Monday, July 30, 2007

The Annotated Nexus - Pages 35, 36

35.0, 36.0 The end of the John Stymer anecdote that began on page 21. Stymer finishes with thoughts on Christ and the idea that criminality, sin, evil and death are all human inventions. His speech has prevented Miller from sleeping until dawn. These deep thoughts linger with Henry until a few months later, when he hears that Stymer has died.

35.1 The advent of Christ was of the greatest importance to Dostoevski.
The Dostoevski name-dropping ends with a reference, I think, to the many Christ-like figures that appear in D's work. See Prince Myshkin in The Idiot, and the Grand Inquisitor passage from The Brothers Karamazov. Stymer points out that Dostoevski was only able to conceive of god by giving him man-like qualities.

35.2 "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."
Stymer attributes this old chestnut to Christ, while elaborating that this doesn't mean all men are sinners, just that they are tainted with their own guilt over their self-created concept of sin. This quote actually appears to be incorrect. John 8:7 says "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." I'm not exactly sure who they want to throw stones at, but the bible is on the internet, so you can look it up yourself.

Stymer essentially goes on to say that we must convert the world's sinful, criminal energy into a healty, positive lifeforce if we are to collectively overcome Death.

35.3 I'm ordering a new suit, just the same."
Henry is finally allowed to nod off around dawn. When he awakens, Stymer is gone but had just behind $5 and a note telling him to forget what he talked about the night before--it's not important. The money is to go to a suit promised in 22.4.

35.4 [The] mind as something apart.
Stymer's ideas stay with Henry for weeks. This was apparently the first time he'd conceived of the mind as something apart from the whole being or spirit.

36.1 He had died of a hemmorage of the brain.
A few months later, while contating Stymer for a fitting for his new suit, Miller learns that he has died: "He had mentally masturbated himself to death." This conclusion seems almost too perfect; I wonder if this real person actually did die of a brain hemmorage. I just don't have the resources to search for 1918 New York death records for a man whose real name was probably not Stymer or could have been Dyker (see this previous note).

Chapter 2 ends mid-page, and Chapter 3 begins. I will pick up there next.
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