Timely Reflections on his Art of Comedy
The book would not have been seen through to publication without the considerable help of friends and colleagues, in particular, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Lucey, Marie-Hélène Huet, Jack Undank, Anthony Newcomb, Philip Koch, Leonard Johnson, Ann Smock and Denis Hollier. William Smock, Travis Wilds and William Heidenfeldt formatted and delivered the manuscript to the publisher. These friends and colleagues would consider its publication as Rex’s valedictory work, a memorial Festschrift, in which the author is the dedicatee. Preface: Choosing an Author in Old Age Actually, this book was supposed to be about Montaigne. Having reached the end of life, long familiarity with the Essais had assured me that the sage of Bordeaux would be the perfect companion for the last part of the journey, that no one was more astute about the human condition, better attuned to nature, open to experience, varied in moods, provocative, erudite, engag- ing, and such an accomplished writer. Who else could better serve as solace for the scandalous decrepitudes of a person past eighty years? Nor could anyone have been more surprised when the consolation started coming, not at all from the sensible author I had chosen, but from a farceur, from Molière – for a host of reasons I had not anticipated. Perhaps it was the infinite nuances of Montaigne’s way of thinking, so famously ondoyant et divers, that strained, in the long run, my aging intel- lectual capacities. But still more significant for the change of allegiance, I suspect, was the initial...
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