The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

December 2021


1 December 2021, around 8.44.

High clouds and bare trees

Looking up on the morning walk.

The Order of Books

2 December 2021, around 12.19.

A slim book that provides a theoretically grounded discussion of the role of readers, authors, and libraries (i.e., bibliothèque in the broadest sense). The first two chapters lean heavily on de Certeau, Bourdieu, Foucault, and D.F. McKenzie (whose Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts is one of the better short books in the field and should be more readily available at a reasonable price), with the expected focal points – praxis, distinction/social capital, discipline/authority, and (natch) the sociology of texts/readers/authors. The final chapter examines various historical library catalogues/bibliographies (real or imagined), weaving in the theoretical threads untangled in the previous two chapters. A book interested in limning the limits of the knowable – or perhaps, better, the limits of what can be catalogued, classified, codified, and contained.

The sort of book that would be an admirable introduction, but if one is already familiar with the ideas from elsewhere, it does not shed significantly new light on them – although its syntheses can be moderately illuminating.


5 December 2021, around 14.06.

A grassy plain between evergreens, above some blackberries

Another benefite of the village is this, that he shall haue tyme enough to al thinges that he will do, so that the time be well spent, tyme enough to studie, time to visite his frendes, tyme to go a huntyng, and layser when he list to eate his meat: the which layser courtiers commonly haue not, forasmuche as they employe the moste part of their tyme in making of shiftes to playe the courtier, or to speake more plainely, to wepe and lament…

—Antonio de Guevara (A Looking Glasse for the Court, trans. Sir Francis Bryan)


28 December 2021, around 8.37.

A photograph, facing east, of a mountain highway in the morning, a straggling line of cars heading toward the slopes

About two feet of snow have fallen since then, and the highway is slickly plowed, a layer of graveled white on which cars tend to go too fast, with little thought of lane boundaries or chance, but secure in the hope of their destination.

Then one returns to the fireplace and the books, where comfort is punctuated by excursions to chisel out the ridge of compact snow shoved against the driveway by the snowplow. The dog leaps through the snow in dolphin bounds. Everything is new. Everything is now. A blank.

ego hoc feci mm–MMXXIII · cc 2000–2023 M.F.C.

« earlier :: later »