Archive for 2001
Up, email, breakfast, coffee, read, library, chinaware (the only truly silent reading room available), room, books, lunch, library, Greek Literary dialects (using words such as ‘aposeosis’ – is that an anachronistic Doric sigma? – and phrases such as ‘this text goes in for unnecessary iotas every so often’ and ‘it would be syntactically cruel of […]
Up, coffee, email, breakfast, library, Greek Religion – what role do the Greek gods play in everyday life? From whence and how did they evolve? What is structuralism? Are you a structuralist? Is Gallic subtlety any match for the brute force of History? – lunch, essay, read, breathe, bed.
Up, coffee, essay, e-mail, breakfast, Hellenistic History with the public-school man – post-imperialist and orientalist subtexts in Greek literature after Alexander! – pretend not to suffer from nerves, lunch, Thucydides and Rhetoric (i.e., nearly two hours of sitting, staring at the floor and attempting to conjure an innovative opinion about Pericles’ funeral oration; also, if […]
note to self (a) 9.iii.2004
anachronism When you reach that point when everyone says: ‘thank you, I’m not actually interested in you: just listen to my problems, they’re important, you know’; when there’s no one left to whom you can write and complain or even express yourself clearly because, in keeping back different pieces of yourself from different people, you […]
Breakfast, library, J. E. Harrison, coffee, Historical Methods of Herodotus, postmodern critical article on palm-trees in Attic vase painting, Greek Religion, lunch, room, bath, computer, Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World, email, dinner, room, bed.
(unwell) Up, coffee, breakfast, room, Herodotus, bath, Herodotus, library, lunch, library (return book), race to → class, room, bed & sleep & sleep & sleep.
(unwell) Snooze, up, coffee, library, J. E. Harrison (couldn’t even manage a full hour…), coffee, bookstore (Themis), lunch, library (Divinity and History: the Religion of Herodotus; OCM), apple-mango juice, room, much sneezing & coughing &c., Chopin, read, tea, snooze, read, Satie, bed.
(unwell) Up, coffee, laundry, library (return books), coffee & sandwich, groceries (orange juice & instant soup), room, nap, idleness.
Up, coffee, email, breakfast, library (return book), Athenian culture and society, library, coffee, groceries, lunch, room, tidy, bath, Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, Mozart, Athenian Religion, tea, snooze, bed.
Up, coffee, Momigliano, breakfast, library, coffee, groceries, room, Athenian Religion, lunch, read, library, room, Satie, German, read, dinner, lecture, room, bed.
Up, coffee, Momigliano, breakfast, library, museum, essay, room, lunch, Greek literary dialects, library, essay, room, bed.
Up, coffee, breakfast, library, coffee, Greek religion, lunch, room, read, bed.
Up, coffee, breakfast, library, read, coffee & lunch, bookstore, class room, smirk, read, bed.
Up, coffee, read, library, coffee, bookstore (Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol. 2), brunch, talk, room, snooze, movie, room, relax, coffee, socialize, room, bed.
Up, coffee, laundry, email, room, read, coffee, cudgel poor brain about grad school, muddle, read, essay, bed.
Up, coffee, breakfast, Athenian culture and society (paideia), library (return books, browse periodicals, etc.), lunch, room, read, essay, bed.
Up, coffee, essay, breakfast, library, translate, tutorial, lunch, room, read, bed.
Up, coffee, Greek historiography, email, breakfast, coffee, museum, lunch, Greek literary dialects, room, out for dinner, room, bed.
Up, coffee, ΑΝΑΓΚΗ in Thucydides, email, breakfast, coffee, museum, read periodicals, Greek religion (also, womens’ festivals…), lunch, room, essay, read, dinner, room, bed.
Up, coffee, essay, email, breakfast, room, read, lunch, class (‘You’ve stunned them,’ this following a long silence when I’d read my essay; no constructive comments thereafter — no comments at all, in fact), sulk, room, tea, Ulysses, dinner with company, room, bed.
Up, coffee, Ulysses, bathe, putter, send letters, email, brunch.
Up, coffee, letter, Thucydides, coffee & lunch, bookstore, room, The Third Policeman, tea, bed.
