That Glimpse of Truth



My previous reviews of older or classic fictions:

When I review this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

Or linked from here:

31 thoughts on “That Glimpse of Truth

  1. And this anthology duly starts with a famous work by Nemonymous…in case its author jeopardises the whole anthology that follows it?


    “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD,…”

    Whatever your own interpretation of it, whether Jungian-based or not, it does seem a significant, if risky, work with which to start a gestalt within which it forms a part, a gestalt that is swallowed by another gestalt ad infinitum, ad absurdum, Tarshishim….

  2. Pingback: Jonah’s Gulp of Truth, Mankind’s Specks of Self Inside | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  3. THE DECEITFUL MARRIAGE: Miguel de Cervantes

    A strange story of eventual ‘dreams and absurdities’ told by one man to another, about fourteen buboes he needs sweating out of, buboes given him by a woman who pretended that she was someone rich with a so-called “dowry” (see my prose poem DOWRY written yesterday, as shown here, BEFORE reading this story for the first time) and thus he married her under presumably false pretenses. But did he trick her, too, as humanity always does?
    He is telling this story to another man that somehow takes us in the assumed full circle — if not in the overt context of any context whence this story should otherwise derive — to them being two street dogs talking to each other, not men at all.

    PS: Buboes give one an urgent need to pee!

  4. THE CHILDREN OF HAMELN: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

    “…the street through which the children were led out to the town gate was called the bunge-lose (drumless, soundless, quiet) street,…”

    This reminded me that the Pied Piper led the 130 children into a cave… just as in Picnic at Hanging Rock.
    Its pent silences and the film’s piping music…
    A glimpse of some truth…

    My review of the Joan Lindsay novel:

  5. Pingback: THE CHILDREN OF HAMELN: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm | Bowen KÔRner (The Circumflexing Elbow)

  6. I reviewed the next story in 2015, in this important context for me: as follows….


    THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe

    Well, of course, this relatively short real-time monologue is monumental Poe. I first encountered it in the above Pan paperback, from which I read it aloud, as a 17 year old, on to my reel-to-reel tape recorder. I now can use this real-to-real review to tell you that I read it aloud again a few years ago HERE on the TLO Discussion Forum (you merely need to join this forum to be able to hear it).
    I have read this work at least a thousand times, and it seems to me to be like a Rue Morgue type analysis of a murder, where that one was linear, and this one retrocausal. Or vice versa.


    “I loved the old man.”

    Now I re-read this yet again today in 2022, it is even more frighteningly effective because I have actually become ‘the old man’, a now self-admitted fact! And that the murderer is my own younger self’s tell-tale thoughts….

    That ‘glimpse of truth’

  7. I reviewed the next story as follows, in its then context here:


    THE NOSE by Nikolai Gogol
    Translated by Claud Field

    “, a police inspector of imposing exterior, with long whiskers, three-cornered hat, and sword…”

    I only quote that because, as I stumbled on it, I happened to be listening to the famous ballet music by Manuel de Falla on BBC Radio 3 this afternoon (please check the radio schedules to verify.) This famous story is a deadpan Rhys-Hughesian tale of losing one’s nose, leaving the face flat as a pancake. A barber, a bridge, a police inspector, a snub, some snuff and other stuff, some inverse courting and wooing of someone’s daughter, the missing nose appearing in many places, including actually becoming a person shaped like the nose on horseback… no doubt some Russian satire, too. But absurd for absurd’s sake, I hope. Horses jump, rather than leapfrog, but this story always makes me bounce.
    And I am today bemused by the link with my earlier gestalt real-review of Sterne’s TRISTRAM SHANDY. Much about noses on the pages of the review as linked below. Knots & Noses. Many quotes to quote, but I only quote one below:

    922886DF-2BD6-42BA-AD38-D2F74F256F54 1E5FEFDD-7D3C-4D8B-A870-9BD26F103111

    ”God bless your honour, cried Trim, ’tis a bridge for master’s nose.
    —In bringing him into the world with his vile instruments, he has crushed his nose, Susannah says, as flat as a pancake to his face, and he is making a false bridge with a piece of cotton and a thin piece of whalebone out of Susannah’s stays, to raise it up.”

