Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kid-Glove Evil

While I was going through my books, because I brought most of mine to my new apartment and found out I don't have enough room for all of them: Or possibly three-quarters of them.

One of them I plan to sell or donate is One Half of Robertson Davies, a selection of essays by the Canadian author. It has one quote I want to put here so it's on the record and easy for me to retrieve.

It's from the essay "Phantasmagoria and Dream Grotto," which was one ofthe lectureshe gave in November 1976 at Trinity College, Toronto, on the theme Evil in Literature.

He mentions the 19thcentury English novelist T Atnohny Trollope, which he said some people read "in search of a special quality of well-bred nullity, relieved by intrigue."

However, he mentions Trollope's seriousness of intent:

The Trollopian world is a disquieting place, when you really explore it. I never cease to be surprised that Victorian fathers and the fussy Puritans who controlled Victorian circulating libraries allowed Trollope to fall into the hands of innocent young women;a girl with her head on straight could learn more about the kid-glove evil of the world -- about selfishness, money madness, sexual manipulation and cold-hearted social climbing -- from Trollope than from any other Victorian, and it was all presented with a manner which seemed to say: this is how it is; what do you make of it?

And I have seen the kid-glove evils that Davies mentioned among the middle class of central Indiana, especially those who tend to vote Republican and set the moral tone here. And this is why I despise them.

I have also been reviewing some books about Nazi Germany. Now, the sins committed by the kid-glove wearers is nowhere near what the Nazis did. But those folks are rarely blameless.

And I am sure that many Germans of the time practiced these kid-glove evils while looking away at the greater evils.

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