Agreeable eye.

an eudæmonistarchives

Archive for 2002

7.01.02 – Monday

Have spent much of the weekend in bed with a cold and only now have the inclination to write even a little bit. Watched the DVD of Jan Svankmajer’s Alice (1988) this morning. It’s a strange film and scary, all ominous puppetry and dark innocence. It started snowing last night and is now snowing again, […]

8.01.02 – Tuesday

Went last night to the Pleasant St. Theater and saw The Royal Tenenbaums on M’s recommendation. Anyway, it was enjoyable, much as reading Sartre or Pound in a bus station with the cold smell of dirt, stale coffee, and old cigarettes is fun, I suppose. It was uplifting, a tale of redemption, &c. Walked home […]

10.01.02 – Thursday

I wonder if it isn’t just a certain arrogance, quaedam insolentia, that marks the difference. There’s a nuance to that — it’s not just an overweening sense of superiority, it’s also an innocence, an ignorance, an inexperience. Yes, I suppose.

14.01.02 – Monday

Returned some few books to the library, thank heavens, and read a few articles I’d meant to peruse in November. Still feel vastly, horribly behind — only the cruelty of my own ambition forces me on (which can be a good or a bad thing, as you will). Speaking of ambition — St. Augustine: hmmm. […]

18.01.02 – Friday

With continuing secularity: watched Psycho (1960) for the first time (ever) yesterday; it was better than its reputation would have one believe. J. Leigh was satisfactory, but really, Anthony Perkins… need I say more? I would imagine it would be great fun to watch with Jules Dassin’s Phaedra (1962), in which he plays another troubled […]

19.01.02 – Saturday

It seems a great pity to me that more people do not use proper handkerchiefs — as, for instance, the old man sneezing into the shrubberies. Went for a long walk through the snowfall this evening, with the sole intent of ambling once the videos were returned. Snow accumulated quickly in my communist shoes. I […]

22.01.02 – Tuesday

Have been thinking about that biography of St. Augustine, particularly such few paragraphs as I marked out for future reference, e.g.: Augustine was a great intellect, with a healthy respect for the achievements of human reason. Yet he was obsessed by the difficulties of thought, and by the long, coercive processes, reaching back into the […]

30.01.02 – Wednesday

Just so you know, this post has been edited. Vergil is a hack. Homer (being collective) had it right; I don’t care if Iuno foments mishap for that man so blatantly remarkable for pietas (face it, Aeneas is a square — that’s what having a destiny does to people). I’d rather spend time with some […]

1.02.02 – Friday

Of interest to me today: Nations with land bordering China, clockwise from lower right: Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, North Korea. Nations with land bordering the US, clockwise from lower right: Mexico, Canada. Pushing great sheets of ice off of cars; they slide so beautifully, cracking into […]

2.02.02 – Saturday

Read Zelda Fitzgerald’s novel; one gets the sense of scene and character, but the plot does not hang together particularly well and the flourishes can be heavy-handed. Immensely clever, but lacking something, some artistry, some polish, some ineffable thing, which might have made it very good indeed. Poor kid. Listening to Haydn string quartets as. […]

4.02.02 – Monday

Granulated brain, vocabulary running free like an hour-glass’s sands. To study, to know a thing, is to internalize it and make it one’s own; in short, to memorize it. In a different age, the classical education required massive rote memorization of poetry, prose — you know, the classics. Everything then becomes allusive, words acquire a […]

6.02.02 – Wednesday

Overheard conversation: ‘Yea, honey, you know I don’t love you, but I just want to f–k you,’ and you know I’m just saying, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re not even going to get to do that,’ if you know what I mean.’ ‘Yea, I totally understand. They always try to control relationships; they’re so selfish. I […]

8.02.02 – Friday

Received a curious e-mail today, subject line: Bread is Now in Stock. Had this been from some purveyor of foodstuffs I should not have been surprised, but as the message came from Powell’s Books, it seemed more than a little odd that they should advertise the arrival of baked goods into their storeroom. Intrigued, I […]

9.02.02 – Saturday

Listening to The Marriage of Figaro (broadcast live from the Met). Which reminds me of one of my less savory moments (which, naturally, I shall relate): having waited outside of the other Met for nearly half an hour (for I am notoriously prompt, if by prompt one means invariably too early — you know, the […]

11.02.02 – Monday

Fevered. Sit in bed and scribble and sip water and stare out at the falling snow. Sibilance. A certain slowness of wit.