    Just put ‘nose’ in the ‘find on the page’ search.


    “…the greatest difficulty in elbowing his way through…”

  8. Pingback: THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  9. THE SIGNAL-MAN: Charles Dickens

    “…men of common sense did not allow much for coincidences in making the ordinary calculations of life.”

    “But, I know it was remarkable enough to attract my notice, even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed, down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset that I had shaded my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all.
    ‘Halloa! Below!’”

    As Above, so Below.
    The cold trench of the track and its high banks either side, and the warnings of dire events by such recurring words, leading to the truth of those warnings but not to the prevention of what they warned about. We all know the chilling effects of this classic story, and its white and red lights and the signal-box’s bell, and the little low hut that later appears no bigger than a bed. I do not think I have ever understood this famous ghost story … until I re-read it today, a proffered revelation below that may entail a SPOILER for you! (A revelation that some may already know and/or have imparted.)

    “And I, Lord help me! A mere poor signalman on this solitary station! Why not go to somebody with credit to be believed, and power to act!”
    “My notice”, quoted above, and later an ambiguous reference to “my signalman’s box“ quoted below. (All my italics)
    ‘Below’ being one of the words “conveyed in a supernatural way”.
    The signalman and the narrator the same person? A “gesticulation he had imitated” in the final paragraph of a story told by a dead man? The dead intellectual man that the ‘lowly’ signalman might have become had his work in algebra and philosophy worked out, and therefore smart enough to write this story! Not forgetting that soundless ‘Yes’. And some of the dialogue being by thought transference, or without quote marks.
    ‘Below’ is an anagram of ‘elbow’ and the important sleeve before the eyes, the importance of the waving arm etc. And of “this Some one else”.
    “He had his left hand at his chin, and that left elbow rested on his right hand crossed over his breast. His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness, that I stopped a moment, wondering at it.”
    A recurring shouted ‘Below’ resonating with a recurring ‘Bell’.
    “I would extend my walk for an hour, I said to myself, half an hour on and half an hour back, and it would then be time to go to my signalman’s box.” …while the title has it as signal-man, not signalman
    A possible glimpse of some truth.

    “But it was unquestionable that remarkable coincidences did continually occur, and they must be taken into account…”

  10. A SIMPLE HEART: Gustave Flaubert

    “…the laces and gold crosses, and the crowd of people all hopping at the same time.”

    This is the attritional, story that creates Flaubert’s Parrot, I guess, a most poignant image or icon that is somehow sanctified as the Holy Ghost, when dead and stuffed, in the mind of Felicite, the servant girl who grows old here in front of our reading eyes while racing through, as we do, the teeming events and characters of her life, Felicite, ironically if perhaps aptly named, as a simple stoical heart, God-fearing even if (God)forsaken, too, in our eyes. The parrot reminding her of her beloved nephew by dint of the land whence it came, a parrot with the name Loulou, and by dint of the land where the nephew also died. Or did he? Deaths stream through, you see, as Felicite becomes a vicarious mimic (like another parrot?) of one her mistress’s children whom she cared for, thus a religion by proxy… what else can you say? — as I, too, worked stoically and attritionally to absorb the unabsorbable and then preventing myself vomiting it all out again, for you, here in a review of it, or doing that during my own future death throes as an old man that I vicariously imagine or pre-mimic…
    A glimpse of future truth.

    “…a tumour as big as his head on one arm.”

  11. Pingback: A SIMPLE HEART: Gustave Flaubert | Bowen KÔRner (The Circumflexing Elbow)

  12. DESIREE’S BABY: Kate Chopin

    “Oh, mamma, I’m so happy; it frightens me.”