Up, coffee, Greek historiography, Kagan YCS 24, send letters, breakfast, library (return books), Athenian culture (the oikos, the womens’ sphere, pederasty), coffee, library (return books, renew, and borrow Arethusa 11), groceries (bread, milk, etc., no honey), room, At Swim-Two-Birds, email, lunch, package, treats, novel, bath, At Swim-Two-Birds, bed.
Up, coffee, At Swim-Two-Birds, email, breakfast, library (return books), coffee, museum (periodicals, course reading), library (Thucydides, etc.), The Blessing, lunch, room, The Blessing, bread, Thucydides, bed.
Up, coffee, Greek historiography, email, breakfast, library, coffee, milk, room, Thucydides Mythistoricus, lunch, Euripides as social critic (‘question authority’ — I can’t believe I skipped two hours of discussing the Boeotian elements of Pindar to attend), room, generally well-disposed to world and lacking any desire to indulge in excessive criticism (this state being induced by […]
Up, coffee, email, breakfast, library (return book), bookstore, coffee, library (request books), Greek religion (the importance of myth!), lunch, bread & milk, room, read, dinner, room, bed.
Up, coffee, email, breakfast, library (return book), library II (read), library III (return book & photocopy), coffee & sandwich, room, read, class, which put in mind of Meredith: …one is not altogether fit for the battle of life who is engaged in a perpetual contention with his dinner… …which holds true for Thucydides as well; […]
Up, coffee, bath, Love in a Cold Climate (it troubles me somewhat, being clever and charming and not especially brilliant, the characters remain, as intended I suppose, card-board cut-outs — Cedric, for instance, is an insult to one’s intelligence — though it is entertaining to ponder the actual schedule of the narrator), library (Greek Religion, […]
Up, coffee, languish (a sleepy stupidity tucked amongst the blankets, watching the light seep across the wall and hiding from the sharpness of out-of-doors), laundry, email (a process which, with some manipulation, can be made to consume an hour and half), room, coffee & sandwich, grocery store (for the purchase of weekly necessaries such as […]
(unwell) Up (after a night of heated sleep, not tossing and turning, but trapped in the stillness inimical to rest), coffee, Ulysses, email, breakfast, library (return books & borrow Greek Prose Style), Athenian Culture, museum (return & borrow books), bookstore (check on religion books in cheap paperbacks), library (translations & TLS), email, lunch, room, tea, […]
(unwell) Up, coffee, essay, email, breakfast, library, essay, tutorial, buy books, coffee, purchase tea, room, tea, Ulysses, meet to arrange Latin, room, Ulysses, library (return books), dinner, room, bed.
(unwell) Up (after a night broken by coughing), coffee, Ulysses, email, breakfast, library, coffee, pick up tickets, room, rest, lunch, room, read, essay, rest, bed.
(unwell) Up (after a night broken by coughing), coffee, Ulysses, e-mail, breakfast, Bodley, coffee, pick up tickets, room, rest, lunch, room, read, essay, rest, bed.
(unwell) Up, coffee, essay, breakfast, email, essay, snooze, deliver essay, room, bed, A Room with a View, talk to Mama, mint tea, drift in & out of wakefulness, sleep.
Up, coffee, Baroque, Women in Ancient Persia (559–331 BC), Brahms, tea, notecards, Elgar, African Civilizations, brunch, groceries, room, Omeros, tea, continue reading, call M, Bach, bed.
Up, coffee, laundry, email, bread, Ulysses, tea, relax, bed.
Up, coffee, Women in Ancient Persia…, email, breakfast, letters, Athenian Culture, library (kinship diplomacy), library II (return book, renew books on Greek cults & borrow book on Roman Rhetoric), coffee, bookstore, bread & milk, room, settle, lunch, write letters, tea, Bach, Ulysses, &c., talk (dreadful and dull), room, bed.
Up, email, breakfast, library (kinship diplomacy), coffee, museum, bookstore, post-office (stamps for letter & forms), room, read, St. John’s Passion, tea, read, Ninth, read, email, dinner, room, bed.
Up, tea, email, breakfast, library (kinship diplomacy), coffee, room, read, idleness, bed.