12.02.02 – Tuesday

It arrived. ‘With reference to your application for graduate study at Oxford, I am glad to inform you that the Faculty of Ancient History has provisionally agreed to admit you as an M.Phil. student with effect from Michaelmas Term 2002.’ To change the subject. Someone once complained that students ought not to set aside their […]

13.02.02 – Wednesday

Stopping by the grocers for a carton of yogurt, I chanced to be behind a small red-haired woman who held up her young son for the clerk’s inspection. Aforementioned Son steadfastly averted his eyes from aforementioned Clerk, and snivelled. ‘Say you’re sorry. We’re not going until you say you’re sorry. I’m telling you…’ Son began […]

21.02.02 – Thursday

The house where I grew up was small and angular, striving for modernity but never quite attaining it. A model structure of middle class suburbia. Just down the street was another house built from the same plan; it was painted a different color. I always wondered, as I cycled past, what those people in that […]

22.02.02 – Friday

One would not hesitate to call her pretty; I wouldn’t, at any rate. Neither would one doubt that she was what some might describe as ‘a woman of opinion’ much as one might say that Bertie Wooster’s Aunt Agatha, in the Wodehouse stories, is ‘a woman of opinion.’ It should come as little surprise, then, […]

23.02.02 – Saturday

The smell of roses; melting ice; a warm room. Also. Books; dust; wool; ink; the faint metallic, mechanical savor of a fountain pen. Can one compose oneself? A lack of order. Unsavory.

studium

not quite ready to study

27.02.02 – Wednesday

Hmm. Tired. Woke this morning to the smell of perfectly toasted bread and scrambled eggs — from someone else’s apartment. Overheard: ‘I only like art that I agr-ee with…’ — the words ‘art’ and ‘agree’ being intoned through the nose. ‘And yeah, like, Harvard is really cool and everything, but I just don’t know… and, […]

28.02.02 – Thursday

Note: I can no longer see where the pillow was stained when you spilled coffee on it.

03.03.02 – Sunday

Sometimes I go into bookstores to fortify myself with a few judicious excerpts from favored novels, viz.: ‘Persuaded as Miss Bingley was that Darcy admired Elizabeth, this was not the best method of recommending herself; but angry people are not always wise; and in seeing him at last look somewhat nettled, she had all the […]

04.03.02 – Monday

Yea verily it was indeed cold, and God, seeing the toes of the many were ruddy in hue, put socks upon the face of the earth, that the toes of the many might be covered. The Earth, however, was thoroughly ticked off by this and called God a chauvinist, littering pig. Thereupon God sore repented […]

05.03.02 – Tuesday

From Mo Tzu: ‘If there were a man who, on tasting a little bit of bitterness, called it bitter but, on tasting a lot, called it sweet, we would conclude that he could not distinguish between bitter and sweet’ (p. 51, §17). ‘This is simply to destroy what one does not have enough of for […]

06.03.02 – Wednesday

The professor wept today in Latin class; over the death of Priam. I must admit, for once it is poetry. Here. Priam has just lobbed a spear at Pyrrhus, but it caught on the boss of the shield and dangles there, useless: Cui Pyrrhus: ‘Referes ergo haec et nuntius ibis Pelidae genitori; illi mea tristia […]

07.03.02 – Thursday

This is the way things are, then. Writing mediocre, unimportant essays, listening to Verdi and hoping they’ll all just stop singing & die already. Either that, or reading Boccaccio’s Famous Women (from the new I Tatti Renaissance Library at Harvard UP). Which I enjoy. A great deal. However. It is procrastination. Yes. How reading medieval […]

