[lit-ideas] Re: American poetic scene at the beginning of 72

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 18:02:02 -0400

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Lawrence Helm 
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 10/11/2006 5:43:49 PM 
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: American poetic scene at the beginning of 72


Berryman loved everything about it except its effects, and he couldn't remember 
most of them.  His wives and friends could and they told him what he did.  He 
tried to quit to please them, but drinking was too much fun and he would start 
in again -- when they weren't around, unfortunately they all heard about it and 
got on him again.

A.A. Yeah, so?  He didn't have to surround himself by nags.  He chose those 
people.  Yeah, yeah, I know, luv.

L.H. Why did Berryman keep on drinking?  

A.A. No, why DIDN'T Berryman keep on drinking?  He killed himself anyway.  He 
jumped off a bridge.  Why didn't he just happily drink himself to death?  He 
jumped off the bridge to get his friends and relatives off his back?  That's 
pretty drastic, isn't it?  Think it's the mark of a well adjusted person?

L.H. Why did Hemingway keep on drinking?  They had similar problems except 
Hemingway could hold it better than Berryman.  In Hemingway?s case he had a big 
long list of organs that were failing and he didn't much like the electric 
shock treatments they (the psychiatrists) liked to give him.  Perhaps they both 
committed suicide because they knew their drinking days were too rapidly coming 
to an end.

A.A.  Boy oh boy.  Democracy is on the march again.  These were people so happy 
drinking that they killed themselves because they couldn't face not drinking.  

L.H. As to your little paragraph about the unconscious, you have that precisely 
backwards.  Freud pronounced that there was an unconscious using specious 
reasoning (that Wittgenstein exposed), and you believed him.   

A.A. I and nobody else it seems.  The earth is flat, Lawrence.  If you don't 
see it, it doesn't exist.  Here there be dragons.  Watch out.

L.H. As to Robert Paul?s description of Hart Crane (which didn't make it to my 
inbox), that seems consistent with a Manic Depressive who also drinks.  Robert 
Lowell did some things like that as well.  Perhaps Berryman and Hemingway did 
as well but it wasn't quite as pronounced.  I'm not convinced they were Manic 
Depressive.  Their erratic behaviour could be totally accounted for by drinking 
too much -- it seems to me (?me? being someone who did that a time or two in 
his youth).

A.A.  Obviously they were two more examples of really happy people.  With 
happiness like that, who needs unhappiness?



-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Andy Amago
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 2:13 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: American poetic scene at the beginning of 72

Alcohol releases inhibitions, prompting, as they say, the act but ruining
the performance.  If alcohol improved anything cognitive, or anything at
all, then drunk driving would not be against the law.  I'm sure Hart Crane
thought he was brilliant when drunk.

As to Lawrence's contention that Berryman was happy but drank himself to
death anyway, followed by actually jumping off a bridge to his death, if
Berryman was happy drunk, then why did he stop drinking, given that he
killed himself anyway?  Why didn't he just happily drink himself to death?

As far as someone pronouncing there is no unconscious, well that certainly
settles it.  There was no Stalin-Hitler pact because the Soviets said there
wasn't, there was no Holocaust because some say there isn't, there is no
unconscious because someone proclaimed there isn't.  An appropriate
mentality for these here New Middle Ages, no doubt about that. 

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