Up, tea, email, breakfast, library (kinship diplomacy — finished at last), coffee, Greek Religion, room, read, coffee, collections, dinner (which invariably causes indigestion), concert, stroll, room, bed.
Up, email, breakfast, coffee, read, museum, bookstore, bread & juice, room, Lucky Jim, coffee, pita, read, class (medicine; more dreadful silences and skirting the essentials), room & mirth, potluck, taxi, room, bed.
A fine day today, overcast, with a light rain whispering the warmth of spring (to be purple about it). Finished Lucky Jim in the morning, which was adequate so far as novels go, but nothing out of the ordinary. Into college to, idle before the morning meal, which last I spent in moderate socialization with […]
Overcast toneless gray, neither warm nor cold. Reading The Ambassadors, then up, out and to coffee. Purchased litre of orange juice, email, return to room, where reading Hellenistic history, Sophocles & Antiphon whilst trying to organize my bibliography. Dull and stupid, partook of tea & more Henry James, then tired at last, to bed.
After a night of nausea, day dawned bright and clear, no frost, but chill preceding spring. Spent much of the day in bed, feeling not well enough for anything, though did stumble through more of The Ambassadors. To sleep early, with thanks.
Dark smoke-blue sky and evidence of rain, to which was added the sound of car alarm. Naturally. Organizing bibliography, &c., but in no humor for nearly anything.
Awoke to sunshine and roseate light brushing across the plaster walls. In a good humor, surprisingly, and spent much of the morning in the Bod. reading about Cicero, which was curiously enough entertaining. Much caffeine required thereafter, though. Finished The Ambassadors, and greatly pleased thereat; so spent the rest of the day in useful reading […]
To see ‘The Genius of Rome: 1592–1623;’ or, in other words, to see paintings by Caravaggio and … some other guys. Then wandered around the city feeling young and disillusioned, everyone and everything seeming uglier and stupider and slower than they should be. Two elderly ladies on the bus into town and St John the […]
Up to a mist & general laziness, very nice. Spending too much time in writing letters and making notes, which does little use. Have yet to complete summary to my satisfaction and so idle for inspiration.
Spent the day in search of books on modern Greece, which, strangely enough, are more difficult to find than books on ancient Greece. I find it somewhat strange that books on Greece tend to be shelved with ‘Western Europe’ while the ‘Balkans’ and the former Yugoslavia are under ‘Eastern Europe.’ Also purchased a cheap copy […]
More laundry and packing and reading of A Concise History of Greece. Tidying things up in general, as a means of distracting myself from Roman history and the minutiae of Greek grammar. Also looking wistfully at the three library books I must return tomorrow; I’ve had them for six weeks, but have scarce made a […]
Idled in coffee-shops & the library, and read and read and read. Such pleasure. Day started clear, but now overcast. Perfect.
Wandered around town, easing into habits. Babbitt-dom is still distant, one hopes. Vague unease, unsettled, unsure, balancing only barely. As usual. Spent too much money on books. Again.
Overslept and the morning passed while my brain was still leaden; an hour at the Bod., then coffee, the Ashmolean, lecture & lunch. In a frenzy to finish my essay for tomorrow & attend a lecture on Roman religion this evening.
Broken blue sky and translucent clouds after a night of rain. A typical Sunday, doing laundry, reading, preparing for another week. Churchbells call to all good Christians; the response, if any, is hidden from my window.
Tuesday. A heavy day, with mind weighted, wandering through the hours without leisure and without interest. Reading, too, for my essay, attending lecture, and a seminar (on the 18th century: curious how I had never viewed the 1700s as being ‘wedged’ between the monoliths of early modern and late modern history, but have always thought […]
Up early, and in good humor, scampering too and fro with mind at ease; taking great care not to overburden the old brain, which might crumble without warning. ‘…and though the merriment was rather boisterous, still it came from the heart and not from the lips: and this is the right sort of merriment, after […]
The morning in the Bod, nodding over libertas (& eleuthería), then to the Ashmolean for a few articles. Lecture as usual. Too sunny for comfort; in a malaise, if you like. Still, the afternoon listening to Bach & Beethoven & Mahler, a pleasant change, and pondering that most ideal of monarchs, Nero.