09.03.02 – Saturday

10 a.m. — overcast — damp concrete and asphalt — buildings and cars reduced to slick darkness. The taste of old coffee settles, permanent, in my mouth, ashen, dull. I woke up late and my only desire was to read about history — Chinese history, architectural history: history. Anyway. Then, after noon. Appeareth the sun, […]

12.03.02 – Tuesday

Searching. The heaviness behind the eyes — which at present comes of wanting to read. Waiting. I would like tomorrow to be done with, complete, perfected. That seems to me the most horrible thing a person could wish — the negation of possibilities. Aimless drifting. The steadfast refusal of the orders to resolve. Crumbling. Tottering. […]

14.03.02 – Thursday

Slept late. How much information is behind those two little words: slept late. Falling asleep just after nine, waking just before one, then sleeping still more until seven-thirty. It sounds appalling, very like laziness; but it isn’t. Suffering from a blight of coffee-stains. The surface of one of the tables is, if not quite Olympian […]

15.03.02 – Friday

Most mornings, when I wake, I stumble to the kitchen to make myself an espresso. This has, by now, become a habit so ingrained that the very smell of strong coffee causes me to feel as though I were wearing pajamas and had just rolled out of bed. It’s a comfortable feeling. If I were […]

17.03.02 – Sunday

And when young dawn with her rose-red fingers walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill, the night had waned and with it their allotted time among the shades. Of course we merely allude to avoid making any statement of our own. Everything else is indeterminate. Notes of wandering scientist: It seems sad that […]

19.03.02 – Tuesday

And god said let there be work. And there was work. And then god said, no, really, let there be good work. And then the workers complained that that wasn’t in their contract. They decided to go on strike. Union management sat in circles, each rubbing their palms in greedy satisfaction. And it was good.

26.03.02 – Tuesday

Now there’s a word I don’t like: spiritual. Heard in these contexts: ‘I’m not religious or anything, but I am very spiritual…’ -or- ‘yeah, you know, he’s all spiritual and shit.’ Spritual people supposedly tap into the grand essence that is, the great non-materialistic who-knows-what, all without the aid of organized religion. In general, they […]

28.03.02 – Thursday

Woke this morning to the chiding of the sun. One always knows that it shall be a bad—or, at the very least, trying—day when distant instances of extreme combustion seem to have gained the power of speech. Moving on, however, to other things. Why is it that, as I read some few of Aemilia Lanyer’s […]

29.03.02 – Friday

Spent an hour-and-a-half wandering around the Bridge St. Cemetery yesterday afternoon, obviously taking pictures. Yes, I felt rather conspicuous, being, as I was, obtrusively alive. However. It was sunny, relatively warm, and faintly breezy—the sun was still a few hours from setting and an amiable solitude had settled over everything and if I’d had a […]

31.03.02 – Sunday

Still reading Waley’s translation of Genji, with which we ‘are not best pleased,’ to borrow Waley’s idiom. (There are also several printers’ errors sprinkled liberally throughout the text, tho’ in our generous spirit we pretend not to mind them — but I hear there’s a new translation on the market…) However: A simple Chinese verse […]

3.04.02 – Wednesday

Sweltering. Not that it’s warm or anything—just my poor brain tottering under the weight of the semester’s coming end. Even so. How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!

8.04.02 – Monday

There are moments when in connection with the sensitively imaginative or morbidly anachronistic—the mentality assailed and the same time not of any great strength and the problem confronting it of sufficient force and complexity—the reason not actually toppling from its throne, still totters or is warped or shaken—the mind befuddled to the extent that for […]

16.04.02 – Tuesday

A funny color has settled on the trees, a noxious youthful green promising both the plenitude of fall and the mishaps of summer. Idle much of the morning. And the rest of the day, too. O mind of man that does not know the end or future fates, nor how to keep the measure when […]

23.04.02 – Tuesday

This gives me the shivers, because I don’t think it’s actually about painting: In these places, though the stroke may be incomplete, yet the intention is carried out. Only when you realize that there are two styles of painting, the free and the detailed, may you join in discussions about painting. – Chang Yen-Yüan This, […]

28.04.02 – Sunday

History is not a discipline but something that is not yours — which is the main definition of beauty. Hence, the sentiment, for it is not going to love you back. – Joseph Brodsky (‘Homage to Marcus Aurelius’) How tiresome it must be, to reduce the essential story of the world to nothing by a […]

2.05.02 – Thursday

The workmen spoke in iambic pentameter, a swift and toneless sequence of stressed and unstressed, not languid or melodic, but with a choppy sharpness, unconscious precision and imprecise annoyance. Curiously, the word ‘fuck’ could take any metrical position, as the sentiment or the phrase required.

