Archive for 2010
Setting the East Ablaze
2 January 2010, around 8.20.
The main problem – and the reason why The Great Game is a superior book – is that the material does not seem fully digested. The tone changes from chapter to chapter depending on whose memoirs Hopkirk draws on…
city of stone
19 January 2010, around 8.50.
Birds of dark omen wait for you in the city of stone.
27 January 2010, around 8.25.
A few notes on Swann’s Way:1 ‘Combray’ is high-modernist fancy, a lush novella of remembered childhood within the the clear framework of our narrator trying to fall asleep. Interesting in not being tied to a particular bout of insomnia – though still tightly bound with insomnia at Combray as a child. How is this going […]
29 January 2010, around 0.20.
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 […]
5 February 2010, around 0.53.
The passes are probably closed.
of an age
21 February 2010, around 6.32.
I find nothing objectionable in the fact that the young scholar, as may be observed even in my retelling, was flirting a bit with erudition. Later on, scholars began to flirt with illiteracy and achieved in this regard a suspiciously natural effect. – Fazil Iskander, ’The Story of the Prayer Tree’ (Sandro of Chegem, p. […]
Within a Budding Grove
8 April 2010, around 1.53.
Racine isn’t telling a story about love among the sea-urchins (185). Again, this does not aspire to the level of essay, and will be simply some notes from reading this particular volume. Within a Budding Grove is a more thoroughly conventional novel than Swann’s Way, and presents the late childhood and early adolescence of our […]
17 April 2010, around 4.57.
A cup of over-steeped tea brings back the memory of student days, bent over a book, surrounded by papers, the tea overdrawing and becoming tepid, forgotten, on the desk. Legs crossed at the ankles, or sitting on one foot, it is possible to forget time itself, to say nothing of a cup of tea. A […]
20 April 2010, around 0.58.
The view from the kitchen.1 The landlord came to the apartment to repair the leaky sink in the kitchen, which was leaky because the neighbors are doing some remodeling and wanted to separate our plumbing from theirs. The landlord works long hours, and has to deal with people who don’t always want to do what […]
Crambe repetita (16)
7 May 2010, around 3.04.
Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia.
A view (29)
15 May 2010, around 23.23.
graves in old Goris.
22 May 2010, around 8.09.
View from Tatev Village
8 June 2010, around 9.45.
Regarding Cornus mas.
a glance from Solomon
12 June 2010, around 6.49.
The hoopoe. At this stage, full of fervour, leapt forward the Hoopoe […] she had on her bosom the crest symbolizing her spiritual knowledge and on her head shone the crown of faith. […] She had the gift of divining underground sources of water and had directed the genii to them by pecking the earth. […]
10 July 2010, around 2.05.
fruits & spoils
7 August 2010, around 14.51.
The nourishing fruit of the historically understood contains time as a precious but tasteless seed.1 While content and language form a certain unity in the original, like a fruit and its skin, the language of the translation envelops its content like a royal robe with ample folds.2 —Walter Benjamin (Illuminations) ‘Theses on the Philosophy of […]
The Guermantes Way
23 August 2010, around 20.42.
Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. It is they and they alone who found religions and create great works of art. The world will never realise how much it owes them, and that they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it. We enjoy fine music, beautiful […]
Sodom and Gomorrah
30 August 2010, around 20.43.
Probably the most titillating volume, but certainly one of the most dull. One imagines the narrator as a carbuncular, crepuscular teenager, creeping at the edges of the shadows and undercurrents of desire, without actually entering into the depths he peers in. This is rendered more obnoxious when we are told that the fawning ladies at […]
weak tea and memory
10 September 2010, around 19.50.
From Asterios Polyp, in a passage on memory.
have a rest
13 September 2010, around 12.00.
Tuck the blanket around your feet, lean back in your deck chair. Go and have a rest.
Crambe repetita (17)
15 September 2010, around 12.00.
Marcel Proust, The Captive.
18 October 2010, around 10.15.
in the afternoon
27 November 2010, around 12.21.
Afternoon tea out at the country, in November.
2 December 2010, around 8.42.
Watch the sunrise. Up and coffee, mending the lining of a jacket,1, attend sessions at conference, re-pack bags,2 knit on the fuzzy short-sleeve pullover, go out to coffee and read, finally finish all the tagging & categorizing on this very site that I have put off for two years already.3The fabric is almost rotten, and […]
the heart of the matter
6 December 2010, around 6.44.
7 December 2010, around 6.02.
8 December 2010, around 6.59.
Cowpaths The image occurs to me: Odysseus’ men eating the cattle of the sun; because they are hungry of course. But they do not see that the cattle are sacred, and more to the point, do not belong to them. The word returns to me: νήπιοι. And it felt good to say it.1Which is not […]
9 December 2010, around 12.08.
We look in the taxi. If there is a meter: fine. If there is not: ‘do you have a meter?’ ‘No – it’s a hundred dram a kilometer, we’ll go by the odometer.’ ‘Well how much is it to point B from here?’ If he says: ‘I don’t know, we’ll go by the odometer’ – […]
Crambe repetita (18)
15 December 2010, around 11.09.
Isabel Fonseca, Bury Me Standing.
it was in the bleak december
21 December 2010, around 15.31.
Ah yes, distinctly I remember, what I was doing ten years ago today. Of course looking at where I’ve been: 2000 (-ish)1 2005 …and where I am now:2 …one hardly knows what to expect for the next ten years.3Not the exact view, but close enough [↩]Well, the picture is from last year as Goris isn’t […]
A view (30)
25 December 2010, around 19.50.
Boiling the kettle for tea steams up the windows. Still no snow, though.