Wednesday, September 04, 2013

No good deed

goes unpunished.

B recommended a short story by Heinrich von Kleist, The Foundling. It's an anti-Enlightenment narrative whereby a man's act of pity becomes the source of his whole life's destruction. Deadpan tragedy. Reminded me of Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers, where a similar kindness matures into disaster. Talk about the Law of Unintended Outcomes.

Earthly Powers also has one of the most memorable opening lines in any English novel.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, a brilliant opening to Earthly Powers - I read it 30 years ago and still remember it word for word!

Surely equalled only by Rose Macaulay's Towers of Trebizond:

"Take my camel, dear", said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.

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