Nobel Prize: Kyrie Eleison Without God

In her memoirs, Peggy Guggenheim describes a character she calls "Oblomov," which is her name for the young Samuel Beckett of the 1930s. The name was apt. Oblomov is the hero of a 19th century Russian novel by Goncharov, and he is famed for his inability to get out of bed. The mere thought of taking any action or making any decision makes him burrow deeper under the covers in a paroxysm of inertia. Miss Guggenheim's "Oblomov'' told her that "ever since his birth he had retained a terrible memory of life in his mother's womb. He was constantly...

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