In the series Dialectics of the Sexes: no. 12
Du temps où je ne t’avais pas
J’amais la Nature comme un moine tranquille le Christ…
Fernando Pesssoa, Le berger amoureux
Obviously, then, from sources it has become clear that Iris Murdoch lusted for sex like ’t was porridge – or so the Dutch colloquial runs. Bailey, loyal spouse of the writer, philosopher and intensely adulterous Iris, commented gently:
The sexual act, after all, is inescapably ridiculous.
Now, this might be a matter of debate. Perhaps, one may not be able to dispute Beauty – after all, it resides in the eye of the beholder. Yet, a discussion on the quality of a work of art is certainly possible, provided the criteria used in the debate are drawn from those works.
Hans Bellmer – The Act
In the case of the sexual act we must acknowledge the possibility of certain couples ‘performing’ in a ridiculous manner, indeed. Other combines, however, could carry on in an admirably athletic, if not choreographic manner.
Whatever! The International New York Times saw fit to let one John Sutherland remark on the quote from courageous husband Bailey, given above, with the following:
The sexual act was anything but ridiculous for Iris Murdoch. Indeed, it may have been as important as writing itself.
Alas for Sutherland – unmistakably the lesser philosopher compared to Murdoch – something can be ultimately important, yet at the same time be ‘inescapably ridiculous’. Perhaps Iris, even during her bouts, may have laughed at her own indispensable physical shenanigans.
It must be said, though, that laughing does not benefit sexual excitement.
Sierksma, Haarlem 8.2.2016