Ron Rosenbaum

Blogging Greene(3) for Halloween

That’s right, I’m taking my time blogging The Hnorary Consul. I;m in favo of eading a lot of different books simultaneously and slowly. Well not precisely simultaneously. I’m very excited because Seven Stories ress has sent me the galleys of a new translation of one of my favorite Russian novels Oblomov the classic praise of luxuriant laziness. I’d do a study of slacker lit, excet (fill in lazy joke here, I’m too lazy to do it myself].

Anyway I want to go backwards from the the last discussion of love and obsesssion, in articular the quote “Is it possible he wondered, if a man is too rational to fall in love , that he more be reserved for a worse fate, to fall into an obsession.”

I can see when the latter might not be the former, but can the former not help but be the latter? Yet they are presented as antinomies.

On the other hand if we back up to the epigraph we’re led another direction. It’s frpm Thomas Hardy and it goes:

” All things merge in one another–good into evil, generosity into justice, relgion into politics.” And love into obsession? And what is that about generosity and justice?

Dr. Plarr has now impregnated the wife of his friend Charlie Fortnum the Honorary consul who’s been kidnapped by mistake (he has no real political importance) by allies of Dr. Plarr who may want to trade their hostage for Charlie’s father who may or may not be alive. Has Greene overloaded the moral dilemmas here? Some of his statements (with Plarr as his mouthpiece one thinks) about prostitutes and the psychology of men who fall in love with them seem dubious.

Does good merge into evil? At the moment I’m bewildered, which I think is good (though will it merge with evil? and I’ll leave it there and report back when I’ve gone further, slowly.