ing.” At the end of the novel, thenmeaning of his real and (perhaps) imaginednlife is realized in a final irony. Shotnas he is leaving the prison, he makesnone last effort to assert his identity.n”I am who I am,” he cries; the ironicnBiblical echo is intentional. His deathnis the “final irony,” because he discoversnfor himself what “it was to bennothing.”nWhat difference, then, does any patternnmake, since any pattern leads to thensame end? “At dusk he knew with certaintynwhat he had known at noon andndawn: that now he was fit to live only innthe darkness . . . .” More than a little innlove with death, Hawkes sees Thanatosnas the non-God of a world which may ornmay not be. Our imaginative inventionnof a world which never is, was or can benis, alas, the final joke. Over everythingnhangs the light and shadows that tell ofnnothingness. The city itself proves thatndreamers of palaces and holocausts haven” invented nothing.” The city is the homenof all human experience, internal and external,nand its reality denies the validitynof anything one might learn from history.nThe degradation of the prison,nwhere he longs to be at home, is no differentnfrom that of the city in which itn”thrived.” One must step out of whatnone ordinarily takes to be history andneverything it entails in order to be opennto what the imaginary Elysium has tonoffer. It is a totally anti-intellectualnstance, so insubstantially romantic as tondefy the probes of conceptualization.nIn his private world (consciousness)nVost lived in time uninformed by chronology.nIt is in the disordering of hisnprivate world through its convergencenwith the public world (nature) that Vostnlearns the significance of chronology.n(Chronology is not history.) It links unexpectednevents in a chain, allowing onento discover the “lessons of devastation.”nIt is essential to cling to the fact thatn”every man contains his psychic pit, andnthat each pit is filled with slime.” Naturenhas its plan, but consciousness doesnnot fit into the scheme of nature.n10nChronicles of CttUurenHawkes’s view is another version of thenaggressive paganism of Wallace Stevens’sn”Sunday Morning,” the best glossnon the novel I can recommend. Vest’snproblem is solved when he comes tonunderstand the foolishness of morality,nto know the stupidity of consciousnessnopposed to natural inclination, and tonsee the Tomb of Christ for what it is:nThe tomb in PalestinenIs not the porch of spirits lingering.nIt is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.nHis liberation, if it can be called that,ncomes through willed erotic union withna “courtesan inside a tomb. Or a womannin a morgue.” Thanatos and Eros. “KonradnVost knew at last the transports ofnthat singular experience which makesnevery man an artist.”nThat the most passionate eroticnunions are accomplished through fellationis significant. “Marriage mustnnever in any way become maternal.”nSexuality must be erotic but never fruitful.nThe reproductive function is agony,nblood and torment. “Only the womannwho does not live with children retainsnher youth.” Each person is a barrennisland, and for each the only pleasurenis the exploration of other barren islands.nMen and women are not opposites;nthey are both the same and opposite,n”reproduction aside.” The lengthy,noverwritten explorations of this topicnare dirges, celebrating the worship ofndeath. The death’s-head, always presentnin the garden, is not a morbid cautionnbut a sign of the way to realize emo-nIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles of Culture:nThe Conservative Principlen”A jaded observer of the political follies of post-CivilnWar America once quipped thatthe succession ofn. presidents from George Washington to Ulysses Grantndisproved Darwin’s theory of evolutionary progression.nIn similar fashion, one might hazard the opinion thatnthe lipe of sociologists from Max,Weber to the presentnbelies the idea of progress. From the heights attainednby such i9thr and early. 20th-century theorists as Weber,nHerbert Spencer, Vilfredo Pareto and, Emile Durkheim,nsociology has descended into the depths of trivialitynand posturing radicalism.”n—from “Can Any Good Thing Come Outnof Sociology?,”nby Janies J. Thompson, Jr.nAlso:n, Opinions & Views—Comiriendabies—In FocusnWjiste of Money—The American ProsceniumnScreen—Music—Correspondence—LiberalnCulture—Journalismnnn