Timeline of some events that might be relevant to our discussion of Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric and Peter Dimock’s George Anderson: A Love Song in Imperial Time

Some of the dates, persons, and events listed below are perhaps historical and others fictional. Presumably, an appropriate Historical Method would allow one to determine which are which.

1st or 2nd Millenium BC
Abram, living somewhere in Middle East, is given a directive by God to kill his own son as a demonstration of his “faith”. Abram prepares to do so, but at the last moment receives a new directive from God that his son can be spared and a ram sacrificed instead. As a result of this demonstration of his faith, Abram’s name is changed to Abraham, and he becomes the founding father of three major monotheistic religions that have survived to the present: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

John Locke publishes Two Treateses of Government

Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, appropriates/plagiarizes several passages from Two Treateses of Government while drafting the Declaration of Independence.

A slave named George Anderson is born in Virginia. As a young boy, George is forced to watch, along with his mother, as his older brother, Robert, is whipped to death by their owner, who is also a minister as well as the father of Robert.

At a meeting hall in Nantucket a young married man gives a talk at an abolitionist meeting. He describes remembering when he was a 6 year old slave watching “as his mother’s sister was suspended, half naked from a hook, to be whipped for his master’s rage and pleasure.”

A young Danish writer, Soren Kierkegaard, while undergoing a personal crises involving a break-off of an engagement with his fiancee, writes Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric using a pseudonym ‘Johannes de silentio’. On the surface, the book is a theological colloquy on the topic of “faith” discussed in the context of Abraham’s willingness to kill his own son. The book can also be interpreted as a disguised love letter of sorts to his former fiance.

Civil War Ends

[unspecified year, sometime after 1865]
George Anderson declares, “I did not cast off the chains of slavery at the time of the surrender, they fell off [later at a camp meeting during which I found my Savior].”

Theo Fales grandfather returned from WWI, never to be the same. More generally, Theo tells us that his father and fathers before him fought in wars, and that they were all too willing to do what they were told.

April 6, 1925
An article about George Anderson is published in the Trenton New Jersey State Gazette, based on an interview by a reporter named Marion C. MacRobert when George is 108 years old,.

Charles Jason Frears, future musician and composer is born.

Charles Jason Frears, now 12 years old watches his father die of cancer. He stops talking for a year. This period of his life has a strong influence on his later musical compositions.

Judith Takes, future mistress of Charles Jason Frears, and future mother of Derek Frears, is born.

[date uncertain, but probably in 1940s]
Theo Fales is born. His father is a minister. Nine months before he was born, his older brother had died (cause of death not specified). His mother is so distraught that she can not care for Theo, so he is given over to the care of a Jamaican nurse named Melisandre Chandless. Theo later has a memory/vision of her standing in doorway while he hid behind his mother’s dress. His Mother’s dress had a design of marching elephants on it. Melisandre asks Theo, “How are you?” Theo’s mother will not let her come in through the door.

Property rights to Charles Jason Frears musical compositions from this period later end up owned by NCI where Theo Fales works.

September, 1963
An affair begins between Judith Takes and Charles Jason Frears on his birthday in a nightclub where he is performing.

Mary Joscelyn takes a job at McLaren Books where Theo Fales works.

Derek Frears, illegitimate son of Judith Takes and Charles Jason Freers is born.

Charles Jason Frears dies at age 40.

[presumably in early 1970s although date not specified]
Theo Fales and David Kallen are undergraduate classmates at Harvard.

Judith Takes enters graduate program in American History at Yale studying under Professor Charles Quick.

Theo Fales enters graduate program in American History at Yale also studying under Professor Charles Quick. He gets to know Judith Takes, and on at least one occasion babysits Derek. Theo is already familiar with Charles Jason Frears’ music during this period. As part of his graduate studies, Theo reads newspaper article about George Anderson for first time.

Theo Fales sees white woman with black son and is momentarily enraged. Then discovers, to his shame, that the woman is Judith Takes with her son Derek.

