XERXES



 


That's not me.  (I'm over here.)  It's Xerxes in her best Sunday dress.
This week she has been reading Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus.
 
 
"Considering our present advanced state of culture, and how the
Torch of Science has now been brandished and borne about,
with more or less effect, for five thousand years and upwards;
how, in these times especially, not only the Torch still burns,
and perhaps more fiercely than ever, but innumerable Rush-
lights and Sulphur-matches, kindled thereat, are also glancing
in every direction, so that not the smallest cranny or doghole in
Nature or Art can remain unilluminated -- it might strike the
reflective mind with some surprise that hitherto little or nothing
of a fundamental character, whether in the way of Philosophy
or History, has been written on the subject of Clothes."
 
So begins this wonderful send-up on philosophers (and many other
weighty things).  No serious treatise on Clothes?  What to do?
 
"But here, as in so many other cases, Germany, learned,
indefatigable, deep-thinking Germany comes to our aid.  It
is, after all, a blessing that, in these revolutionary times, there
should be one country where abstract Thought can still take
shelter; that while the din and frenzy of Catholic Emancipations,
and Rotten Boroughs, and Revolts of Paris deafen every
French and every English ear, the German can stand peaceful
on his scientific watch-tower; and, to the raging, struggling
multitude here and elsewhere, solemnly, from hour to hour,
with preparatory blast of cowhorn . . . tell the Universe,
which so often forgets that fact, what o'clock it really is."
 
Germany, well yes, Germany . . . but who shall rise as its spokesman?
Yet, of course, there is but one candidate, the remarkable
 
Teufelsdröckh of Weissnichtwo
[i.e., Devil's-excrement from Know-not-where]
by title and diploma, an accomplished and
formidable Professor of Things in General.
 
Quite right, but in the matter of style -- how is the good Professor equipped?
 
"In our wild Seer, shaggy, unkempt, like a Baptist living on locusts and wild
honey, there is an untutored energy, a silent as it were unconscious strength,
which, except in the higher walks of Literature, must be rare.  Many a deep
glance, and often with unspeakable precision, has he cast into mysterious Nature,
and the still more mysterious Life of Man.  Wonderful it is with what cutting words,
now and then, he severs asunder the confusion; sheers down, were it furlongs deep,
into the true centre of the matter; and there not only hits the nail on the head, but
with crushing force smites it home and buries it.  On the other hand, let us be free to
admit, he is the most unequal writer breathing.  Often after some such feat, he will
play truant for long pages, and go dawdling and dreaming, and mumbling and
maundering the merest commonplaces, as if he were asleep with eyes open,
which indeed he is . . . On the whole, Professor Teufelsdröckh is not a cultivated
writer.  Of his sentences perhaps not more than nine-tenths stand straight on their legs;
the remainder are in quite angular attitudes, buttressed up by props (of parentheses
and dashes), and ever, with this or the other tagrag hanging from them; a few even
sprawl out helplessly on all sides quite broken-backed and dismembered . . .
Considered as an Author, Herr Teufelsdröckh has one scarcely pardonable fault,
doubtless his worst: an almost total want of arrangement.  In this remarkable Volume,
it is true, his adherence to the mere course of Time produces, through the Narrative
portions, a certain shew of outward method; but of true logical method and sequence
there is too little . . . many sections are of debatable rubric, or even quite nondescript
and unnameable; whereby the Book not only loses in accessibility, but too often
distresses us like some mad banquet, wherein all courses had been confounded, and
fish and flesh, soup and solid, oyster-sauce, lettuces, Rhine-wine and French mustard,
were hurled into one huge tureen or trough, and the hungry Public invited to help itself."
 
[Xerxes would have you know that she has read some Kant and Hegel in her time,
and that she knew well Professor Teufelsdröckh the moment he was introduced.
She thought this little book of satire and of big ideas was absolutely inspired.]
 
The middle third of the book is devoted to an autobiography of our Professor
and how after a happy childhood and the sorrows of early manhood, he moved
successfully from The Everlasting No through The Center of Indifference to
The Everlasting Yea, finally positioning himself to offer his treatise on Clothes.
 