    The tale of a foundling in USA. She ends up marrying a slave master who gets her trousseau from Paris, and although ostensibly white, turns out, by evidence of the child she bears him, to be intrinsically black. This is simply deadpan, hard-hitting poignancy, emblematic of Man as intrinsic Man, ever dyed with the blackness of the soul God gave Him. Including you few who review Desiree anew.
    A bonfire of vanities.

  13. THE HORLA: Guy de Maupassant

    “…whereas in this world one is certain of nothing, since light is an illusion and noise is deception.”

    This is the famous disturbance of my youth yonks ago when I first read it. The Horla that eventually became the Hawler of my soul. A French man here who sees a Brazilian ship pass by at the beginning, and later hears from a monk on Mont St. Michel about a he-goat and a she-goat talking like a man and woman, and even later he sees the pages of a book being read by an invisible being that also drinks his drink when he is asleep.
    From ancient beliefs to Mesmer, and the five thousand francs inculcated by a seance, and the scene amidst the rose-trees and the “opaque transparency” and those beings that inhabit stars. One such being becoming the vampire or incubus that is yourself taunting yourself, whatever the brand of madness that then makes you set fire to others so as to destroy whatever it is you think needs destroying!
    And whatever the opposite indication, via untruths told us by this text, the Brazilian ship did not come full circle by the end. The “brute machine” was elsewhere. On Frog Island, I guess.
    Just one of the many different versions of the wind.

    “There was no moon, but the stars darted out their rays in the dark heavens. Who inhabits those worlds? What forms, what living beings, what animals are there yonder? Do those who are thinkers in those distant worlds know more than we do? What can they do more than we? What do they see which we do not? Will not one of them, some day or other, traversing space, appear on our earth…”


    See my review (here), re the versions of the wind, a day or so ago, of Captain Marryat’s story that was somehow readying me for re-reading The HORLA and, by equal chance, see my concurrent reviewing (here) of Zelenyj who also today set fires from stars.

  14. Pingback: THE HORLA: Guy de Maupassant | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  15. Pingback: DESIREE’S BABY: Kate Chopin | Bowen KÔRner (The Circumflexing Elbow)

  16. THE LAGOON by Joseph Conrad

    “In the stillness of the air every tree, every leaf, every bough, every tendril of creeper and every petal of minute blossoms seemed to have been bewitched into an immobility perfect and final.”

    This intrinsically haunting story, so beautifully written it can hardly exist at all — with its atmosphere of river from open sea, then narrow creek and then stagnant lagoon, a white man reaching his friend in his little house with the woman whom he’d abducted at the cost of his brother’s life. This friend and his woman part of this story of non-white men. A story of rumour as breath — and white vapour as ghosts, while the night sets into what I feel is a jungle and then, later, the golden column of the sun awakes it. A tortured tale of love by the man telling his friend the white man — after the craft that brought the white man with eight paddles wielded by non-white men who feared the ghosts and left the white man with his friend there in ‘the little house with ragged roof.’
    A battle between the truth of righteous loyalty and the superstition of lies amid truths that beset us today among even what they then would have called civilised nations such as ours… it is as if the open sea of ghosts has spread only to be engulfed by Darkness and Death in today’s world in which we already live and lie…half this, half that. Just like time itself halts in halves of eternity.

    “They brought news too. Brought lies and truth mixed together, so that no man knew when to rejoice and when to be sorry.”

  17. Pingback: THE LAGOON by Joseph Conrad | Bowen KÔRner (The Circumflexing Elbow)

  18. FLEET-FOOTED HESTER: George Gissing

    “The bull’s eye searched her face – bloodless, perspiring – and pried about her body.”