Spring 1984
Theo Fales becomes acquiring editor at McLaren Books. He attends History Conference in Lexington, Ky and while there goes to a strip club. Watches a black woman dancer named Jesse Bishop dance “naked and contemptuously” in front of 6 white men. When they leave, Theo has her dance for him and later that night goes to her home and watches her son, Robert sleeping. He is convinced that she is his “one true love”, but when he goes back to her home the next day he does not have the courage to knock on her door and declare his love.

[mid 1980s]
Judith Takes takes a job at Concord Teaching College.

President Reagan signs Convention Against Torture.

Convention Against Torture ratified by Senate.

[date uncertain but probably ~1994]
Theo Fales marries and has an infant daughter named Lily.

McLaren Books bought out by NCI.

Mary Joscelyn, an employee of McLaren Books dies on a Sunday afternoon at age 65. Theo attends her funeral and has a vision that changes his life. He shares the vision with his boss and friend, Owen Corless, and then demands that Corless reciprocate by sharing one of his own visions with Theo. Owen refuses to comply, and their relationship is never quite the same again.

August, 2002
Bush administration writes memo authorizing torture.

July 5, 2004
George Bush quote, “Freedom from torture is an inalienable right.”

December 2004
Following Abu Ghraib, information about 2002 memo authorizing torture becomes public. A new memo is written to replace it. This memo states that torture is not authorized, but a footnote 8, authored by David Kallen, asserts that nothing that happened between 2002 and 2004 violates anything stated in 2004 memo. David Kallen wrote this footnote to the memo, perhaps under pressure from David Addington or someone else in VP Cheney’s office, after having personally undergone a session of waterboarding.

Theo Fales, working at NCI, edits memoir by former CIA Director, Frederick Avery. Book becomes a best seller. In conversations with Frederick, Theo learns about what his former Harvard undergraduate colleague, David Kallen, had done.

Theo separates from wife sometime during this period and enters a period of personal crisis. Some signs of a mental instability have been made apparent by some of Theo’s thoughts and actions at earlier points in his life, but now he begins a more obvious downward spiral into mental and emotional imbalance, perhaps madness. He is forced to take a leave of absence from NCI, and now spends most of his days in the Reading Room in Hollander Library.

Sometime in this same period, Theo also begins participating in a “method” that he bases loosely on a religious meditation method used by Jesuits.

July 13, 2008
Theo Fallen sees Donald Rumsfeld but fails to carry out a citizens arrest.

Judith Takes dies, age 70. While going through her papers, Theo discovers a manuscript in Judith’s handwriting that appears to be original lyrics of one of Charles Jason Freers’ compositions, Light Years. This could have legal implications in terms of who has rights to substantial royalties (NCI or Derek Freers). Theo has removed copy of this document from the archives without telling anyone yet.

Theo Fales hears Leda Carot Rivers sing Light Years during her audition to be a resident fellow at the Charles Jason Freers Memorial American Music Archive and Performance Center. After having heard only the first few notes, Theo knows that Leda is his one true love. He sends her a letter declaring his love on February 10. Theo also starts composing a letter to David Kallen. In this letter, Theo invites David to meet with him on June 19 at the dedication of the Charles Jason Freers Center, and also asks David to engage with him in his “method” prior to the meeting. The method includes engaging in a colloquy about “fathers killing sons” along with other topics, and also involves composing a work of music. Theo reassures David at several points in the letter that he is making this request “in good faith”. Some amount of intrusive thoughts pertaining to Theo’s past history and current psychological/emotional state also show up in the letter.

February 26: Author Peter Dimock publishes Theo Fales’ letter in the form of a novel titled, George Anderson: A Love Song in Imperial Time.

September 10: Tacoma Retired Mens’ Bookclub met and discussed these two books.


About Ron Boothe

I am a Professor Emeritus at Emory University, currently living in Tacoma Washington USA.
This entry was posted in 2013 Selections, Fear and Trembling, George Anderson: Notes for a Love Song in Imperial Times. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Timeline of some events that might be relevant to our discussion of Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling: A Dialectical Lyric and Peter Dimock’s George Anderson: A Love Song in Imperial Time

  1. Mohsen Mirghanbari says:

    Oh boy for once I agree with David, however, whether humanist or not, pestilence is a dream
    one dreams against another, thus avoiding all precautions to only fulfill ones own dreams.
    “For Whom The Bells Toll”, stay tuned.


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