British Literature

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

By Muriel Spark

In overdue Nineteen Fifties London, anything uncanny besets a bunch of aged acquaintances: an insinuating voice at the cell reminds every one: Remember you need to die. Their geriatric feathers are quickly completely ruffled, and plenty of an outdated unsavory secret's dusted off.

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All through the last third of the book there run a series of anticipatory communions, moments of meeting between the two, in which all seems at peace in, and out of, the world. '" The old man speaks "as a Seeker walking in humility, as an old man, wise and temperate, illumining knowledge ... " There are moments of pure charm: " 'These,' " says the lama, " 'are indeed my Hills. " The lama cannot help remarking how strange it is that a young sahib should serve him so, and Kim replies: " 'Thou hast said there is neither black nor white.

H. " It was an aberration that F. R. Lea vis never allowed Eliot, nor the rest of us, to forget about. Years later it may be thought that Eliot more than made up for it, when he wrote appreciatively of another English author, one who stands in almost exactly the same relation to Wesleyan New Dissent that Lawrence stood in to Old Dissent. This author was Rudyard Kipling, grandson to Wesleyan ministers on both sides of his family, but whose parents conformed to nonpracticing Anglicanism, and who was himself some son of undogmatic theist.

Mowgli scorns to kill him, as he also scorns the royal jewels and coins he does not understand. His curiosity only bids him take the jewelled and golden ankus or royal elephant yoke. And in a day, he sees four men lose their lives in lust for it. At last, Kim and the Stories 29 he takes it back into the cobra's deep den. den, perhaps the sight of what gold docs to men has even deferred his instinctive urge to grow towards manhood by a story or two. But at last it comes in "The Spring Running," where Bagheera the leopard, seeing the boy in tears, says that he will soon leave the jungle for human life, for animals don't know tears.

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