Is it possible to feel nostalgia for a place one has not left? Can one miss and long for the very place one happens to be, because one shall too soon leave? I dread returning to my country.
One of those very strange mornings, indecisive rain and sunshine, which last shone in (when it shone at all) an eerie perfect white upon the shadowed wall. Spent the early morning reading Seneca’s De Clementia and scrupulously avoiding any thought of Cicero.
After the ever-entertaining lecture on the city of Rome – the lecturer condescending to swear at the slide projector, which had a disposition to be willful — went to the Ashmolean. God’s gallery was shut for construction and conservation work, the red walls and the tops of paintings barely visible over a temporary divider; so, […]
Friday. Morning in various libraries, reading about the second sohpistic. The Bod LRR is shut from tomorrow until October, which saddens me a great deal: my last two weeks in England spent without access to its darkened portraits and harried classicists. Still, there are other libraries available, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I’ve gotten […]
Sunrise of broken light, white through the varying gray clouds. Nothing unusual, watching the rain fall occasionally, listening to Monteverdi, browsing through the Historia Augusta. A useful day, but not out of the ordinary, which, at times, is nice.
People sat or sprawled on the lawns, soaking in the sunshine or lolling in the shade. I, meanwhile, was content to walk along the river bank and admire the scene, the hum of bees, &c. The rest of the morning passed amid thoughts of the ancient Greek aristocracy, kaloikagathoi, the beautiful and the good. Have […]
Bleh. still. Hesiod is some consolation, and I hope to show great sense about the Works and Days. Oh Works. Oh Days. Oh. Let’s not imitate Cicero.
More and still more work in the library, reading about god and trying to comprehend Epidauros, which just leaves me muddled. I find it frightfully confusing that there were at least four different (?) artists called Polykleitos working in the Greek world during the late fifth and early fourth centuries BCE; it just shouldn’t be […]
More packing. In a haze of irritability, especially when I consider how much pleasanter these last few days would be if I had only begun to send things home sooner. One of the pleasantest sorts of the idleness is that which gives the illusion of business, as all the world well knows. But this is […]
Listless running of errands and pre-departure nostalgia. I cannot find black thread, but only a Swiss water-bottle that looks as though it should be used to cause an international incident, which worries me. Returned my last books to the Ashmolean and sat for some time in the stacks, not wanting to leave. Well, five minutes, […]
We students were trotted up Lycabettos hill, an occasion for profuse sweating and sporadic complaint, but the views rendered both bearable, the sun hesitating behind faint clouds, even Oedipus’ Cithaeron visible in the distance. Doorjamb at the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron; Attika, Greece (21 June 2001; usual camera)
What is one looking for in these cases, anyway? One could find an object lesson, an unexpected symbol, but one is unlikely to find what it all meant; it is a void, then, and scholarship a waste of time? Perhaps. One little thing, this fixation on an object, whether worthy or no; wisdom and understanding […]
Acrocorinth. One sees the world open out to the horizon, from the span of Attica to the slopes of Parnassus, across the tenuous isthmus, the Peloponnese now broken to an island by the works of man. On the isle of Pelops, taciturn rocks lie uneven as a rumpled blanket, jagged as a broken shield. From […]
It’s deeply complex: it’s not what you see. There’s a tension between what you are and what you know. One must read behind the phenomena, the surfaces; one could take hours, days, months to comprehend one column capital, working over the surfaces with a magnifying glass in search of scratches. This is scientific. Then there’s […]
Delphi – up and about just before six to watch the Pythian sunrise, the bunched mountains and outcrops of rock losing their dusky shadow to the warm necessity of the sun. The trees in the valley seem almost lush, but dwindle to scrub along the harsh and rugged walls. A stillness through everything – even […]
One muddles oneself with thinking, succumbing too easily to the temptation to compare what is with what might be – learn to be insensate, let things, let people, be as they are, and do not expect what cannot be given. Kerameikos and the haze of the Acropolis in the background. Athens, Greece (31 July 2001; […]
Piling pebbles upon the beach, the water laps against the sky, the low sound measuring time’s loss, the imponderable construction of a memory. Set one foot, then, in front of the other, and take no moment to look back, but continue – onward.
