01 August 2012

Aloof in Ceasar’s Empire, by Quentin Brand

Joseph Brodsky: A Literary Lifeby Lev Loseff, trans. Jane Ann Miller
Yale, 2012

In his essay “Writing,” from The Dyer’s Hand, W.H.Auden writes: “The condition of mankind is, and always has been, so miserable and depraved that, if anyone were to say to the poet: ’For God’s sake, stop singing and do something useful like putting on the kettle or fetching bandages,’ what just reason could he give for refusing? But nobody says this.” At Joseph Brodsky’s trial in 1964, the judge did, although not in so many words:

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