Thursday, 7 February 2008


H L Mencken said, in 1926, 'the basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line. The objection to it is not that it is predominantly painful, but that it is lacking in sense.' But here he is betraying a prejudice that tragedy ought to be meaningful (the opposite to 'lacking in sense') and not boring. Of course that's not the logic of tragedy.

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