By way of explanation. I wake up at five-thirty, tumble downstairs to make coffee, which I drink while translating my daily five-hundred lines of the Odyssey (looking out, like Matthew Arnold with the Greek Anthology, all the words I do not know). After attending to the merely corporeal, I go the library, climbing the stairs with a feeling of thirst, in my head the word repeating with each few steps ‘appetitive, appetitive, appetitive’ — this is strange, for I go to read my rations in books I do not like, noting salient points in outlines brilliant for their brevity (accusative with respect). I reward myself with a chapter or two of Arabia Deserta or a poem from The Gallery of Pigeons and imagine deaths for Dr. Livingstone. Then it is time for tea.
The afternoon I spend with Henry James in Boston, pardoning his stutter; I notice the time only when my exhausted eyes request the privilege of a lamp. At dusk, I nod over a year’s worth of Emily Dickinson — she has written, perhaps, ten poems, but she varies the words so well one almost doesn’t notice. I avoid books (by lady novelists) with titles such as A Dusty Lampshade or The Aubergine Trumpet, and sleep soundly through the night.