Essay: On the Field of Ancient Peacemaking

Driving through rain east of Reykjavík to look at Thingvellir, site of the first Icelandic parliament (established 930), the oldest such assembly in the world. I'm not feeling so young myself, the imagination blank except for memories of a book called Letters from Iceland by W.H. Auden and memories of the Icelandic sagas, populated by heroes with unpronounceable names who made elegant speeches and went at one another with axes. More recent memories: news analyses assuring the public that Reagan and Gorbachev definitely are and definitely are not going to accomplish anything substantive at this presummit summit. Most recent memory: the...

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