|[a] Sensing ending RF|
And, as we get back into the swing of things with our endings, beginnings, and middles posts, let's really mix things up by looking at the opening pages of Professor Kermode's little book on endings.
|[b] Frank RF|
You remember the golden bird in Yeats's poem—it sang of what was past and passing and to come, and so interested a drowsy emperor. In order to do that, the bird had to be 'out of nature'; so to speak humanly of becoming and knowing is the task of pure being, and this is humanly represented in the poem by an artificial bird. 'The artifice of eternity' is a striking periphrasis for 'form,' for the shapes which console the dying generations. In this respect it makes little difference—though it makes some—whether you believe the age of the world to be six thousand years or or five thousand million years, whether you think time will have a stop or that the world is eternal; there is still a need to speak humanly of life's importance in relation to it—a need in the moment of existence to belong, to be related to a beginning and to an end...
I begin by discussing fiction of the End—about ways in which, under varying existential pressures, we have imagined the ends of the world. This, I take it, will provide clues to the ways in which fictions, whose ends are consonant with origins, and in concord, however unexpected, and their precedents, satisfy our needs. So we begin with Apocalypse, which ends, transforms, and is concordant.
 Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), 3-5.
Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending. New York: Oxford University Press, 1966.