a reader

an eudæmonistreading

2022

January

Margaret Kennedy. Where Stands a Wingèd Sentry. Bath: Handheld Press, 2021 (1941). [9]
A war memoir that perhaps pairs better with Iris Origo’s two volumes than with Vere Hodgson’s Few Eggs and No Oranges, in part because of the non-urban setting, but also for the sense of intellectual distance between what is happening around the author and how the author (or the figure representing the author) is reacting. Disjointed, but charming.
Fredric Jameson. Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality. London: Verso, 2016. [8.d]
An incisive example of how much a reader can bring to a book. (Which is not to say that Chandler doesn’t bring his own fun to the party.)
Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq. The Turkish letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Imperial Ambassador at Constantinople, 1554–1562. trans. and edited by Edward Seymour Forster. Oxford: Clarendon, 1927. [7]
I think I managed to get Busbecq mixed up in my mind with Çelebi when I was buying a copy of this little book; despite some disappointment on realizing my mistake, I did find Busbecq’s letters diverting. He had a keen eye for what passed in front of him: curious, open, but not perhaps very deep.
William Shakespeare. Measure for Measure. rev. ed. edited by Davis Harding. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1954 (1604). [6]
‘Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure; / Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.’ Has the briskness of Midsummer Night’s Dream or Romeo and Juliet, but the weird plotting of All’s Well that Ends Well; a strange play. The stoic lecture at the beginning of Act III was a bit of a doozy.
William Germano. On Revision: The Only Writing That Counts. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 2021. [5]
Wholesome. (See post.)
Preti Taneja. Aftermath. Oakland, CA: Transit Books, 2021. [4]
A difficult book to read – guilt, anger, despair. Trying typographical tricks – expansion and contraction, omission and exclusion. The interruption of flow       and the aftermath. The close readings (Hag-Seed, Cherry) cruel, perhaps unkind; unnecessary? It is not clear. No answers, only more questions.
Josephine Balmer, trans. Sappho: Poems & Fragments. rev. ed. Hexham, UK: Bloodaxe Books, 2018 (1984, 1992). [3]
An interesting approach to Sappho, with a solid (if not novel) introduction and textual note. Strong in parts and weak in others. The echoed gossip of the field, ancient and modern. This is allusion, not elucidation.
Cody-Rose Clevidence. Listen My Friend, This Is the Dream I Dreamed Last Night. Brooklyn, NY: The Song Cave, 2021. [2]
Oneiric and fragmentary, concerned with meaning-making, justice, COVID, and gender – among other topics. The fragments run together on the line rather than being spaced out as in Rachel Cusk or Jenny Offill, which creates the effect of a logical boustrophedon, a wandering here and back, rather than the sometimes dubious leaps of an epigrammatic grasshopper. In need of punctuated proofreading.
William Shakespeare. The Life of Timon of Athens. rev. ed. edited by Stanley T. Williams. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1954 (1606). [1]
The worst of Shakespeare’s plays that I like. All of the things that make it bad are present in other plays, where I detest them, but here they seem interesting, a comment on human nature rather than a dramatic failure. Has its highs and lows, but unlike Timon himself, averages out.

(last revised: 16 January 2022)

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