Magazine article The Spectator

'He Also Found It Hard to Avoid Jokes'

Magazine article The Spectator

'He Also Found It Hard to Avoid Jokes'

Article excerpt

He could try to do it. Witness Cleopatra and the bringer of 'the pretty worm of Nilus' -- this man found time to tell her 'the Devil himself will not eat a woman', but she and the worm weren't flashers. Shakespeare was older then, though if he found himself queuing for Heaven with beatific Milton he'd have lent him some sexual innuendos in poor taste to help him plead his full humanity before the Godhead. A waste of time -- it seems that this tribunal reads just Racine and observes the Unities. Milton might, although a prude, be grateful since he yields to sexuality when Eve first spots the apple in the August issue of Ur-Vogue.

Later, most unfortunately, D.H.

Lawrence suggests our minds do dirt on sex, but that's their playground and gymnasium and better than Yeats's 'rag and bone shop of the heart'. If ever Literature shall be redeemed, it will be through capricious biting of Sincerity's long tail, The Joke, that is, the true short-circuit of God's Plan. …

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