4.05.02 – Saturday

‘What’s all this about sin, eh?’ ‘That,’ I said, very sick. ‘Using Ludwig van like that. He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music.’ And then I was really sick and they had to bring a bowl that was in the shape of like a kidney. ‘Music,’ said Dr Brodsky, like musing. ‘So […]

5.05.02 – Sunday

Time passes with a measured and memorable wing during the first period of a sojourn in a new place, among new characters and new manners. Every person, every incident, every feeling touches and stirs the imagination. The restless mind creates and observes at the same time. Indeed there is scarcely any popular tenet more erroneous […]

8.05.02 – Wednesday

A man’s power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his love of truth, and his desire to communicate it without loss. The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language. When simplicity of character and the […]

9.05.02 – Thursday

No, never use a girl as the point of projection, dear! Girls are still traditionally supposed to be idiots. (2001.87, p. 227) And who was it that said ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp’ and where (and why) on earth did I hear of it?

13.05.02 – Monday

Suppers are not bad, if we have not dined; but restless nights naturally follow hearty suppers after full dinners. Indeed, as there is a difference in constitutions, some rest well after these meals; it costs them only a frightful dream and an apoplexy. Nothing is more common in the newspapers, than instances of people who, […]

14.05.02 – Tuesday

Another means of preserving health, to be attended to, is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great mistake, the sleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds surrounded by curtains. No outward air that may come in to you is so unwholesome as the unchanged air, […]

15.05.02 – Wednesday

Am cutting up useless old photographs into tidy little squares, whether to make a mosaic or to rid myself of memories, I cannot really say. The little blocks of color, near one inch squared, look orderly and unnatural on the un-vacuumed carpet. Some people remake themselves everyday. I admire their energy, for even with a […]

17.05.02 – Friday

Reading Halliwell’s book on Aristotle’s Poetics (University of Chicago Press, 1999): mimêsis, katharsis, etc. I paced across the deep red of the carpet, carefully keeping within the wool boundary, my attention buried in the book; to leave the rug would be to fall into the abyss of daily life — and also to risk running […]

19.05.02 – Sunday

Sunshine and late rising, then baroque. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, […]

21.05.02 – Tuesday

Laundry. The sun shining brightly, but with high clouds. She stood straight and calm, Her somewhat narrow forehead braided tight As if for taming accidental thoughts From possible pulses… – E. B. Browning Aurora Leigh

24.05.02 – Friday

Quickly, quickly to college. Mortification. The dean read out more than five hundred names within the close confines of the lecture hall — we sat and chattered and waited. CLASS PICTURE — a dully composed image of a people who can scarce bear the sight of each other sitting very close together and squinting into […]

25.05.02 – Saturday

Awoke at 4:40 this morning owing to the heat of the room and the itchiness of my feet, on which the mosquitoes had seen fit to bestow their generous attentions. Today’s events will run as follows: up moderately early, read, breakfast, partake of massive quantities of milky tea, drive to college, attend the social events […]

28.05.02 – Tuesday

Warrington and Paley had been competitors for University honours in former days, and had run each other hard; and everybody said now that the former was wasting his time and energies, whilst all people praised Paley for his industry. There may be doubts, however, as to which was using his time best. The one could […]

29.05.02 – Wednesday

It starts in the morning with laundry. No — that’s not quite it. It starts when they knock on my door at eight a.m. and I am not yet awake; in truth, I had opened my eyes to face the world at a quarter to seven, but the world at that point seemed irrelevant to […]

