Archive for 2014
the dangers of athletics
A Publisher Speaking
Geoffrey Faber. A Publisher Speaking. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935 (1934). A Publisher Speaking is a collection of five talks about the book industry given to various audiences between 1931 and 1934 by Geoffrey Faber, the founder of Faber and Faber. The contents of the volume are as follows: On Bookselling (i): A Publisher Looks at […]
A few books close at hand. Her favourite reading was a mouldy old book called Urn Burial, that she read in bed; and she liked creepy, rustling things like tortoises and cacti. She had a dark, haggard face that made one think of an old graveyard, but her eyes were so dark and deep that […]
Crambe repetita (32)
Irmgard Keun, After Midnight.
A view (40)
It rained most of the day.
pleasant & agreeable
It’s dreary out. He is a learned man, and has a power of college-books by heart: his greatest fault is, that he incessantly quotes passages from them in conversation, which is not agreeable to everybody. – Alain-Renée Lesage (Gil Blas, vol. 1, p. 149 (II.ix))1 Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d […]
A down-graded storm. There are of course other things I should be doing, even other things I should be reading, but just at the moment detective stories seem to be what I want. They are amusing and plotty and charmingly shamefaced. There’s not a one that takes itself too seriously, not one that claims it […]
from that other place
If one grows up in Oregon, one hears a lot about William Stafford. Always being the sort of person to avoid what other people are talking about (with no regard for its merit or interest), I never read any of his work until just a few months ago – and I expected to sneer even […]
(8) Finger-prints of any value to the police are seldom found on anybody’s skin. (9) The pupils of many drug-addicts’ eyes are apparently normal. (10) It is impossible to see anything by the flash of an ordinary gun, though it is easy to imagine you have seen things. (11) Not nearly so much can be […]
Alfred Algate, ‘Pine Forest, Ore.’1 Just something I found one day – a pebble as it were, to generate ripples of thought. [↩]
Crambe repetita (33)
Monica Dickens, Mariana.
A view (41)
… and it’s still snowing. …it was his professional dullness he had recovered, the dullness that he had assumed long ago, when he was still shy, in order to mislead the people he had to talk to, and that had become an almost unconscious reflex. – Georges Simenon (Maigret Has Scruples, p. 46)
Taking pictures around the house. It’s the repeated, regular acts – the habits – that are, oddly, the most interesting thing. I wouldn’t have thought it. For his own part, Adams inclined to think that neither chaos nor death was an object to him as a searcher of knowledge – neither would have vogue in […]
under the look of fatigue
Auden at home.1 Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links, Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks, Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye. – Auden, from ‘At Last […]
On his mantel he found a letter from his publisher, in response to a note he had written him the previous day requesting a new advance in return for the promise of a new novel. ‘Hateful profession!’ he exclaimed, unsealing the letter. ‘So I’ll have to write again, write forever, no matter what my state […]
I can’t remember if that was the actual color of the sky or if that was just what my camera saw.
in a style to endure
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 […]
added too freely
In his ‘History of Ancient Art,’ of which the first edition appeared in 1764, Winckelmann gave to the study of the antique an impulse along a line which it has never wholly deserted; his theory of the ‘beautiful’ as manifested even in these Græco-Roman copies to which his imagination often added too freely the missing […]
A view (42)
Out and about. It’s been warm and that brings with it vexation. I’ve been filling out paperwork for other people and then carrying it hither and thither because it can’t be emailed, but only faxed; fax machines and I have a long-standing disagreement, so walking it is.1 I could use the exercise, anyway. I sometimes […]
Print is Dead
Jeff Gomez. Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age. London: Macmillan, 2008. Cf. permanent failure of digital publishing. The person who designed the interior must have been decidedly cranky. One could complain about setting it in a sans-serif, but that’s just typical for British books of this sort. The margins are the main issue […]
Scent through the open window – party-goer’s perfume or an evening bath, mothballed sociability. Dull beats from the club, from the event space fluorescent light, and the shouting or murmurs of the smokers. Another scent. Ready for winter – ready to close the windows.
barrier to entry
Reading at the window, December 2013. There were too many things to do this summer, each day crowded with too of the little nothings that are so necessary if anything is going to happen. Now, though, projects are winding down, and there’s nothing to do but bustle about and procrastinate on those last few things […]
Crambe repetita (34)
Mollie Panter-Downs, One Fine Day.
The thought of what America would be like If the Classics had a wide circulation Troubles my sleep, The thought of what America, The thought of what America, The thought of what America would be like If the Classics had a wide circulation Troubles my sleep. Nunc dimittis, now lettest thou thy servant, Now […]
mise en scène
The other day I noticed that the old apartment was empty – the one we had lived in before. It faces west with a view of the city, and has certain conveniences (a trundle bed, a refrigerator that doesn’t block a window) that the current apartment lacks. I emailed the property manager about it, to […]
Neither this nor any of the mines we own in Yugoslavia is being worked for the first time. First the Greeks worked them, and then the Romans; then in the Middle Ages the Serbs brought in the Saxons to work them. Then under the Turks the work stopped, stopped dead, for five centuries, until we […]
Evidence of a brief excursion outdoors. There’s a fire in the fireplace. There are books on the table. It’s misting outside in the true Oregon manner.
Notes on Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour: Wittgenstein muddles his thinking about color – visualizing rather than looking: the dullness of phenomenology. The removal of colors from context, which changes the ‘meaning’ – what is at once ‘reddish green’ might, in other settings, be called ‘brown’. ‘I took a green painted lead cupola to be translucent greenish […]
Although he never lose his heart exclusively to one philosophical sect and was also an eclectic, Horace’s sharply critical mind, with a subtle sense of humor on the surface and a tempered pessimism deeper down, was far more inclined towards the doctrines of Aristippus, Epicurus and Lucretius than towards the Stoa which he often mentions […]
a mere habit
It is snowing outside and there is nothing to do save sit in front of the fire and read. Indeed, there is nothing one would rather be doing. Did she distrust all figurative language because she was sharply aware of the aptitude of the most languid figurative expressions for persisting as a mere habit of […]
wide of the mark
I suppose after all that no one whose mind was not, to put it mildly, abnormal, ever yet aimed very high out of pure malice aforethought. I once saw a fly alight on a cup of hot coffee on which the milk had formed a thin skin; he perceived his extreme danger, and I noted […]