Behind those four ceremonious syllables, a whole welter of thoughts and feelings about value, memory, interpersonal depth, and reading materials churn.
I can remember to this day with a kind of wincing shame privy only to those who have attempted to bat well above their natural aptitude, the comments of a Cambridge don made during one of our weekly tutorials. After the ceremonial read-aloud of my essay (for this tutor, it was often the first time he’d actually “read” my essay) I played some Verdi on a portable ghetto-blaster to bring something of an audio-flourish (I thought) to a point I’d been labouring over in the text.
Rousing himself from a posture of half-lidded, slumberous disinterest, Dr Casey finally turned to me and my tutorial partner and said, one-quarter-enquiry, three-quarters-appraisal : “You’re something of a sentimentalist, aren’t you Wasserman?”
One of these tutorials was on Wilkie Collins. It might as well have been on Pagan Virtues for all I care to recall or can now remember. And there’s the rub: the redeeming balm of amnesia.
And yet, I am absolutely certain that in 20 years’ time, were you to quiz me on this RMSYL “tutorial” with Katy Darby, I will remember the educative and illustrative details of our discussion with exemplary retrospection.
Now why is that?