Hear the Professor as he bravely sets out on his youth:
 
"'Thus nevertheless', writes our Autobiographer, apparently as quitting College,
'was there realized Somewhat; namely, I, Diogenes Teufelsdröckh: a visible
Temporary Figure (Zeitbild), occupying some cubic feet of Space, and
containing within it Forces both physical and spiritual; hopes, passions,
thoughts; the whole wondrous furniture, in more or less perfection, belonging
to that mystery, a Man.  Capabilities there were in me to give battle, in
some small degree, against the great Empire of Darkness:  Does not the very
Ditcher and Delver, with his spade, extinguish many a thistle and puddle;
and so leave a little Order, where he found the opposite?  Nay your very
Daymoth has capabilities in this kind; and ever organizes something (into
its own Body, if not otherwise), which was before Inorganic; and of mute
dead air makes living music, though only of the faintest, by humming.'"
 
Only then by experience wide to fall so low:
 
"'At length, after so much roasting', thus writes our Autobiographer, 'I was
what you might name calcined.  Pray only that it be not rather, as is the more
frequent issue, reduced to a caput-mortuum!  But in any case, by mere dint
of practice, I had grown familiar with many things.  Wretchedness was still
wretched; but I could now partly see through it, and despise it.  Which
highest mortal, in this inane Existence, had I not found a Shadow-hunter, or
Shadow-hunted; and, when I looked through his brave garnitures, miserable
enough?  Thy wishes have all been sniffed aside, thought I:  but what, had
they even been all granted!  Did not the Boy Alexander weep because he
had not two Planets to conquer; or a whole Solar System; or Stars, have they
not looked down on me as if with pity from their serene spaces; like Eyes
glistening with heavenly tears over the little lot of man!  Thousands of human
generations, all as noisy as our own, have been swallowed up of Time, and
there remains no wreck of them any more; and Arcturus and Orion and Sirius
and the Pleiades are still shining in their courses, clear and young, as when the
Shepherd first noted them in the plain of Shinar.  Pshaw!  What is this paltry
little Dog-cage of an Earth; what art thou that sittest whining there?  Thou art
still Nothing, Nobody:  True; but who then is Something, Somebody?  For thee
the Family of Man has no use; it rejects thee; thou art wholly as a dissevered
limb: so be it; perhaps it is better so!'  [Too heavy-laden Teufelsdröckh!]  'This',
says our Professor, 'was the Center of Indifference I had now reached; through
which whoso travels from the Negative Pole to the Positive must necessarily pass."
 
And then to ascend to the heights of authorship, to have found his essential
vocation as a Philosopher of Clothes, by posing the right question:
 
"'I asked myself: What is this that , ever since earliest years, thou hast been
fretting and fuming, and lamenting and self-tormenting, on account of?  Say
it in a word: is it not because thou art not Happy?  Because the Thou (sweet
gentleman) is not sufficiently honored, nourished, soft-bedded, and lovingly
cared for?  Foolish soul!  What Act of Legislature was there that thou shouldst
be Happy?  A little while ago thou hadst no right to be at all.  What if thou wert
born and predestined not to be happy, but to be Unhappy!  Art thou nothing
other than a Vulture, then, that fliest through the Universe seeking after somewhat
to eat; and shrieking dolefully because carrion enough is not given thee?
Close thy Byron; open thy Goethe!' . . . 'To me, in this our Life', says the
Professor, 'which is an internecine warfare with the Time-spirit, other warfare
seems questionable.  Hast thou in any way a Contention with thy brother, I advise
thee, think well what the meaning thereof is.  If thou gauge it to the bottom,
it is simply this: 'Fellow, see!  Thou art taking more than thy share of Happiness
in the world, something from my share: which, by the Heavens, thou shalt not;
nay I will fight thee rather.' -- Alas! and the whole lot to be divided is such a
beggarly matter, truly a feast of shells, for the substance had been spilled out:
not enough to quench one Appetite; and the collective human species clutching
at them!  -- Can we not, in all such cases, rather say: 'Take it, thou too-
ravenous individual; take that pitiful additional fraction of a share, which I
reckoned mine, but which thou so wantest; take it with a blessing:  would to
Heaven I had enough for thee!'  -- If Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre be 'to a
certain extent, Applied Christianity,' surely to a still greater extent, so is this.'"
 
