Don’t Give a Shit About Tithonus!

Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man

“The title is, of course, a quotation from Tennyson’s poem ‘Tithonus.’ And by the way, while we’re on the subject – who was Tithonus?”

Silence. He looks from face to face. Nobody knows. Even Dreyer doesn’t know. And, Christ, how typical this is! Tithonus doesn’t concern them because he’s at two removes from their subject. Huxley, Tennyson, Tithonus. They’re prepared to go as far as Tennyson, but not one step farther. There their curiosity ends. Because, basically, they don’t give a shit…

“You seriously mean to tell me that none of you know who Tithonus was? That none of you could be bothered to find out? Well then, I advise you all to spend part of your weekend reading Graves’s Greek Myths, and the poem itself. I must say, I don’t see how anyone can pretend to be interested in a novel when he doesn’t even stop to ask himself what its title means.”

Francesco de Mura, Tithonus and Eos

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