Talking About Music

Occasionally I actually do benefit somewhat from my broader survey of the Western canon via The List.

Which is to say that there is a joke in Point Counter Point that I'm certain is a reference to Zuleika Dobson, and if not for this project, I never would've caught it.

How am I certain?

Well, because Aldous Huxley name drops Max Beerbohm in his novel.

It comes up a couple of times in Zuleika Dobson. Here is the first:
And Zuleika returned his gaze with a smile not less gay. She was not sure what he was playing. But she assumed that it was for her, and that the music had some reference to his impending death. She was one of the people who say "I don't know anything about music really, but I know what I like."

That's really just set up for the second:
He asked: "To what am I indebted for this visit?"
     "Ah, say that again!" she murmured. "Your voice is music."
     He repeated his question.
     "Music!" she said dreamily; and such is the force of habit that "I don't," she added, "know anything about music, really. But I know what I like."

And here's the one from Point Counter Point, which is much wordier, I'm afraid, and not as funny:
"I hesitated," Lady Edward went on in the same significantly intimate tone, "between Handel's Water Music and the B minor Suite with Pongileoni. Then I remembered you and decided on the Bach." Her eyes took in the signs of embarrassment on the General's ruddy face.
     "That was very kind of you," he protested. "Not that I can pretend to understand much about music. But I know what I like, I know what I like." The phrase seemed to give him confidence. He cleared his throat and started again. "What I always say is..."

No comments:

Post a Comment