The Obscure Object
Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness,” “joy” or “regret.” Maybe the best proof that language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster.” Or: “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.” I’d like to show how “intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members” connects with “the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.” I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.”
This post has hardly been influenced at all by the advance copy from those nice people at Bloomsbury; it’d be plugged here regardless.
Related: more on Middlesex.