30.05.02 – Thursday

At Oxford his personality expanded and developed in a remarkable way. Never in the strict sense of the word a clever man—even by the academic standard (he took only a third in Mods. and a second in Greats, and worked hard for them, too)—he became an extraordinarily well-educated one. His passion for literature was intense. […]

31.05.02 – Friday

When you want to make money by Pegasus (as he must, perhaps, who has no other saleable property), farewell poetry and aerial flights: Pegasus only rises now like Mr. Green’s balloon, at periods advertised beforehand, and when the spectators’ money has been paid. Pegasus trots in harness, over the stony pavement, and pulls a cart […]

7.06.02 – Friday

In a case like this, it would have been a godsend, I thought, had either of the three gentlemen, Captains Burton, Speke, or Grant, given some information on these points; had they devoted a chapter upon, ‘How to get ready an Expedition for Central Africa.’ The purpose of this chapter, then, is to relate how […]

11.06.02 – Tuesday

When I was around five years old, my father took a sabbatical from the institution and drove the family in a brown Ford van throughout the western United States. We stopped at numerous national parks — Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, even the Badlands: you get the picture. My grandparents on my […]

17.06.02 – Monday

The greatest pleasure I find in life is reading. In the past few weeks I have found much longed-for enrichment in such a quantity of books as I had thought myself unable to consume. Yet it is true that one hungry will, if possible, eat and the thirsty will, given the chance, drink—so I must […]

28.06.02 – Friday

‘I can always tell when you’re reading somewhere in the house,’ my mother used to say. ‘There’s a special silence, a reading silence.’ I never heard it, this extra degree of hush that somehow travelled through walls and ceilings to announce that my seven-year-old self had become about as absent as a present person could […]

A Footnote (20.07.2002)

In what later became a notorious media event, librarian Marvin S________ was found to be breeding bookworms in the library’s basement. When questioned by authorities, Mr S________ declared: It is for the cause of science; and if I am permitted to advance the light of understanding even one inch against the dark of ignorance, my […]

N°. 7

Finally it became a matter of principle, this standing about doing nothing. I watched and waited and wondered when the flies would land, when the process of decay would become incontrovertible. The inexplicability of it almost startled me; but it was, I think, beautiful.

23 July 2002

St. Someone, Kathedrale, Dresden

Wednesday, 24 July 2002

They live on the top floor of the house on the corner; there are windows on two sides of their apartment, and the roof slants steeply. They have no balcony. He has long, dark blond hair, which he usually wears in a ponytail. He is in his early thirties and works in a shop, selling […]

Lustral Basins, or the Archaeology of Remembrance

We stood in the sun, which was sharp and swimmingly white, though not quite directly overhead. The only thing brighter than the sunlight was the dust, which swirled and eddied low around our feet, stirred by the rare breezes. The olive trees and other low, scrubby plants were soaked in this dust, and seemed nearly […]

29.08.2002

VW, rain, Dresden

summer’s end

Hauptstr., Dresden Neustadt(4 September 2002) The fountain in Albertplatz is no longer populated by naked children; it is too cold. The couples who sit together on the benches are older, in their late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and so forth. The benches themselves look tired, their once glossy paint worn dull by the rain, the […]

Note to Self (1)

15 September 2002.

Elenchus

Socrates was married, you know, and his wife, Xanthippe, was a shrew. Perhaps that’s why he liked to sit in the cobbler’s shop and talk with young aristocrats about the meaning of words. ‘The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything.’ How many a man has said that, in the course of […]

A view (1)

sunset, haze, Greyfriars.

Matriculation

At the top of the theater, the benches are steep, unpadded, unbacked. The voice of the Vice-Chancellor rises dimly droning, and the broken light from the windows moves across the faces of the students on the (padded) seats below.

Whole food

The child was small, with glasses, and carried a bright bouquet of Gerbera daisies wrapped in cellophane. He offered a pint of ice cream to his mother. Mother: No, dear, put it back; we don’t need ice cream today. Child: Why not?

