of love, the loss of a woman, and the peace of soul that came with her presence—can help us understand the Adam that Milton’s critics would have choose God over Eve. Despite the vast differences between the poems in terms of their language, their time of authorship, and their place of origin, these poems speak to each other, and each speaks to us about the other. But they are not poems that speak only of other poetry. The key is, that they are poems that speak to us. They speak to and about poetry, yes; but more importantly, they speak about life, about human beings and our loves, losses, passions, and desires. That such a point has to be made at all, is a testament to how long it has been since we have truly been able to hear poetry over the urgent clamor of a suspicion-based criticism.

  • 21 Paradise Lost 9.959.

9In learning to hear the poets again, one of the most important things we might begin to recover now is a practice of reading poetry, not through academic criticism, but through other poetry. Reading Milton through Neruda gives us an entirely different perspective on Adam’s choice. As Adam expresses it to Eve, “to lose thee were to lose myself”,21 and as Neruda writes “love is so short, and forgetting is so long”—such poetry teaches us to imagine the weight and sadness of what happens after choosing God over Eve, after losing the love one once held in one’s arms, finding her impossible to forget, and living with the regrets and loneliness across the seemingly-endless years. That empathy, that creative sympathy, is where the “energy and sensual capacity” of poetry, and the courage to commit to a reparative reading practice, might yet be found.

  • 22 In Stalinist Russia, only one form of literature was allowed to be written and published: socialist (...)

10It can also be found in serious tales of fantasy, as in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita (Мастер и Маргарита). A story of black magic, love, and the triumph of art, written between 1928 and 1940 as a gesture of defiance against the Stalinist norms of Soviet Socialist Realism (a form of literary criticism raised to the level of state power),22 Bulgakov’s novel stands up powerfully against the forces hostile to poetry. In a scene at once comic and profound, the value of life and all its passions is voiced by the Devil, as he speaks to the severed head of a disdainful literary critic named Berlioz who is about to find out that his options were not quite so narrow as he had believed:

  • 23 Вы всегда были горячим проповедником той теории, что по отрезании головы жизнь в человеке прекращае (...)

You have always been an ardent preacher of the theory that cutting off a man’s head ends his life, and then he turns into ashes and goes into non-being. […] Each will be given according to his faith. Yes, it comes true! You will go into non-being, and happily, from the cup of your transformation, I will drink to being.23

  • 24 Эх я, дурак! Зачем, зачем я не улетел с нею? Чего я испугался, старый осел! […] Эх, терпи теперь, (...)

11And in a scene more wistful than comic, Bulgakov gives us the reflections of a man who once had the chance to choose love and passion, but chose as Milton’s critics would have his Adam choose, and passed them by from fear of disobedience: “Oh, I am a fool! Why, why didn’t I fly away with her? What was I afraid of, old ass! […] Suffer it now, old cretin!”24 This twentieth-century Russian novel, and that seventeenth-century English epic poem also speak to one another, and to us, and the fire that burns in them both is the energy and sensuality of an art that is very much connected to life.

  • 25 As Amila Buturovic notes, Qābbanī’s poetry was immediately regarded as blasphemous by the clerical (...)
  • 26 For a fascinating example of this stance toward Qābbanī’s work, see Bacem A. Essam. “Nizarre Qabban (...)

12But the spirit of poetry as resistance, of literature as the medium through which love is expressed and received in defiance of the critical, theological, and political authorities who would (and still do) censor it, is even more memorably captured by Nizār Qābbanī, the twentieth-century Syrian poet whose entire body of work served as an act of defiance against those who would channel, reformulate, and control poetry, passion, and human desire,25 from the governments that banned his work, to the academic and theological critics who still regard his poetry with disdain and disapproval.26 For Qābbanī, poetry and love were the only laws of life:

  • 27 Nizār Qābbanī. “Love Letter 71”. Arabic text published in Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementia R. Brown (...)

يوم تعثرينَ على رَجُل
يقدر أن يحوّل كلَّ ذرَة من ذرّاتكِ
..إلى شِعْرْ
ويجعل كلَ شَعْرة من شَعَراتكِ .. قصيدة
..يوم تعثرين على رَجُل
_ يقدر _ كما فعلتُ أنا
..أن يجعلك تغتسلينَ بالشِعرْ
..وتتكحّلين بالشِعرْ
..وتتمشّطين بالشِعرْ
..فسوفَ أتوسّلُ إليكِ
..أن تتبعيه بلا تردّد
..فليس المهمّ أن تكوني لي
وليس المهمّ .. أن تكوني له
المُهِمُّ .. أن تكُوني للشِعرْ27

  • 28 Translated by Modje Taavon.

