I dreamed I was in my study and heard a voice declaiming — “like an old-fashioned actor,” I thought — “Glory of the sky, who brought you down to me, cloudborne to earth?”
It’s a line I know well, from Book IX of the Aeneid, the words of Turnus addressing the goddess Iris. Too awestruck at the sight of this heavenly messenger to wait for an answer to his very important question, Turnus rashly vows, “I’ll obey this great presage, no matter who you are who call me.” In fact, Iris has been sent by an enemy, and the presage leads Turnus to his death.
My dreaming mind understood the voice to be asking who had brought Iris Murdoch’s book down from my shelf and, symbolically, down from the Empire State Building. (The original owner of the book, which I think I bought in Virginia Beach, purchased it at Penn Station, which is like a nine-minute walk from the ESB. I like to imagine the book has been inside the building itself.)
I looked up at the empty space on my shelf where The Philosopher’s Pupil had been, only to find that it was empty no longer. In its place was a very thick book bound in green leather with gold lettering on the spine. My first impression was that it looked like a Quran, but when I read the title, it was Narrative Reasoning.
As soon as I had read the title, I woke up.