Citation (1)

a quiz…

The relevant point

How Rome came to acquire a monopoly of Aeneas, how his mythical connection with neighbouring Latin cities, especially Lavinium and Alba, grew up over the succeeding centuries, and how the chronological complication resulting from an attempt to harmonize the rival legends of Aeneas (traditionally c. 1175 BC) and Romulus (traditionally c. 750 BC) were resolved […]

Windmill

Walking through the rain, avoiding umbrellas—nodding, sleepy, thwack, thwack, thwack of damp shoes on pavement yet damper. Publius Clodius Pulcher, like the emperor Gaius, is alleged to have been quite close to his sisters. Cicero did not like him—Clodius, that is; he never met Gaius.

Miasma

How to explain it. The impermeable, invisible barrier which seeps between people, flowing between them so gradually that they do not notice until its inspissation is undeniable and no community is possible between them. Smoke and steam rolling off the slanting roofs atop the restaurants of Cowley, rolling down into the lamplight.

The Topless Towers of Ilium

Archaeologists are a fiesty bunch. Take, for instance, this argument about Troy. How many people, really, would exchange insults about the size of ancient Troy? How big was Troy, really? Huge? Perhaps. Just the citadel? Maybe. Can we say? Depends about what era you’re talking about, I suppose. Like most cities, what once was Troy […]

Periodical (1)

[Bloom] claims to be of the school of aesthetic critics, remarking that, in an ideological age, ‘I feel quite alone these days in defending the autonomy of the aesthetic.’ Yet he himself doesn’t seem to have a clue about how to produce anything approaching the aesthetically pleasing in his own writing. In an interview in […]

In the Garden

Books take up space, and libraries, being confined by walls, must occasionally weed the shelves of injudicious pamphlets and books unborrowed through the centuries. That this should astonish or dismay comes as something of a surprise. That, however, is not my theme. I would like to return to the metaphor of libraries as gardens. It […]

A view (2)

toss & turn.

It was the Distance

For no good reason I’ve been reading The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson (ed. W. Martin, CUP: 2002). It is somewhat refreshing to find books which do not concern Cicero. And it is interesting to step outside the charmed circle of academics and then to peer back in, as though through windows. For one can […]

The Histories of Books

In order to write the much-lamented Cicero essay, I happened to check two small pamphlets out of the library, both Teubner editions of short works by Sallust (or an anonymous author in the style of Sallust). Both had been edited by A. Kurfess (who also edited the Teubner edition of Sallust’s other works [1956]) and […]

Litterae Humaniores

I know it is in bad taste to quote from one’s own letters, but this really is too absurd: Am reading some of the letters exchanged by Mommsen and Wilamowitz, the latter always offering to be of service in scrounging up inscriptions. I do wish I could totter about Italy complaining about the lack of […]

Pacem supplices petunt

Explorers of the past are never quite free. The past is their tyrant. It forbids them to know anything which it has not itself, consciously or otherwise, yielded to them. – Marc Bloch (Apologie pour l’Histoire, ou Métier d’Historien, (194–) From the translation of P. Putnam, p. 59. * Livy II.49.12, of the Veientes in […]

Citation (2)

playing sortes virgilianae with Middlemarch

A view (3)

sunset, Greyfriars.

Codes of Misconduct

‘Entrance into the sanctuary is allowed: forty days after the miscarriage of a woman, a dog, or a donkey; forty-one days after sexual intercourse with a virgin; forty-one days after a death in the family; seven days after washing a corpse; three days after entering [the house where a death has occurred?]; three days after […]

Citation (3)

from The Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry

Found Objects

England, 12 November, 7:24 a.m. When I remember something I would rather forget, or when some unpleasant action or unwitting stupidity of mine forces its way forward into the present from the past, I think I don’t feel well. Oh happy past, which can so disorder the present. A people that grows accustomed to sloppy […]

Wednesday

Hellenistic figure of a mime Louvre (from Rostovtzeff, SEHHW) Seminar (1) Of John the Baptist: ‘he was as clean as a baby.’ ‘Stupidity is also a blemish.’ Rapid, fluid interchange: ‘ ‘No, not boring…’ ‘You have too good manners to say that.’ ‘Or indeed to feel it, in such a case as this.’ ’ The […]

Inscriptiones Graecae

They took us into the store rooms of the Ashmolean, bright blue metal shelves crammed with funerary monuments, busts of Romans (or Sir Arthur Evans), and sculptures of every sort of absurdity. We are to look at inscriptions. And here we see an inscription from Smyrna; it is quite nice actually—the person carving it was […]

Hall

Entrance, chair, sun, shadow.

