Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Ritualized Mating Dance

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I’ve danced this dance so many times that I’ve memorized each step without a clue to how the dance would end:

While talking of another Brooklyn laureate, Walt Whitman, I found it easy not to pay perfect attention to what Leslie was saying. At college and elsewhere I had played out this solemn cultural charade too many times to be unaware that it was a prelude, a preliminary feeling-out of mental sensibilities in which the substance of what one said was less important than the putative authority with which one’s words were spoken. In reality a ritualized mating dance, it allowed one’s mind to wander…to a perception of what was being uttered in the background.

- William Styron, Sophie’s Choice, 1976


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