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I had been reading the delightful little pamphlet La joie de mourir and it aroused within me a longing to leave this world. In order to investigate the borderland between life and death, I lie down on bed, uncork a bottle of cyanide and let its deadly fumes fill the room. He is coming closer, the Grim Reaper, he is so mild and seductive, but at the last moment someone always appears or something happens that cuts everything off; the waiter has an errand, a wasp flies in through the window. The powers refuse me this one and only happiness, and I bow to their will.
–Johan August Strindberg, Inferno, ch vi (Purgatorio), p. 141 (1897)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations:
A fertility scientist named Panayiotis Zavos announced that he had created human-cow embryos that were theoretically viable, but denied that he planned to allow such a hybrid to be implanted in a woman’s womb. “We are not trying to create monsters,” he said.
A statistician determined that the five most common first names among New York City taxi drivers are Md, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, and Mohamed.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”