This was not mere titillation, as a roller coaster ride might give, but a profound encounter with objects whose immense magnitude and implacable severity overwhelms us with despair at our own puniness
But that's where you suddenly feel the puniness
of your powers of prediction.
Surely, there is little future for a group whose most persuasive defense is not refutation of the vileness of its acts but rather a quip that the puniness
of the organization ensures the irrelevancy of its behavior.
Mumford, especially, can be seen as providing Wright with a precise blueprint through which Bigger could become "a symbol for all the larger things" when he desc ribes Ahab as embodying "the lonely heroic spirit, who declares himself a sovereign nature" (Golden 149-50), "the spirit of man, small and feeble, but purposeful, that pits its puniness
against [the blind, fatal, overpowering energies of existence] and its purpose against the blank senselessness of power" (125).
So to the extraordinarily ground-breaking Pathetique he imparted a strength of arm-muscle which recreated the puniness
of Beethoven's original piano; I'm not so sure about the wisdom of Donohoe's repeating the shock-horror introduction.
He had already overcome such stigma, however, when he was thrown out of his Gymnasium for "terroristic agitation." Armed with books, he compensated for his puniness
with the powerful rhetoric with which he pumped their revolutionary lessons into his fellow students.
About small states and heavy reliance on external markets there was less a prevailing theory than a prevailing prejudice - that puniness
entailed constraint, insecurity, and (barring extraordinary good luck) economic trouble.
Millgate is guilty of "facile Freudianism" and is taken to task in sarcastic sentences such as "Millgate, the academic, denies the misguided peasant his own afterthought, on his own novel...." "Certain modern critics" have sneered at Hardy's lack of astronomical knowledge in Two on a Tower, "But if you are too prosaic to be awed by the immensity of the universe and the comparative puniness
of human beings, you cannot appreciate the writings of someone who was." This sort of thing has a lively edge to it and definitely classes as Wit; it makes the reading of Hardy more pleasant in a way; but is it really the right tone for a serious biographer-critic to adopt?