Archive for 2012
Crambe repetita (21)
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
We are at last reduced to talking about the weather. I suppose it must happen eventually, when you are learning a language – talking about the weather. It is more than collection of vocabulary and predictions, though; we haven’t anything else to talk about. Daily routines, general likes and dislikes, grammatical particularities, and the answers […]
I live in fear that there is not enough material to complete the task. This fear prevents me from doing anything with or about or to or on the project; it is much easier that way. I need never fear that it will be incomplete, because it will never be done. Yes, that will do.
on biography (2)
Hermione Lee. Virginia Woolf. New York: Vintage, 1996. I have little more to say. If my readers find that I have not said enough, I have said too much. I cannot measure or judge of such a character as hers. I cannot map out vices, and virtues, and debateable land. – Elizabeth Gaskell (Life of […]
This is as far as we can get on the assumption that the scholar and the man of taste are connected by nothing more than a common interest in literature. If this assumption is true, the high percentage of sheer futility in all criticism should be honestly faced, for the percentage can only increase with […]
no fuss no muss
One of the very nicest things about learning a variety of languages – besides, of course, being able to attempt communication with a variety of people – is chance of spotting arbitrary similarities in completely unrelated languages. For instance: in both informal Eastern Armenian and Khalkh Mongolian, you can use an m-reduplication (i.e. repeat the […]
Let all such fancies, illusive and destructive, be banished henceforward from your thoughts for ever. Resolve, and keep your resolution; choose, and pursue your choice. If you spend this day in study, you will find yourself still more able to study to-morrow; not that you are to expect that you shall at once obtain a […]
10 Gower St, Hope Mirrlees in a hat, with Lytton Strachey et al.1 Pigeons perch on statues And are turned to stone.2I found this image via the Persephone Post, but they persist in reorganizing their archives and breaking links – a laudable pastime, but one which prevents me from giving them credit as directly as […]
There are books which are too powerful, or which are too powerfully effective. I was reading such a book just a few minutes ago – but I won’t name it – about miserable people, leading miserable aimless lives in a gray and dismal country thousands of miles away. It is sunny here, and warm, as […]
Antonio Tabucchi. Requiem: A Hallucination trans. Margaret Jull Costa. London: Harvill, 1994. Please, he said, don’t abandon me to all these people who are so certain about everything, they’re dreadful. You don’t need me, I said, don’t talk nonsense, the whole world admires you, I was the one who needed you, but now it’s time […]
A scholar is someone who knows how to limit himself to the matter at hand.
A view (34)
They said spring was dusty; they were not wrong.
‘ a bitterly cold wind which drove the dust and tiny pebbles against our faces like a continual storm of hail’
Crambe repetita (22)
Blaise Cendrars, Moravagine.
hope against hope (1)
in which nothing much is said, especially about Hope Mirrlees.
on the Greek language.
Crambe repetita (23)
Hope Mirrlees, The Counterplot
It’s nice not to have to focus on anything.
hope against hope (2)
on Mirrlees and extravagant biographies; briefly.
Annoyed at having first to turn his pullovers the right side out every time he puts them on, he decides to turn them around as soon as he has taken them off. Surely, this is rational. But since this decision does not override the decision automatically to turn out his pullover when he puts it […]
Crambe repetita (24)
Agnes Jekyll, Kitchen Essays
on architecture, art, busts, and weight
It’s too cold to ride.
hope against hope (3)
a counter reformation.
I was almost exactly halfway through Céleste Albaret’s recollections of Monsieur Proust when I realized I had erred in the matter of genre. I had supposed it was merely a servant’s memoir of her eccentric employer. Given the pains she takes to clarify her stances on her employer (not crazy, not malingering, not a bit […]
a few remark’s on Tatyana Tolstaya’s dystopian novel, The Slynx.
At Passau the traveller feels that the flowing of the river is a yearning for the sea. That sense of life-to-the-full, that gift of the blood pressure, or of some acid benevolently secreted by the brain, was something I really felt in the alleys and on the river-banks of Passau; or do I just think […]
Crambe repetita (26)
Margaret Cavendish, Sociable Letters