The day you find a man
Who can transform your every atom
Into Poetry,
And who turns each strand of your hair into a poem,
The day you find a man
Who can — as I did —
Make you bathe in Poetry,
Line your eyes with Poetry,
Comb your hair with Poetry,
Then I will beg you
To follow him without hesitation.
It doesn’t matter that you belong to me,
And it doesn’t matter that you belong to him.
What matters… is that you belong to Poetry.
28

  • 29 Walter Isaacson. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), 459.

13The poet’s final words are the key: belonging to poetry is feeling it inside oneself, feeling its music flowing through and over and around oneself. It is knowing eros as desire and joy. It is seeing life through art, and art through life. It is the passion in the Song of Songs, the troubadours, and Donne, the humor in Chaucer, the carpe diem ethos in Herrick, the empathy in Shakespeare, Milton, and Pushkin, the sadness in Neruda, and the irreverent joy in Ovid and Bulgakov. Those feelings are the very core of the human spirit that we might still hope poetry, and all forms of literature, can help us recover and defend. But whether that spirit of belonging to poetry will survive, in this era of renewed and intensified demands for obedience to the dictates of political and cultural authority, is up to all of us, not our theologians, philosophers, politicians, or literary critics. It is up to ordinary readers, everyday men and women who will act in the spirit hoped for by Benjamin Franklin. After the Constitutional Convention of 1787, “an anxious lady named Mrs. Powel” asked, “What type of government […] have you delegates given us?” Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it”.29 What the poets have given us is Love.

14If only we can keep it.

Notes

1 Sontag, 7.

2 Martin Paul Eve. Literature Against Criticism (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2016), 26, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0102. Emphasis added.

3 Felski, The Limits of Critique, 47.

4 Ibid., 47.

5 Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schleifer. Criticism and Culture: The Role of Critique in Modern Literary Theory (New York: Longman, 1991), 2.

6 Henry Giroux. Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014), 16–17.

7 Empson. “Rescuing Donne”, 159.

8 Ibid., 152.

9 Sedgewick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, 150–51. Sedgwick’s discussion has elicited a great deal of commentary, an interesting amount of which seems dedicated to using a suspicion-based style of reading to claim that her argument means something other than it might otherwise appear. Heather Love’s article, “Truth and Consequences: On Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading” (Criticism, 52: 2 [Spring 2010], 235–41) is an excellent recent example of that trend. Love describes Sedgwick’s article as “an act of aggression […] that endlessly produces its own bad objects”, readers who feel “personally” accused of being the type of critic “who picks up paranoid habits of mind as critical tools or weapons but is detached from the living contexts in which these frameworks were articulated” (236). Love deftly manages both to praise and bury Caesar all at once, arguing for the utility of a non-reparative reading of Sedgwick’s call for a reparative reading practice. The long tradition of suspicion-based criticism will not, it seems, go down without a fight.

10 Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2011), 305.

11 The findings of the infamous Milgram and Zimbardo experiments of the 1960s and 1970s have been updated by Halsam and Reicher in 2012. Where Milgram and Zimbardo portray their subjects as cooperating passively with authority, even when given instructions that seem malevolent in nature, Halsam and Reicher conclude that subjects will obey eagerly and actively, no matter the instruction, as long as they “actively identify with those who promote vicious acts as virtuous” (S. A. Haslam and S. D. Reicher (2012) “Contesting the ‘Nature’ Of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo’s Studies Really Show”, PLoS Biol 10[11]: e1001426, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001426).

12 Eric Anthony Grollman recently addressed this problem from the perspective of gender norms in the American academy, arguing that “academic training is about beating graduate students into submission and conformity”, especially over the issue of self-presentation: “professional (re)socialization of graduate school is centrally a task of eliminating passion, love, creativity and originality from would-be scholars’ lives—or at least presenting ourselves as detached, subdued, conforming” (Eric Anthony Grollman. “Gender Policing in Academe”. Inside Higher Education, https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2016/07/29/academypolices-gender-presentation-scholars-essay). Joseph Katz noted some forty years ago that the academy “give [s]lip service to the value of originality, while in fact expecting products that conform rather strictly to specific canons of inquiry, schools of thought, and the personalities of the people on examining committees” (“Development of Mind”. In Scholars in the Making: The Development of Graduate and Professional Students [Cambridge, MA, Ballinger, 1976], 124). And as A. W. Strouse poignantly notes, “[t]he profession is a closet that shuts up doctoral students and makes [them] write in prose rather than in poetry” (“Getting Medieval on Graduate Education: Queering Academic Professionalism”. Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, 15: 1 [2014], 124, https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2799260).