 

***

 

Any comments you might have for Xerxes
can be sent to Hud[dot]Hudson[at]wwu[dot]edu.
I will see to it that she receives them.

***
 
 
Xerxes' Sixth Year
 
 
Last week Xerxes was reading Sophocles's Antigone
The week before Xerxes was reading Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry
The week before Xerxes was reading Primo Levi's The Periodic Table
The week before Xerxes was reading G.H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology
The week before Xerxes was reading Cees Nooteboom's The Following Story
The week before Xerxes was reading Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
The week before Xerxes was reading James Thurber's The White Deer
The week before Xerxes was reading David Schnarch's Passionate Marriage
The week before Xerxes was reading Jim Finney's The Love Letter
The week before Xerxes was reading Jim Forest's The Wormwood File and Barbara Laymon's The Devil's Inbox
The week before Xerxes was reading Lord Byron's Heaven and Earth
The week before Xerxes was reading André Gide's The Immoralist
The week before Xerxes was reading A.G. Mojtabai's Autumn
The week before Xerxes was reading A.G. Mojtabai's Mundome
The week before Xerxes was reading J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country
The week before Xerxes was reading Blanche Ebbutt's Don'ts for Husbands and Don'ts for Wives
The week before Xerxes was reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
The week before Xerxes was reading Rodgers and Hammerstein's Edelweiss
The week before Xerxes was reading Vladimir Nabokov's Pnin
The week before Xerxes was reading Alice Thomas Ellis's The Sin Eater
The week before Xerxes was reading Mary Doria Russell's The Children of God
The week before Xerxes was reading Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow
The week before Xerxes was reading Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker
The week before Xerxes was reading Felix Gilman's The Half-Made World
The week before Xerxes was reading Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game
The week before Xerxes was reading Olaf Stapledon's Sirius
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark Rowland's The Philosopher and the Wolf
The week before Xerxes was reading Marie Corelli's The Sorrows of Satan
The week before Xerxes was reading Julian Barnes's Nothing to be Frightened Of
The week before Xerxes was reading Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games
The week before Xerxes was reading Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House
The week before Xerxes was reading William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
The week before Xerxes was reading Gordon Teskey's Norton Critical Edition of Paradise Lost
 
 
Xerxes' Fifth Year
 
 
The week before Xerxes was reading Xerxes' First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Years
The week before Xerxes was reading John Burnside's A Summer of Drowning
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Complete Nonsense
The week before Xerxes was reading A.S. Byatt's A Stone Woman
The week before Xerxes was reading David Albert Jones's Angels
The week before Xerxes was reading John Sutherland's Bestsellers
The week before Xerxes was reading Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist
The week before Xerxes was reading Darren Oldridge's Strange Histories
The week before Xerxes was reading Elizabeth Knox's The Vintner's Luck
The week before Xerxes was reading Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler
The week before Xerxes was reading Salman Rushdie's Luka and the Fire of Life
The week before Xerxes was reading John Rogers's Milton
The week before Xerxes was reading Jim Crace's Quarantine
The week before Xerxes was reading Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending
The week before Xerxes was reading Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker
The week before Xerxes was reading Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality
The week before Xerxes was reading Gustave Flaubert's The Temptation of Saint Anthony
The week before Xerxes was reading Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men
 The week before Xerxes was reading Richard Matheson's I am Legend
The week before Xerxes was reading Carter Dickson's The Reader is Warned
The week before Xerxes was reading Alexander Theroux's Darconville's Cat
The week before Xerxes was reading George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones
The week before Xerxes was reading Peter van Inwagen's Quam Dilecta
The week before Xerxes was reading Nicholas Wolterstorff's Lament for a Son
The week before Xerxes was reading Graham Greene's The Hint of an Explanation
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
The week before Xerxes was reading Denis de Rougemont's The Devil's Share
The week before Xerxes was reading Marguerite Yourcenar's The Memoirs of Hadrian
The week before Xerxes was reading Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark
The week before Xerxes was reading Ivan Turgenev's First Love
The week before Xerxes was reading Muriel Spark's Memento Mori
The week before Xerxes was reading Ronald B. Shwartz's For the Love of Books
The week before Xerxes was reading E.H. Gombrich's The Story of Art
The week before Xerxes was reading Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal
The week before Xerxes was reading T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland
The week before Xerxes was reading Edwin Abbott Abbott's Flatland
The week before Xerxes was reading Harold Pinter's The Homecoming
The week before Xerxes was reading Carson McCullers's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The week before Xerxes was reading Arnold Lobel's The Adventures of Frog and Toad
The week before Xerxes was reading Robert and Richard Sherman's My Own Home
The week before Xerxes was reading Christopher McDougall's Born to Run
The week before Xerxes was reading Hermann Hesse's A Child's Heart
The week before Xerxes was reading Francesco Petrarch's Triumphs
The week before Xerxes was reading Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Triumph of Life
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida
The week before Xerxes was reading Albert Camus's The Fall
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's Letters to an American Lady
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephen Prothero's God is not One
The week before Xerxes was reading Alvin Plantinga's Where the Conflict Really Lies
The week before Xerxes was reading Frederick Buechner's The Sacred Journey and Now and Then
The week before Xerxes was reading David Berlinski's The Devil's Delusion
The week before Xerxes was reading Philip Kitcher's Living with Darwin
The week before Xerxes was reading Bernard Suit's The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia
 
