By W. N. P. Barbellion 1889-1919
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Extra resources for A last diary
Always I am taking as much work as possible to secure as varied a knowledge as possible. 1 am working now for my doctor's degree ; I have my master's. " I have had the idea of trying only so much ; I can't get away from the Greek idea of Nemesis, but your article gave me the suggestion that one should try everything ; better to be scorched than not to know anything about everything. And so this year I am trying to lead a fuller life. The article has inspired and helped me to attain a clearer vision of the meaning of Life.
Yes, but only as he imagined himself to look in the nude. He was forever peering at himself from changing angles, and he was never quite sure that the point of view of the moment was the true one. Incontinently curious about himself, he was never certain about the real Barbellion. One day he was " so xxxvi LIFE AND CHARACTER much specialised protoplasm"; another day he was Alexander with the world at his feet; and then he was a lonely boy pining for a few intimate friends. His sensations at once puzzled and fascinated him.
If a shadowy doubt assails him, or an outre criticism presents itself about a beloved friend, he sets it down; if he feels a sensuous joy in bathing in the sea and loves to look upon his "pink skin," or derives a catlike satisfaction from rolling a cigarette between his fingers; if he thinks he sees a meanness in his own heart, or catches himself out in some questionable or unworthy piece of conduct, however trivial, the diary receives its faithful record. The dissimilarity between Barbellion and other persons is that, while those of us who have not been blessed or cursed with the temperament of an ox frequently experience these queer spontaneous promptings about common things and about ourselves and our fellow-creatures that come we know not how or why, so far from dragging the half-formed thought into the light of open confession and giving it definite shape, we avert our gaze as from an evil thing, or return to it in secret and stealth, It is scarcely possible, one imagines, to read Barbellion honestly without realising that he says in plain, forceful language what the rest of us often think but have not the nerve to say aloud either to others or to ourselves.