From: "Ed Cooke"
Subject: Re: (urth) Other authors Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 11:38:40 +0100 Good to see Goethe and Iain M. Banks cropping up in this thread. To complete the triangle, I've always assumed Banks took the title of 'Against A Dark Background' from the following passage of Goethe: "Spring had come in all its glory. An untimely storm that had been looming all day thundered down from the mountains, rain swept across the landscape, the sun returned and a rainbow shone forth from the greyness. Wilhelm rode towards it and was deeply moved. "Oh!" he said to himself. "Do life's most beautiful colours only make themselves clear to us against a dark background? Must raindrops fall for our delight? A clear day is no different from a cloudy one, if we look at it unmoved, and what can move us but the silent hope that our hearts' natural inclination will not go unrequited? We are moved by the account of a good deed, the contemplation of an aesthetic object; they make us feel as though we are not complete strangers here, and give us intimations of a homeland towards which our highest and innermost feelings impatiently strive." --'Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre', Bk VII Ch I TBotNS is the best Bildungsroman I've ever read, mainly because it ends satisfactorily. Wieland spent thirty years rewriting his 'Agathon', eventually resorting to a further argument between the eponymous hero and the Sophist Hippias in the afterlife, and Goethe churned out a sequel in his dotage that loaded the characters with so much symbolism that no-one could really care about them anymore; but Wolfe ties up enough loose ends for a sense of closure but not so many as to preclude another two novel cycles. Bravo! --