13 Chomsky, 13 Nov 1995.

14 Noam Chomsky. The Common Good (Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1998), 43.

15 Fish, “Masculine Persuasive Force: Donne and Verbal Power”, 223.

16 Kiernan Ryan, “King Lear”, 377.

17 The Scots Observer, 4: 91, 332, https://books.google.com/books?id=94oeAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA332

18 Oscar Wilde. “The Critic as Artist”. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1994), 1021.

19 Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin. “Когда в объятия мои”. In Sobranie sochinenii, Vol. 2, 294, http://rvb.ru/pushkin/01text/01versus/0423_36/1830/0532.htm

20 Pablo Neruda. “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche”. In Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada (Bogotá and Barcelona: Editorial Norma, 2002), 45–6, ll. 20–22, 28–32.

21 Paradise Lost 9.959.

22 In Stalinist Russia, only one form of literature was allowed to be written and published: socialist realism. The Soviet government required complete acceptance of sanctioned forms of Marxist ideology […]. Early Soviet policies regarding literature were shaped by the ideas of Andrei Zhdanov, who believed that literature had a powerful influence over readers, claiming at the first Soviet Writers’ Congress that socialists were writing “a literature which has organized the toilers and oppressed for the struggle to abolish once and for all every kind of exploitation”. As a consequence, Zhdanov was wary of literature that might encourage dissenting views.
Ilona Urquhart. “Diabolical Evasion of the Censor in Mikhail Bulgakov’s
The Master and Margarita”. In Nicole Moore, ed. Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 133.

23 Вы всегда были горячим проповедником той теории, что по отрезании головы жизнь в человеке прекращается, он превращается в золу и уходит в небытие. […] каждому будет дано по его вере. Да сбудется же это! Вы уходите в небытие, а мне радостно будет из чаши, в которую вы превращаетесь, выпить за бытие.
Mikhail Bulgakov.
Мастер и Маргарита [Master and Margarita] (Moscow: Olma Media Group, 2005), 352.

24 Эх я, дурак! Зачем, зачем я не улетел с нею? Чего я испугался, старый осел! […] Эх, терпи теперь, старый кретин!” (ibid., 507).

25 As Amila Buturovic notes, Qābbanī’s poetry was immediately regarded as blasphemous by the clerical powers-that-be in Syria, while revered by younger readers:
His pointed criticism of the social milieu was directed at the relationship between the sexes in particular. His […] rejection of the blunt misogynist attitudes which left the Arab woman under the constant scrutiny of patriarchal canons [informed his call] to liberate the body from sexual repression and more specifically, to allow the Arab woman to cherish her erotic ecstasy openly and freely. Controversy erupted instantly: Sheikh al-Tantāwī characterized the poems as “blasphemous and stupid”, while young Syrian readers treated the collection as a kind of manifesto of their culturally suppressed sexuality.
“‘Only Women and Writing Can Save Us From Death’: Erotic Empowering in the Poetry of Nizār Qābbanī”. In
Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in Arabic Literature: Essays in Honor of Professor Issa J. Boullata, ed. by Kamal Abdel-Malek and Wael Hallaq (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 141. And in a a trenchant observation that might remind us that the theoretical stances of the West are not necessarily those of the rest of the world, Buturovic argues that “while much of the postmodern world speaks of the ‘death of the author’, we are reminded, quite lucidly, of Qābbanī’s engaged presence every time we revisit his poetic corpus”. (142).

26 For a fascinating example of this stance toward Qābbanī’s work, see Bacem A. Essam. “Nizarre Qabbani’s Original Versus Translated Pornographic Ideology: A Corpus-Based Study”. Sexuality and Culture, 20 (2016), 965–86, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-016-9369-7

27 Nizār Qābbanī. “Love Letter 71”. Arabic text published in Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementia R. Brown, eds. Arabian Love Poems (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), 134.

28 Translated by Modje Taavon.

29 Walter Isaacson. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), 459.

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