Dear Eloise,

If someone were to ask me whether they should become an anarchist or philologist, I would tell them, “No. Save yourself the heartache and don’t do it.” But in not becoming an anarchist or philologist, one cannot leave either behind and exist in the space opened by leaving without renunciation. (Renunciation cleaves one to the renounced and makes leaving impossible; those who renounce their past maintain a neurotic attachment to it. Whatever the formal legal definition might be, divorce makes marriage permanent.)

I am interested in commitments that cannot be broken.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Christ’s midrash on Genesis remakes marriage as man’s connection to creation (as Melville does with whaling).

vale bene,