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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.
Percentage of Americans who can correctly name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:
Peak happiness was observed at a per capita GDP of $36,000.
Doctors Without Borders withdrew from the Afghan city of Kunduz after a U.S.-led airstrike destroyed one of the organization’s hospitals, killing 22 people.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”