    Young Hester, at the pickle factory, is good at sprinting, but when she met John, an equal feisty sleek figure to match hers, said she should stop running about if she wanted to marry him, with his financially good standing at the gasworks. But they are mutually self-destructive in their relationship, and he is gradually demoted towards ‘the heap’. Their rift seems final, but at the end of his tether, he finally leaves on a very early morning train from Waterloo to emigrate to the Cape, and she runs the streets of London to catch him before he goes, part of which race is the circling of St Paul’s Cathedral, in the suspenseful climax that also involves a policeman with his invasive bull’s eye prying (for what possible rift, I wonder?) in her body?
    “Had she looked eastward she would have seen the dome of St. Paul’s black against a red rift in the sky.”
    The rest would be a spoiler, in how all these various rifts, whether intentional or not, echo each other…and whether the quote below represents a happy ending or not.

    “And behind them the red rift of the eastern sky broadened into day.”

  19. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    “Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.”

    This is the famous Sherlock Holmes adventure where he meets Irene Adler, a woman worthy of the deductive powers of Holmes himself and possessing the charisma, beyond her otherwise pedigree, to have been able to marry the King of Bohemia, and the utmost beauty to have attracted both these men!
    With definite shades of the recent Prince Andrew ‘House of Windsor’ scandal! — “We were both in the photograph.”
    A work involving a plumber’s smokerocket and a disguised scissorgrinder, alongside an analogy of 17 steps on the stairs upon the return of Watson to Baker Street to tell us about Holmes’s own ‘Bohemian Soul’ now having resurrected or ‘risen out’ of its “drug-created dreams”.
    There is much in this story for an eclectic triangulator practising the art of ‘gestalt real-time reviewing’, one that has just ‘elbowed’ his way into the connected manipulations of this so-called fiction….Like finding the biography of Irene Adler “sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes.”
    But the tussle with truth is not over…

    “When I hear you give your reasons […] the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process.”

    “Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

    Still, I do try to fight back so as to earn my literary-critical bread:
    “As it pulled up, one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to open the door in the hope of earning a copper, but was elbowed away by another loafer…”

    Whose disguise was whose?
    At least another glimpse of truth.

  20. Pingback: A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  21. A LECTURE TOUR: Knut Hamsun

    “I’m going to talk about literature. Serious literature.”

    Decrepit carpet-bag, or somebody else travelled to Drammen to give lecture on literature?
    Smug, 500 lecture invitation cards each with a typo….
    versus posters for someone else’s talk on apes and wild beasts, and a badger masquerading as a hyena. With magic tricks.

    Humiliated, penny-pinching negotiation, moving from hotel to B and B.
    Barometer plummets. Brandy helps. Literature wins over charlatanism. Yet, he remains strangely and ineluctably unconsoled.


    This disarming story seems now to have been, via someone else’s glimpse of truth, the core inspiration for my seriously favourite literature that I once reviewed here:

  22. Pingback: A LECTURE TOUR: Knut Hamsun | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books


    “…near the chimney-piece hung the wag-at-the-wall clock, the time-piece that was commonest in Thrums at that time, and that got this name because its exposed pendulum swung along the wall.”

    This is the story of a half upon half, as a Zeno’s Paradox time, with a heart’s thrumbeat, and all its workings are showing, as we learn of Cree’s love for his mother, with him being once a Scissor Grinder now a Weaver with a loom in half-darknes, with rashes (peeled free of their green skin) and perhaps threads as his spluttering lamp’s whale-oil wicks. Taunted by boys for his love of his mother, and we grow old with him and his mother Mysy who dies at the end. Or does she? Because the story only ends where it ends, on the assumption here that death ‘was’ in the future. She simply ‘left ‘ him. Cree had paid off his debt to life, but does mindless death accept payment from someone so good as him, I ask? Nobody taps on his window, because it is always halfway before the day he dies?
    His stime (sic) of life. Another glimpse of truth.

    “These rashes were sold by herd-boys at a halfpenny the bundle,… […] The saut-backet, or salt-bucket, stood at the end of the fender, which was half of an old cart-wheel. […] Even with three wicks it gave but a stime of light, and never allowed the weaver to see more than the half of his loom at a time. […] The day before he died this friend sent him half a sovereign,…”

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