Posts Tagged ‘Bergen’


In Bergen, I found the ox tail stew delicious.

necklineDesiccated mass.


I have been writing on the body of the expert, when I realized that vampires are relevant to the discussion — the desiccated bodily figure that both experts and the living dead occupy. In the case of the former, bodies rely on a certain distance of feeling, as if they are themselves drained of blood.

For a time, I collected notes on a condition associated with professionals that I had labeled Academica Nervosa. What was evident in the literature are references to the fatigue or desiccated mass of the intellectual.

In Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov speaks of European Professor, Humbert Humbert as “laid up with a severe attack of inter cotal neuralgia” (p. 311) or “a dreadful breakdown [which sends him] to a sanatorium for more than a year (p. 32).

Anton Chekhov, within The Duel, speaks of “our neurotic age [in which] we are slaves of our nerves” (p. 119, 111) causing “spiritual suffering” (p. 33). Fyodor Dostoevsky notes of “fits of epilepsy” referred to in House of the Dead (p. 9, 109-110) where convulsions represent a freedom of will, as also in The Idiot.


There are published accounts of “Mystery Rash” among school girls in a New York Times magazine cover article, some years ago, titled “Hysteria Associated with 9/11”. The anxiety attacks described by actor Ian Holm, whose only memory of childhood, he states, “I was born in a mental asylum… my childhood was bizarre and enclosed”.2
In Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, the blood of healthy humans is selected carefully, for “old or young, who toil much in the world of thought, our nerves are not so calm and our blood not so bright…” (p. 121). Further, the intellectual, is “no lunatic in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul…” (p. 247).

Of the 19th century fit,  Charlotte Brontë states of Jane Eyre,

“I suppose I had a species of fit: unconsciousness closed the scene” (p. 19).
Evelyn Waugh, in  Brideshead Revisited, comments “…in that city there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy” (p. 219), and, “…I’ve been tormented with visions of voluptuous half-castes…”
A fading tennis player’s ability to welcome sport is used in reference to Pete Sampras: “[Whereas Andre welcomes the challenge,] Pete looks at it and says ‘Man, do I really want to do this?'” (New York Times 6/23/02 sports page 4).

The concept of serendipity, what Max Weber describes in Science as a Vocation, “certainly, chance does not rule alone, but it rules [in academia] to an unusually high degree. I know of hardly any career on earth where chance plays such a role” (p. 132).

All signatures are conditions of desiccated mass associated with the highly educated. Again, in Brideshead Revisited, “she told me later that she had made a kind of note of me in her mind, as, scanning the shelf for a particular book, one will sometimes have one’s attention caught by another, take it down, glance at the title page and, saying ‘I must read that, too, when I’ve the time,’ replace it and continue the search” (p. 171).


“It needed this voice from the past to recall me; the indiscriminate chatter of praise all that crowded day had worked on me like a succession of advertisement hoardings on a long road, kilometre after kilometre between the poplars, commanding one to stay at some new hotel, so that when at the end of the drive, stiff and dusty, one arrives at the destination, it seems inevitable to turn into the yard under the name that had first bored, then angered one, and finally become an inseparable part of one’s fatigue” (Brideshead Revisited p. 256).

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