By R. C. Zaehner
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Extra info for The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism
In every other respect, too, the conference was a failure. In Pelletier's opinion, perhaps the only thing of interest was a lecture given by an old professor from Berlin on the work of Arno Schmidt (here we have a German proper name ending in a vowel), a judgment shared by Espinoza and, to a lesser extent, by Morini. They spent the free time they had, which was ample, strolling the paltry (in Pelletier's opinion) sites of interest in Augsburg, a city that Espinoza also found paltry, and that Morini found only moderately paltry, but still paltry in the final analysis, while Espinoza and Pelletier took turns pushing the Italian's wheelchair since Morini wasn't in the best of health this time, but rather in paltry health, so that his two friends and colleagues considered that a little bit of fresh air would do him no harm, and in fact might do him good.
Pelletier, backed by Morini and Espinoza, went on the attack like Napoleon at Jena, assaulting the unsuspecting German Archimboldi scholars, and the downed flags of Pohl, Schwarz, and Borchmeyer were soon routed to the cafes and taverns of Bremen. The young German professors participating in the event were bewildered at first and then took the side of Pelletier and his friends, albeit cautiously. The audience, consisting mostly of university students who had traveled from Göttingen by train or in vans, was also won over by Pelletier's fiery and uncompromising interpretations, throwing caution to the winds and enthusiastically yielding to the festive, Dionysian vision of ultimate carnival (or penultimate carnival) exegesis upheld by Pelletier and Espinoza.
When Pelletier returned from Avignon at the end of 1994, when he opened the door to his apartment in Paris and set his bag on the floor and closed the door, when he poured himself a glass of whiskey and opened the drapes and saw the usual view, a slice of the Place de Breteuil with the UNESCO building in the background, when he took off his jacket and left the whiskey in the kitchen and listened to the messages on the answering machine, when he felt drowsiness, heaviness in his eyelids, but instead of getting into bed and going to sleep he undressed and took a shower, when wrapped in a white bathrobe that reached almost to his ankles he turned on the computer, only then did he realize that he missed Liz Norton and that he would have given anything to be with her at that moment, not just talking to her but in bed with her, telling her that he loved her and hearing from her lips that she loved him too.