 
Xerxes' Fourth Year
 
 
The week before Xerxes was reading Stanley Fish's Save the World on Your Own Time
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark William Roche's Why Choose the Liberal Arts?
The week before Xerxes was reading Thomas Hurka's The Best Things in Life
The week before Xerxes was reading a Carthusian monk's The Cloud of Unknowing
The week before Xerxes was reading Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist
The week before Xerxes was reading Eduardo Galeano's Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
The week before Xerxes was reading Plato's Republic
The week before Xerxes was reading Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica
The week before Xerxes was reading Saul Bellow's Ravelstein
The week before Xerxes was reading Henry David Thoreau's Reading
The week before Xerxes was reading Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind
The week before Xerxes was reading Molière's Tartuffe
The week before Xerxes was reading Aristophanes's The Clouds
The week before Xerxes was reading Paulo Coelho's The Devil and Miss Prym
The week before Xerxes was reading Richard Russo's Straight Man
The week before Xerxes was reading Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question
The week before Xerxes was reading Nicole Krauss's Great House
The week before Xerxes was reading Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence
The week before Xerxes was reading Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's Universal Compassion
The week before Xerxes was reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go
The week before Xerxes was reading Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund
The week before Xerxes was reading George Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah
The week before Xerxes was reading Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge
The week before Xerxes was reading God's The Book of Job
The week before Xerxes was reading Dennis Potter's Hide and Seek
The week before Xerxes was reading Iris Murdoch's The Time of the Angels
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Collected Poems
The week before Xerxes was reading José Donoso's The Garden Next Door
The week before Xerxes was reading Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree
The week before Xerxes was reading Lisa Genova's Still Alice
The week before Xerxes was reading G.K. Chesterton's Manalive
The week before Xerxes was reading David Orr's Beautiful & Pointless
The week before Xerxes was reading A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh
The week before Xerxes was reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart
The week before Xerxes was reading Douglas Hofstadter's A Person Paper on Purity in Language
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters
The week before Xerxes was reading William Butler Yeats's He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
The week before Xerxes was reading Jonathan Swift's The Battle of the Books
The week before Xerxes was reading Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air
The week before Xerxes was reading Niccolo Machiavelli's Letter to Francesco Vettori
The week before Xerxes was reading Henry David Thoreau's Life Without Principle
The week before Xerxes was reading Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
The week before Xerxes was reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure
The week before Xerxes was reading George Orwell's Animal Farm
The week before Xerxes was reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals
The week before Xerxes was reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince
The week before Xerxes was reading Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The week before Xerxes was reading Joris-Karl Huysmans's Against Nature
The week before Xerxes was reading Sheridan Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly
The week before Xerxes was reading Virginia Woolf's The Waves
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth
 
 
Xerxes' Third Year
 
 
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark Twain's A Dog's Tale
The week before Xerxes was reading Jean Anouilh's Becket
The week before Xerxes was reading James Goldman's The Lion in Winter
The week before Xerxes was reading Antonia Michaelis's Tiger Moon
The week before Xerxes was reading Pär Lagerkvist's The Dwarf, Barabbas, and The Sibyl
The week before Xerxes was reading Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End of Love
The week before Xerxes was reading Robin Robertson's Mortification
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger
The week before Xerxes was reading Jeffrey Burton Russell's Lucifer and Mephistopheles
The week before Xerxes was reading Jeffrey Burton Russell's The Devil and Satan
The week before Xerxes was reading Toni Morrison's Beloved
The week before Xerxes was reading Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman
The week before Xerxes was reading Henry James's The Turn of the Screw
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress
The week before Xerxes was reading Jeffrey Burton Russell's The Prince of Darkness
The week before Xerxes was reading Alexander McCall Smith's 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom
The week before Xerxes was reading Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon
The week before Xerxes was reading Huston Smith and Philip Novak's Buddhism
The week before Xerxes was reading Michael Sells's Approaching the Qur'an
The week before Xerxes was reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephen Prothero's Religious Literacy
The week before Xerxes was reading Darby Conley's The Dog is Not a Toy
The week before Xerxes was reading T. Cathcart and D. Klein's Plato and a Platypus
The week before Xerxes was reading Rainer Maria Rilke's Stories of God
The week before Xerxes was reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes
The week before Xerxes was reading Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame of Paris
The week before Xerxes was reading Leonard Nimoy's I Am Spock
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shatner's Up Till Now
The week before Xerxes was reading Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil
The week before Xerxes was reading Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell
The week before Xerxes was reading Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita
The week before Xerxes was reading Christopher Hitchens's God is not Great
The week before Xerxes was reading Philip Larkin's The Less Deceived
The week before Xerxes was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit
The week before Xerxes was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King
The week before Xerxes was reading Voltaire's Candide
The week before Xerxes was reading Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale
The week before Xerxes was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Boy in Darkness
The week before Xerxes was reading A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad
The week before Xerxes was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's The Tempest
The week before Xerxes was reading Owen Gingerich's God's Universe
The week before Xerxes was reading Jack Fincher's Lefties
The week before Xerxes was reading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Children's Hour
The week before Xerxes was reading John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces
The week before Xerxes was reading Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place
The week before Xerxes was reading Yann Martel's Life of Pi
The week before Xerxes was reading Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game
The week before Xerxes was reading William F. May's A Catalogue of Sins
The week before Xerxes was reading Henry Fairlie's The Seven Deadly Sins Today
The week before Xerxes was reading Jorge Luis Borges's Ficciones
 
 
Xerxes' Second Year
 
 
The week before Xerxes was reading Gioconda Belli's Infinity in the Palm of Her Hand
The week before Xerxes was reading G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday
The week before Xerxes was reading Dante Alighieri's Purgatorio
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves
The week before Xerxes was reading Steven Schwartz's The Seven Deadly Sins
The week before Xerxes was reading Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens
The week before Xerxes was reading Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs
The week before Xerxes was reading Sy Safransky's Four in the Morning and Sunbeams
The week before Xerxes was reading Daniel Levitin's This is Your Brain on Music
The week before Xerxes was reading Alfred Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam
The week before Xerxes was reading Paul Woodruff's Reverence
The week before Xerxes was reading Richard Yates's Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
The week before Xerxes was reading Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
The week before Xerxes was reading Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass
The week before Xerxes was reading Jenny Bond and Chris Sheedy's Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara?
The week before Xerxes was reading William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel
The week before Xerxes was reading Edward Gorey's Amphigorey: Fifteen Books
The week before Xerxes was reading Cornelius Plantinga's Not the Way It's Supposed to Be
The week before Xerxes was reading Mark Twain's A Cure for the Blues
The week before Xerxes was reading Herman Melville's Moby Dick
The week before Xerxes was reading G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy
The week before Xerxes was reading Frederick Buechner's Godric and The Alphabet of Grace
The week before Xerxes was reading Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung's Portraits of Vice
The week before Xerxes was reading Paul Johnson's Intellectuals
The week before Xerxes was reading David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
The week before Xerxes was reading Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man
The week before Xerxes was reading Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology
The week before Xerxes was reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants
The week before Xerxes was reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God
The week before Xerxes was reading Ingmar Bergman's Images: My Life in Film
The week before Xerxes was reading William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault
The week before Xerxes was reading Anonymous's Everyman
The week before Xerxes was reading Eugene Field's Little Boy Blue
 The week before Xerxes was reading David Maine's Fallen
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephenie Meyers's Twilight and New Moon
The week before Xerxes was reading Gordy Slack's The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything
The week before Xerxes was reading Nicole Krauss's The History of Love
The week before Xerxes was reading Wallace Stevens's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
The week before Xerxes was reading The Dalai Lama's An Open Heart
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's As You Like It
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra
The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Macbeth
The week before Xerxes was reading Jelaluddin Rumi's The Essential Rumi
The week before Xerxes was reading Harold Bloom's Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
The week before Xerxes was reading Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
The week before Xerxes was reading Leo Tolstoy's The Devil
The week before Xerxes was reading Colin McGinn's Shakespeare's Philosophy
The week before Xerxes was reading Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World
The week before Xerxes was reading Martin Buber's I and Thou, Meetings, and The Way of Man
 