The very light is altered, or simply different. There is an air about the place, this home, that both entices and fills me with foreboding. The normalcy of little things, scanning the shelves for books, toppling things gracelessly onto the floor, and yet so much has changed – furniture moved, or simply gone. Suffice to […]
It all comes down to a matter of contrast (if one wishes to deal with certainties). This dislocation springs, no doubt, from the abrupt difference of colors, the infinite bright variety replaced by a limited palette of infinite subtlety; a harsh chalk (or pastel) quality to the lines converted to a skillful watercolor. Even so, […]
First snatch at solitude; how sweet indeed it is. I have missed (oh how very much!) the joy of waking to an empty house, all the silences responding to my footsteps, brushing away the dust of evening entirely at my leisure (which means, of course, I need not hide away in bed, avoiding the day’s […]
To be more joyful, and border less on abject self-pity, I have taken to pillaging the shelves in my former room (now the library – which is apt) for books to take away; I fear my parents shall be left with hardly any modern literature at all. They merely smile at me, though, as I […]
Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here. —Ishiguro, 2001.65, p. 156
The first day alone; on my own. Faded grandeur of a forgotten self. Searching for lost books. Remembering old friends, neglected, of course, as they too often are. Baking scones, making tea. Existence in fragments. One cannot expect more. Even so. Just a note: I realized what it was, that most important thing that I’d […]
Again, up early. Restless. Still reading the Letters of Rupert Brooke. Aside from having a perfectly splendid name and being a tremendously handsome (in the English manner, if you like that sort of thing) minor poet, I find he even manages to write amusing letters, about such interesting things as, well, life – which is […]
Something like a gloomy day; morning in the library, then returned couchwards for coffee & short stories. The old brain could handle nothing stronger; I put it down to a slight overindulgence in Shostakovich string quartets yesterday evening…
Ineffably charming, oozing good humor & politic attention; I listen & ask questions – then run to the library and hide among my friends, their dusty spines bristling at imagined indignities.
One drop of pity is enough to lift our doing beyond intellectual distinctions. Springing as it does from a belief in justice and divine grace, conscience, which is moral awareness, will always whelm the question that eludes and deludes us to the end, in a lasting silence. —Johan Huizinga, (Homo Ludens, p. 213)
Williston Library Carrel-choosing at the Library — it seems to be one of the social events of the early fall semester… (Yours truly now the proud resident of of carrel no. 502 – fifth floor, by the window, one shelf away from Greek & Latin poetry, twenty-seven paces from Stendhal.) Up very late reading again.
Gainful toil + useful work = wasted time. No reading. Only joy in Monteverdi & a bit of Horace and Pindar and Epicurus (‘Send me a little pot of cheese so that I can indulge in extravagance when I wish’, as per Diogenes Laertius) and Epictetus (Τῶν ἡδέων τὰ σπανιώτατα γινόμενα μάλιστα τέρπει – Those […]
(unwell) Console myself with reading & umpteen cups of watery tea. Afternoons of such sweet enjoyableness are so rare with me that I tend to savor them, hold them lingering to myself, rather than share them.
Perfectly idle, reading Infinite Jest, which is not so bad as I remember. I finally got more than ten pages into it, which seems highly virtuous of me. It would have been more virtuous if I hadn’t needed to read Lysias instead.
