The plague that devours Oran is less a proxy for a manifestly odious occupying force than it is emblematic of the contradictions inherent in democracy, in which the limits of liberal universalism and equality collide against the violent reality of state power.
Ignoring the blithe optimism practiced by motivational speakers even in his day, Seneca urges us toward a “steadiness of heart” that is purposeful and “cannot be dislodged from its position.” His advice sounds simplistic, the stuff of cliché and needlepoint pillows. But when have I ever pulled it off?
Inside Portland Place was the house made of stone, the building material of kings. Inside the house, the castle, the fortress, were Mark and Patty, heroes of an imagined apocalypse, soft centers in a crunchy shell. Looking out of their own skins.
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