The Most European of all Qualities

‘. . . Sontag believes that “the need to be alone, together with the discontent of being alone,” is a characteristic of the melancholic, and she arrives at the conclusion that “irony is the positive description with which the melancholic equips his loneliness, his asocial choices,” before she points to the Benjamin who in One-Way Street celebrates the irony, as he calls it, that allows the individual to claim his right or her right to live outside the fellowship, and this, Benjamin writes, is “the most European of all qualities.”‘

Jon Fosse, An Angel Walks Through the Stage and Other Essays (trans. May-Brit Akerholt)

8 thoughts on “The Most European of all Qualities

  1. Sontag’s observation seems to grow perfectly out of a Sardinian novel about which I’m trying to write – Salvatore Satta’s Il giorno del giudizio – which (ironically) Sontag admired greatly. I actually wonder whether she may have had that specific novel in mind when she wrote the above.

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