Second Part 23rd July 2007

0:06:04 In Switzerland retire at 65, since when lectured in many places but no formal regular teaching; range of subjects lectured on include Plato, Dante, future of the European Union; will be lecturing in Barcelona in October then on to Lisbon to preside over an international conference at the Gulbenkian Foundation on whether science has reached certain limits

3:28:15 Extremely sceptical about any effective future for Europe; saw turning point as its complete failure to deal with Kosovo and reliance on America to intervene; two tasks left for Europe, one to work out how different ethnic groups, cultures and religions can coexist without assimilation; secondly, young in Europe have never been so without hope in a deep sense and need to experiment with great Utopian ideas even if later proved wrong as with Marxism and Fascism; need an effective Left in Europe which may happen if we have an economic crisis; there are young people who do reject money and are passionately committed to helping others; islands of hope are increasing interest in ecology, concern for animals and children, all the beginnings of a new humanism

9:59:11 Book 'The Death of Tragedy' concerns its disappearance as a literary form; believe it  is tied to a metaphysics with idea of divine intervention, a notion that lost its strength very rapidly after the mid-eighteenth century; did not believe you could have an agnostic, secular, tragedy; modernity is agnostic, man's loneliness in a practical world; Weber saw the disenchantment but did not foresee the modern infantile mythologies around sport and entertainment or the rise of religious fundamentalism; latter shows wish for the possibility of divine intervention in a life otherwise without meaning; Carl Jung predicted desire for help from another world; irrationalism immensely strong at present

15:44:13 Thoughts on Carl Jung and Freud and their different attitudes to literature; brought up on Homer; reflections on 'The Iliad'; Shakespeare and Dante, preference for the latter; difficulty with 'Lear'; cutting texts possible with Shakespeare but not Dante or Racine; Shakespeare as a script writer; Keat's letters find preferable to poems; Shelley, Coleridge, Wordsworth

25:19:10 Book on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky developed thesis that the question 'Is there a  God?' was central and explains the strength of Russian literature over all others; Samuel Beckett, Musil and Proust very important to me; Joyce and 'Finnegan's Wake'; as senior literary critic for the 'New Yorker' for twenty years, modern fiction poured across my desk; Nabokov; Yeats

29:04:04 Sadness is that I haven't had any printing errors that commit you to immortality; case of Thomas Nash; searching for what makes a poet find metaphor; Plato's analysis; Shakespeare and ability to hear overtones and undertones of words, totality of linguistic usages; study of brain chemistry may teach us more but hope this will remain enigmatic; Llowes' 'Road to Xanadu'; Paul Klee as a child drawing shoes on an aqueduct

35:39:07 Have written poetry as part of French education; at Oxford published verse but realized it was the contrary of poetry; early on painted and drew and may have been a mistake to stop; never learnt a musical instrument but music is indispensable, of every era and type; recently turning to Haydn for peace and calm acceptance; do not like Handel

38:22:10 Will not go into ideas of God but have written on them in a book to be published in January called 'My Unwritten Books'; seven chapters on seven books I have not written and why; one is on my confession that there are those of us who love animals better than human beings; another on my religious and political positions; one chapter called 'Zion' on the several occasions I could have gone to live in Jerusalem and reasons for my failure to do so; one is on the only time I've written erotica

41:19:05 Musings on regret and envy; privilege of being a teacher; alpha people; Kafka; literary critics; magic of creativity; own rejection by Cambridge English faculty