Back before our world changed, when I was working on a project for UC, once a week or so I’d stop by a used bookstore in Old Oakland, Friends of the Oakland Public Library. About half of the time I would forget to take my reading glasses.
One day I saw a hardback copy of The Sacred and Profane and wondered what had happened to the paperback version by Mircea Eliade that I used to own. I bought the book. On a bookshelf at home, I squeezed it in between The Golden Bough by Joseph Frazier and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. I didn’t look at it for months. When I did, there was a surprise.
The book was written by Iris Murdoch and I had been so convinced it was by Mircea Eliade that I hadn’t noticed after the word Profane, there were two more words, “love machine.” I laughed. I pondered the title and decided it must be a reference to one or more human beings. We are love machines, no?
She stole the title of one of Titian’s paintings and plastered the word “machine” at the end. It must be good as it won the Whitbread novel award. I’ll crack it open.