Archive for 2017
1 January 2017, around 7.52.
The novel is made up of a series of the sort of letters it is generally not prudent to send. Break-up letters: familiar, contradictory, unpleasant. I need you. I detest you. Thank you. How could you?
4 January 2017, around 6.13.
…she was like a book without any pictures. In other words, the kind of person who, unless you brought your whole soul to bear in reading them, would remain forever unknowable (116). A fall through the ice shapes the story. It is dramatic, inexplicable – and unexplained. The narrator is walking a dog, and then, […]
and another thing
7 January 2017, around 18.27.
Eventually, it did snow.
8 January 2017, around 5.31.
It has been unexpectedly cold, and on that particularly evening we were preparing for a very cold weekend, with frost and potentially snow. The puddles from recent rains had frozen, which is a rare thing – if I had a better memory, I could probably count on one hand the number of times this has […]
10 January 2017, around 6.32.
It has become the favored place to go for a stroll. It is quiet. The world passes through slowly, the shifting seasons providing the most dramatic changes – fallen branches, frost heaves, holly berries, and flowers in spring. One sets external concerns aside; even the most tenacious anxiety or care has been, by the time […]
the will to be peeved
12 January 2017, around 6.11.
Drawing (with self portrait) from one of William James’s notebooks I don’t quite remember what led me to read William James. It could have been PF talking about him, or the mention in The Dead Ladies Project, or it could have been something I’ve forgotten about entirely. In any case, I settled in and read […]
13 January 2017, around 17.22.
Montaigne, on gathering moss.
Crambe repetita (45)
15 January 2017, around 6.08.
Qiu Miaojin, Last Words from Montmartre.
17 January 2017, around 6.40.
accumulating and collecting knowledge…
20 January 2017, around 17.41.
Truth and lies are faced alike; their port, taste, and proceedings are the same, and we look upon them with the same eye. I find that we are not only remiss in defending ourselves from deceit, but that we seek and offer ourselves to be gulled; we love to entangle ourselves in vanity, as a […]
27 January 2017, around 18.36.
Four (of eight) heads of Socratesfrom Lavater’s Lectures on Physiognomy (p. 160) It is a great thing to have been able to put such order into ideas as pure as those of a child that, without altering or stretching them, he produced from them the finest results of our mind. The mind he shows us […]
1 February 2017, around 6.58.
3 March 2017, around 18.25.
Rousseau casts aspersions on crochet.
5 March 2017, around 6.14.
reading at the dinner table…
6 March 2017, around 5.19.
Notes on reading Judith Butler as a tonic to Rousseau.
A view (47)
9 March 2017, around 15.53.
1 April 2017, around 7.14.
an antique fashion shows
3 April 2017, around 6.49.
The cover was off-putting. A boy in a garden, glancing slyly back at an illicit meeting, in the unctuous watercolors so popular for mass market literary paperbacks of a certain age. I refer, of course, to a Penguin edition of First Love, translated by Isaiah Berlin, which, as a book, rather reminded me (not to […]
5 April 2017, around 18.44.
The walk to work takes an hour to cover approximately three miles. This is a bit slow, perhaps, but given the uncertain state of draw bridges, traffic signals, and my own ambling pace, it feels about right. It gives me plenty of time to think – about the day ahead, about anything at all. The […]
cunning & resourceful
23 April 2017, around 15.47.
A pity they don’t have name tags, isn’t it? Good thing you can tell them apart by their hats. Mimesis has been on my list of books to read for quite some time. The notion that it was written from memory, without access to a present library of familiar reference books appealed to me. So […]
30 April 2017, around 18.00.
Diogenes the cynic, radical pragmatist.
3 May 2017, around 5.40.
Ghostly views on the morning walk – weather warm and strange.
23 May 2017, around 5.02.
want and will…
13 June 2017, around 14.32.
Books save lives.
25 June 2017, around 9.42.
The days are warm; even the stacks of books at the local bookstore relax into a puddle on the floor, unable to withstand the heat.
Crambe repetita (46)
15 July 2017, around 6.13.
Vasily Grossman, Forever Flowing.
15 July 2017, around 13.32.
The forest is full of noises: the young squirrels clucking and monitoring us, in relay, from the trees; the strange creaking groan, like the slow opening of a door, of the forest settling; then, as we descended, the distant notes of an amateur cornet (or flute) in uncertain melody. No bears or other large mammals […]
6 August 2017, around 21.29.
‘Ville Imaginaire II’, Erik Desmazieres (1999) I’ve stumbled into a course of reading where nearly everything resonates with each other, ideas reverberating from page to page and decade to decade, resulting in a common clarity rather than the expected bewilderment. Renee Gladman’s personal essays are enriched by reading them with Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural criticism; Greta […]
12 August 2017, around 12.00.
21 August 2017, around 9.22.
24 September 2017, around 6.23.
Engraving from Ferrante Imperato’s Dell’ historia naturale (1599)1 What undermines and then kills political communities is loss of power and final impotence; and power cannot be stored up and kept in reserve for emergencies, like the instruments of violence, but exists only in its actualization. When power is not actualized, it passes away, and history […]
against the grain
15 October 2017, around 15.59.
One doesn’t quite know what to expect from In the American Grain – not if one comes to it expecting anything at all, because it upsets those expectations from the first page. I was expecting something about Emily Dickinson, because the only reason I picked up the book was because it was mentioned in Susan […]
21 October 2017, around 20.29.
I found a copy of The Golden Peaches of Samarkand for $8 at Kona Bay Books this afternoon, and after sunset we went wading.
Crambe repetita (47)
15 November 2017, around 6.19.
Shen Fu, Six Records of a Floating Life.
out for a walk
23 December 2017, around 10.40.
hope against hope (5)
29 December 2017, around 17.05.
You have perhaps forgotten my monologue on the subject of Hope Mirrlees. I have for some years been vexed with her for encouraging the inspissation of Jane Ellen Harrison, for clotting the intellect into insipidity: there is only so much of bears and cooing that a person can take, particularly if one is not a […]
good, better, bested
31 December 2017, around 13.51.
Of the books I read in 2017, I would recommend the following: Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle – an engaging look at wealth and the early church. Barbara Comyns, Our Spoons Came from Woolworths – a better presentation of the limits of intellect than An American Tragedy. Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination […]