06 February 2009

... unadorned except for a few Benozzo Gozzoli reproductions ...

Benozzo Gozzoli is in the air, or at least in my air. I'm reading The Indian Clerk and am enjoying it very much. More of the Indian feeling that swept over me with the movie "Slumdog Millionaire." Still, after suffering from the weird LC/NACO heading for Benozzo a few days ago, I was rather amused to now read this description of the Neville's home in Cambridge:

"Earlier in the week, when she [Alice Neville] was preparing this room for Ramanujan, she found herself wondering what he would make of the stiff, high bed, the varnished bureau, the walls unadorned except for a few Benozzo Gozzoli reproductions, picked up on their honeymoon trip to Italy. Back in Madras, she knows, Ramanujan had no bed. Like most Indians, he and the other members of his family slept on mattress rolls that could be folded up and put away during the day. Any spare part of floor would serve as a bedroom. And now here he is in England where the trees are just coming into bud and, in order to sleep, he must climb up onto a bed. What must he make of it all? Does the strangeness terrify him? Will he curl into himself? Hide from it? Or will he find, in this strange, high bed, that a new Ramanujan -- a version of himself that can only be born abroad, as some new version of Alice was born in India -- is, like the trees, just coming into bud?"

-- The Indian clerk by David Leavitt (Bloomsbury, 2007), p. 142.

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