Monday, 25 September 2000

Pathetic

Listening to:

Beethoven, piano sonata no. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 Pathétique. I wonder when it was that the word “pathetic” came to have its modern derogatory tone. I’m pretty confident that its use in 19th century English was similar to that in French. Beethoven actually gave this sonata its nickname, something he didn’t often do. (For example, the “Moonlight” and “Appassionata” sonatas both got their nicknames from other people.) I’m not sure who gave Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony the same nickname, but in any case, the use of the word is not meant to imply “feeble, helpless and incapable” in the unsympathetic (ooh, there goes the same word in disguise!) modern sense.

Maybe the modern world is fundamentally less tolerant of helplessness than it used to be.

Still reading:

John Byng, Rides round Britain. No progress with this over the weekend, I’m afraid. I did invade Russia in the Kishinev scenario of Panzer General II. I’ll have to write a game review of PG2 at some stage.

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