05 May 2011
Is it possible to know the truth about ourselves?
William H. Gass, quoting Katherine Anne Porter remembering an anecdote about Tolstoy:
It's a marvelous picture. Tolstoy was merely roaring in the frenzy roused in him in face of his wife's terrible, relentless adoration; her shameless fertility, her unbearable fidelity, the shocking series of jealous revenges she took upon him for his hardness of heart and wickedness to her, the whole mystery of her oppressive femaleness. He did not know the truth about women, not even about that one who was the curse of his life. He did not know the truth about himself. This is not surprising, for no one does know the truth, either about himself or about anyone else, and all recorded human acts and words are open testimony to our endless efforts to know each other, and our failure to do so.
Katherine Anne Porter: Collected Stories and Other Writings (Library of America #186)