Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Egotism of the Long Distance Reader

I seem to get only so far in biographies (of writers?) and then lose interest.  Or my own egocentricism kicks in. 
The writer of this book on Lax is twenty years younger than us, so I start to see his "lens" on things.  I was very glad to hear him say that Merton was a brilliant self-promoter all through his career as a writer.  Of course Lax's story is much in the shadow of Merton's story and always has been, so McGregor is trying to give Lax the spotlight as much as possible.  

Now that I am up to Lax at around the age of 30 my interest in his story slows down and my egocentrism kicks in and I want to keep reading but more slowly so as to see the portrait of my own coming of age in the periods the biographer describes.  Lax is exactly the age of my parents, all born in 1914-15.  Leonard Cohen the singer is born in 1934, ten years my senior.  I’m now going to kick in my love of “stereophonic” reading and continue with Lax’s biography alongside the biography of Leonard Cohen which I began reading a few years back and then put aside.  Pick up with both around 1950 when I was starting school at St Mary’s in Cumberland, Maryland.  The bookmark in the Cohen book corrects me and says I dropped it in 1967, so I guess I’ll read more of Lax to catch up to that date. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Robert Lax and Theosophy

Michael N McGregor’s long-awaited biography of Robert Lax yields its secrets.  Young Lax read Theosophical society books brought home by his famous uncle Henry and aunt Marie who had been to India in 1912 to meet Annie Besant. 

McGregor says “Lax seems to have read some of the movement’s literature as well, including an early book by the movement’s protégé, J. Krishnamurti, where he saw a poem in the vertical style he would one day make his own.  57