Note to Self (2)

17 November 2002.

Neither a borrower…

I have to remind myself it was only a book – mass-market paperback, pristine condition though bought used. I lent it to an acquaintance; I do not say she was a friend, because she was not. She was an acquaintance. At the time I would have compared her to a whirlwind, for wherever she went […]

Queries

Dear C, In response to your application ‘to be treated like a living, breathing human being for a change, and not some benumbed automaton’ we regret to inform you that all such positions are filled at the present time. This is by no means a reflection of your qualifications to be human. We have simply […]

Improbable places (1)

the room of Chinese paintings.

Improbable places (2)

the room of maps and diagrams.

The thing is

That it seems nothing is happening. I spend each and every day following the same routine, the dull rhythm of the week waxing and waning, more timely than the moon. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning, the darkness still swirling like the fog, I stumble, tumble down the stairs, make dark coffee and a […]

A view (4)

clouds (not quite at sunset).

Compendium academicorum

Within this field, which no single scholar can create but which each scholar receives and in which he then finds a place for himself, the individual researcher makes his contribution. Such contributions, even for the exceptional genius, are strategies of redisposing material within the field. Even the scholar who unearths a once-lost manuscript produces the […]

prescriptive

For words have a weight beyond their meaning, the sound of the stithy drawing measure from the iron of Elizabethan poetry, skirting the Joycean quicksilver to forge a something other than consciousness—a feeling, then, a fear. The chthonic sibilance and uneven lisp hammering out associations and leaving nothing but the need to hear.

Mysteriosa Femina

In an abrupt change of pace, I set aside the works of Walter Burkert just as he was about to show once and for all how human behavior really works, and read a mystery novel until all hours of the night. I had given up on the entire ‘reading in bed’ thing—there never seemed to […]

Taxonomy

So I’ve been trying to sort it out; the social life of my house-mates, I mean. Not that I’m interested. Because I’m not. But as a means of distraction. Diversion, that’s it. So there are three other girls. Well. Two girls, I would say, and one young woman, which may be too fine a distinction, […]

Citation (4)

Essays in Idleness

Twists & Turns

I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades Forever and forever when I move. How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! As though to breathe were life! Life […]

Annales

In the year were children born, were wars waged, and markets opened. In the year were ships sunk, were markets falling, were deserts crossed, was oil spilt more freely than wine. In the year were plagues driven through towns and cities, were roads built, were bridges burnt; in that year, too, were pestilences common and […]

Poetastery (1)

three limericks in honor of Diodorus Siculus.

Note to Self (3)

9 December 2002.

Locus Classicus

I am trying to find a way to explain this place, and failing completely. It’s not because the place is inconstant, or over-large, or complicated, or anything like that, but just that it is, in fact, so very simple that there is no way to explain it without making it seem more complicated than it […]

With the greatest of ease

Departure The British are a humorous people; on the coach to Heathrow the driver urged us to ‘notice, please, ladies and gentlemen, that your seats are equipped with seatbelts. As you no doubt are keenly aware, there have been a spate of road accidents involving buses. In one of the latest, five people died, fifty-five […]

Conundrum

Something about Kurt Weill. About Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and Fellini’s La Strada, about Der Blaue Engel or Byzantium. Also something about wishing that Richard Burton played the part of Humbert Humbert in Kubrick’s Lolita, that more people resembled Peter Sellers, that someone, soon, would write a really good experimental novel that was, at the same time, […]

Treasons, Strategems, &c.

‘Most of the people I like,’ she said, ‘listen to the same sort of music I do—it’s how we find out what we have in common.’ Most of the people I like do not listen to the same sort of music as I do—mainly, I think, because the sort of music I really like is […]

ego hoc feci mm–MMXVIII · cc 2000–2018 M.F.C.