6 times in 6 posts
Surplice is the last of the three delectable mountains. The first part of the chapter illustrates this beacon on the road to the celestial city by comparing him to Judas. Judas you can know because he has no real depth. Surplice is not knowable in some important way. And in this way he is like Cummings' idea of the divine.
Surplice scratches his back “(exactly like a bear) on the wall…or in the cour. Speaking to no one, sunning his soul…When there is labour to do he works like a dog…he is intensely religious, religious with a terrible and exceedingly beautiful and absurd intensity...reading his prayer-book upside down; turning with enormous delicacy the thin difficult leaves, smiling to himself as he sees and does not read…”
After the descriptions of Zulu’s somatic style of communication, this description of Surplice’s reaction to the book as a “body” rather than as a group of words, is not surprising.
Surplice knows nothing and takes delight in everything. He is what is known as a Holy Fool.
I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.