Sunday, February 19, 2017

"some notions are so fatuous that only intellectuals could possibly believe them."

     Kyle Smith, "Immoral acts," The new criterion 35, no. 6 (February 2017):  41 (40-43).  Smith is referring to Bertrand Russell, whose commitment to open marriage took a serious (if only passing) hit "as he began to discover the strength of [his second wife Dora's] affair with a writer named Roy Randall.  Although Russell himself was having an affair with his children's Swiss governess, Alice Stücki, he suggested a truce and begged for mutual fidelity:  'It was all a folly,' Russell [(who, after a string of affairs with women in addition to Alice, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora")] wrote.  'And here we are landed each with a lover, & no possibility of happiness till that state of affairs is over. . . . I should be infinitely happy if we could get back to having only each other."  Prior to Alice, Russell had enjoyed a long string of affairs with other women, too, and, as a consequence, had "bec[o]me impotent with Dora."  If memory serves, his first wife Alys Pearsall Smith suffered from his infidelities as well.  Nor did Russell ever "learn his lesson".  Indeed, he "continued to treat marriage with . . . boulevardier superficiality" (42).

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