Issue 73: Frenzy
Reading period: September 1 – December 1, 2017
Frenzy. It fits the times, doesn’t it?
And what an if
His sorrows have so overwhelm’d his wits,
Shall we be thus afflicted in his wreaks,
His fits, his frenzy, and his bitterness?
Frenzy (n) ⎯ a feeling in your lungs when the situation has moved too fast and you watch, participating, hoping your body knows what it is doing, thinking that it does not.
At the most unseasonable hours, you would behold him, seated apart, in some corner among the guns—a shot-box before him, pen in hand, and eyes? In a fine frenzy rolling.
Frenzy: an old world word.
Full many mischiefes follow cruell VVrath;
Abhorred bloudshed, and tumultuous strife,
Vnmanly murder, and vnthrifty scath,
Bitter despight, with rancours rusty knife,
And fretting griefe the enemy of life;
All these, and many euils moe haunt ire,
The swelling Splene, and Frenzy raging rife,
The shaking Palsey, and Saint Fraunces fire:
Such one was VVrath, the last of this vngodly tire.
It feels old. It feels like the provinces are burning and the capital is rioting and the Senate is disbursed and the King is hiding in his summer home. It feels like mercury thermometers and watches lit with radium, taking tea with a spoon of arsenic to calm your nerves. What can you do? You check your feed. You think on it.
The hours have induced a stupor; we glide from Paris to London to Berlin to Washington⎯from supposition to supposition. . . . Hour after hour we experience the debilitating sensation of knowing everything in the world except what we want to know⎯as a child who listens endlessly to an adult conversation but cannot get the gist, the one word or phrase that would make all clear.
You refresh and the question, always what do you write, changes hourly to what do you write now? What do you do with such a fine frenzy rolling raging rife? How do your words stay in touch?
I lash my frenzy higher and higher. It foams. . . . Words and words and words, how they gallop ⎯ how they lash their long manes and tails.
Let us know. Submit to Issue 73: Frenzy.
William Shakespeare, Titus Adronicus. Concordance: Open Source Shakespeare (https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/)
Herman Melville, White-Jacket. Concordance: Moby Dick Online (http://www.mobydickthewhale.com/)
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene. Concordance: The Victorian Literary Studies Archive (http://victorian-studies.net/)
EB White, “Notes and Comment: September 2, 1939,” The New Yorker. (https://www.newyorker.com/archive)
Virginia Woolf, The Waves. Concordance: The Victorian Literary Studies Archive (http://victorian-studies.net/)