Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Age of Horrorism

Essential reading in The Observer, as Martin Amis demonstrates again that, while his recent fiction has been pretty ropey, his essays achieve routine superbity. The Age Of Horrorism, written with the five-year anniversary of September 11tth very much in mind, is an analysis of the West's seemingly willed inabililty to come to terms with Islamism's 'maximum malevolence'.

Time to re-read Terror And Liberalism, and check out The Looming Tower and A Fury For God.

Amis ends with this quote from Joseph Conrad:

'The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is - marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvellous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural, which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.

'Whatever my native modesty may be it will never condescend to seek help for my imagination within those vain imaginings common to all ages and that in themselves are enough to fill all lovers of mankind with unutterable sadness.'

('Author's Note' to The Shadow-Line, 1920.)

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