Sunday, June 3, 2012

Confessions of Felix Roberts

I hope I may be permitted a general observation:  that person is fortunate in whose cradle some good fairy has placed the gift of responding to pleasure, a perpetual responsiveness in even the most unlikely circumstances.  No doubt this gift involves a heightening of responsiveness in general, the reverse of insensitivity, and therefore brings with it much pain which others are spared.  But I cheerfully insist that the increase in joy more than compensates for that disadvantage -- if it is one -- and it is this gift of responsiveness to the smallest and even the most commonplace pleasures that has always made me consider truly appropriate my first and real Christian name, Felix, about which my godfather Schimmelpreester felt so bitter.

Excerpt:  Thomas Mann, Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man, The Early Years (trans. Denver Lindley), New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.