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This article is taken from PN Review 85, Volume 18 Number 5, May - June 1992.

Dejection Gabriel Josipovici

Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after


IT'S FUNNY HOW lines of poetry, metrically correct, come into my mind in the weeks and months after I have finished an extended piece of work and the exhilaration of getting to the end has worn off. Then I am left with a blankness, an emptiness, which feels as if it will last for ever. Nothing seems to interest me. Time passes, that is all. But slowly.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day.


The lines drop into my mind and I know they correspond to my condition, but I do not feel them. Or perhaps they come into my mind because they are lines about non-feeling. Macbeth too had completed a piece of work which he had imagined would transform his life, only to find, as in a fairy-tale, that though it had done just that, it was not in the way he had imagined. The fact that his work is murder, regicide even, and mine merely the writing of a novel, seems to make no difference. We are not here in the realm of ethics but of something darker, deeper, something which seems to inhabit a place where body and spirit interact. The Romantics called it Dejection:
       
A grief without a pang, void, dark and drear,
   A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
   Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, ...


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