Xerxes' First Year
 

The week before Xerxes was reading Allan Chinen's Once Upon a Midlife
The week before Xerxes was reading G.K. Chesterton's St Francis of Assisi
The week before Xerxes was reading Jean Toomer's Cane
The week before Xerxes was reading Ikhwān al-Safā's The Animals' Lawsuit against Humanity
The week before Xerxes was reading Patrick Süskind’s Perfume
The week before Xerxes was reading Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark
The week before Xerxes was reading John Milton's Paradise Regained
The week before Xerxes was reading Dylan Thomas's The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephen Crane's The Blue Hotel
The week before Xerxes was reading Gore Vidal's Creation
The week before Xerxes was reading A.S. Byatt's Possession
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce
The week before Xerxes was reading Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven
 The week before Xerxes was reading Dennis Potter's Blackeyes
The week before Xerxes was reading David Suzuki and Wayne Grady's Tree: A Life Story
The week before Xerxes was reading James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner
The week before Xerxes was reading Alexander Theroux's Theroux Metaphrastes
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Titus Alone
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast
The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan
The week before Xerxes was reading Walter de la Mare's The Three Royal Monkeys
The week before Xerxes was reading John Collier's His Monkey Wife
The week before Xerxes was reading Lois Lowry's The Giver
The week before Xerxes was reading Rudyard Kipling's Mandalay
The week before Xerxes was reading Ralph Helfer's Modoc
The week before Xerxes was reading Stuart McLean's Home From the Vinyl Cafe
 The week before Xerxes was reading Ossie Davis's Purlie Victorious
The week before Xerxes was reading George MacDonald's The Portent
The week before Xerxes was reading Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead
The week before Xerxes was reading Michael Phillips's George MacDonald - A Biography
The week before Xerxes was reading Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel
The week before Xerxes was reading Gordon Lightfoot's Minstrel of the Dawn
The week before Xerxes was reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War
The week before Xerxes was reading Robert Graves's I Claudius
The week before Xerxes was reading Philip Ardagh's A House Called Awful End
 The week before Xerxes was reading John Milton's Paradise Lost
 The week before Xerxes was reading Mervyn Peake's Mr Pye
The week before Xerxes was reading J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The week before Xerxes was reading Riff Raff and Magenta's The Time Warp
 The week before Xerxes was reading William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens
 The week before Xerxes was reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion
The week before Xerxes was reading e.e. cummings's anyone lived in a pretty how town
The week before Xerxes was reading Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici
The week before Xerxes was reading C.S. Lewis's A Preface to Paradise Lost
The week before Xerxes was reading Stephanie Plowman's The Road to Sardis
The week before Xerxes was reading Alexander Theroux's Darconville's Cat
The week before Xerxes was reading Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective
The week before Xerxes was reading T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The week before Xerxes was reading Matthew Scully's Dominion
The week before Xerxes was reading Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
The week before Xerxes was reading the Prologue in Heaven from Goethe's Faust
The week before Xerxes was reading Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market