Snippets #32

James Wood-How Fiction Works

By thisness, I mean the moment when Emma Bovary fondles the satin slippers she danced in weeks before at the great ball at La Vaubyessard, “the soles of which were yellowed with wax from the dance floor.” By thisness, I mean the cow manure that Ajax slips in while racing at the grand funeral games, in Book 23 of the Illiad (thisness is often used to puncture ceremonies like funerals and dinners that are designed precisely to euphemize thisness; what Tolstoy calls making a bad smell in the drawing room).* (69)

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