Shaping into an utter emptiness. – oh – I was thinking, for a moment, of the world beyond the silly sighing, past the swaying hum of a string quartet, a world of mirth and loud laughter, of harsh tones and brash smiles, of confused and blurring lines, of lights unsteady and the dark ever before […]
History – surrounded, immersed, drowning, etc., with regards to it. Be wary of being ahistorical. Yet history has of late become mere voyeurism, people sitting in their homes before some flickering screen, or engaged in a voluntary deafness to all but the radio. Even the sound of newsprint has learnt hysteria – and this is […]
16.10.01 – Tuesday
At some point I find myself watching the clouds – the leaves are changing – some trees are already bare – but the clouds, the warm, the cold, the gathering, dispersing. Autumn puts me in mind of wool jackets, wood smoke, the break of apples, dust of books; also: steam rising from coffee; yellow-orange leaves […]
19.10.01 – Friday
compare Scrutinizing my recent reading and find that I’ve been spending far too much time ambling through modern literature – which would, I suppose, be acceptable if I were reading Proust or Eliot or some other frightfully clever & dreadfully important authors, but I’m not – I’m reading the squabblers, with personalities more interesting than […]
29.10.01 – Monday
Reading Medea (γυνὴ γὰρ ὀξύθυμος, ὡς δ’ αὔτως ἀνήρ, // ῥάιων φυλάσσειν ἢ σιωπηλὸς σοφή. (319–20)). Ah, ionic elements! We are fond of our archaicisms – and might be in danger of descending to dactylic hexameters… give us a minute.
1.11.01 – Thursday
Much of the day spent in reading – Agora excavations and Dreiser’s The ‘Genius’. Waited late into the night in the language center for befuddled first-year Latin students to seek help; apparently, on Thursday nights, beginning Latinists have no difficulties with the lingua. I was left, then, to amuse myself as best I could, which […]
5.11.01 – Monday
I have come to the inevitable conclusion. Running into the eternal interrogative (thinking Forsterian here, can you tell?): the answer can, the answer must, for me at least, be yes. Not the ‘yes’ that means ‘no,’ not the affirmative that scorns, but that quiet ever so blank ‘yes’ which means everything & nothing, offers no […]
18.11.01 – Sunday
Lulled, gently, into the certitude of reading. Carefully writing out ideas and quotations on 3×5 cards, printing neatly, citing assiduously. Met J. at the Haymarket, chattering away about the month of October (where did it go? what happened? what did you do?) and the inchoate, incomprehensible fear of application (both to one’s studies and to […]
19.11.01 – Monday
Softly, softly. Malthakôs. The oak leaves are falling at last — air of unreality, setting a scene (tho’ not making one). Received two glorious letters — read them in the afternoon light while waiting for the bus. Invariably waiting for the inevitable bus. There really is something about reading Plato. I can’t explain it. The […]
22.11.01 – Thursday
Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts – Palestrina, Missa Brevis — the smell of baking apples – seeds of a pomegranate. Cold air – blue sky.
24.11.01 – Saturday
I have not spoken to anyone for three days. My voice feels harsh and tight in my throat, a sharp clenched fist holding back – oh, everything. A hungry, haunted look now taints me about the eyes, and I must look away from passing strangers lest from my stares they catch hold of my unease, […]
29.11.01 – Thursday
The library. Dusty concrete steps to metal stacks and weak green-blue light. Reciprocity – sincerity – altruism. Walking. Cafés. Leading. Following. Chasing. Darkness. How the history crowds around one, pressing in on all sides, heading towards some incontrovertible truth.
5.12.01 – Wednesday
Listen and take pleasure in what you were not given in life – quiet. Look, there up ahead is your eternal home, which you’ve been given as a reward. I can see the Venetian window and the grape-vine curling up to the roof. There is your home, your eternal home. I know that in the […]
8.12.01 – Saturday
Reading Invitation to a Beheading: In the evenings he would feast on ancient books in the lazy enchanting lap of wavelets in the Floating Library, in memoriam of Dr. Sineokov, who had drowned in just that spot on the city river (27). Motivation, of course, something to do with latent shame, as usually I’m the […]
12.12.01 – Wednesday
Smell of snow and, strangely, dust. Also leaves. Witnessed (a martyrdom indeed!) an incident of performance art in the library foyer, involving a team of ‘dancers’ and books, which received such abuse as dropping & general prop-dom (oh, ignominy!). Also spent the last geology lecture of the year reading essays by Francis Bacon: There be […]
22.12.01 – Saturday
Sent the last of my applications off yesterday, along with a story to JC and treats for other people. Well, maybe it is a bit overbold to call that little booklet a ‘treat’: more of a glorified holiday card, actually, except, of course, that it has nothing to do with the holidays, red cover notwithstanding. […]