a philosophical expedition to Abissinia
…the judgement that someone is unliterary is like the judgement ‘This man is not in love’, whereas the judgement that my taste is bad is more like ‘This man is in love, but with a frightful woman’. And just as the mere fact that a man of sense and breeding loves a woman we dislike […]
So I was reading Paul Fussell’s book about travel, Abroad. Of course it’s not just about travel, though he does spend some thirty-odd (or more or less, I’ve returned it to the library and cannot refer to it now) pages lamenting the impossibility of true travel1 in this degraded age of tourism, it’s about literary […]
Muriel Barbery. The Elegance of the Hedgehog & Gourmet Rhapsody. trans. Alison Anderson. New York: Europa, 2008/2009. I’ve stayed in much richer ones than that. I’ve stayed in one so rich that when you pulled the lavatory-plug it played a tune… Rich people – you have to be sorry for them. They haven’t the slightest […]
After a while books grow matter of fact like everything else and we always think enviously of the days when they were new and wonderful and strange. That’s a part of existence. We lose our first keen relish for literature just as we lose it for ice-cream and confectionery. The taste grows older, wiser and […]
on architecture, art, busts, and weight
In the world of literature and art, Goldsmith and Johnson had gone; Cowper was not yet much known; the most prominent poets were Hayley and Darwin; the most distinguished prose-writer, Gibbon. […] Miss Burney, afterwards Madame D’Arblay, surprised the reading world with her entertaining, but somewhat vulgar novels; and Mrs. Inchbald, Mrs. Charlotte Smith, and […]
Virginia Woolf, ‘Four Figures: Beau Brummell’ from The Second Common Reader.
Janice A. Radway. A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire. Chapel Hill, NC: University of NC Press, 1997. Radway’s book, along with her earlier Reading the Romance, is a classic of readership studies. It is organized into three broad sections (which will be summarized in greater detail below): a study […]
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