His portrait when he was young.

“How could I be expelled?” Alessandro asked, never failing to be astonished that his mother, who had had no formal education, did not understand that getting rid of doctoral candidates was a process equivalent to starving a plant rather than obliterating it, and that it never took less than five or ten years.

— Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War

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3 thoughts on “His portrait when he was young.

  1. Actually, I did end up reading a fair bit of it on Google books (because all my Helprin is in Connecticut with the rest of my belongings), but I had originally done the search to try and remember the name of the fellow whose portrait Alessandro goes to see in Munich on the eve of the war. (It’s Bindo Altoviti.) That section (His Portrait When He Was Young) is what I always like to read by itself when I want to just dip into the book — it’s short and self-contained, very satisfying.
    Turns out the painting is now housed in the National Gallery of Art in D.C. Anyone want to take a train trip? I don’t think they serve schnitzel on Amtrak anyway, so we won’t miss the food.

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