More specifically concerning: biography
13 February 2003, around 9.28.
History should have a sense of proportion—a human touch, if you please. From a biography of Petrarch (2003.8, p. 51): In Verona, and well before the middle of June, he made his greatest find. He discovered in the library of the cathedral a volume containing the sixteen Books of Cicero’s collection of his letters to […]
‘could it be J— H— herself?’
9 September 2003, around 13.27.
Jane Ellen Harrison, 1850–1928 Independent lecturer in London, later a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, Jane Harrison was author of (among other things): Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Relgion (1903) and Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912). She is also one of the few women mentioned in the who’s […]
a well lerned gentylwoman
29 October 2003, around 11.09.
Margaret More Roper (Holbein, ca. 1535, Met.) Erasmus wrote many epistels to her, and dedicated his commentaries on certaine hymnes of Prudentius to this gentlewomen, and calleth her the flower of all learned matrones of England. Nor was she meanlie learned. She compounded in Greeke and latyn both verse and prose, and that most eloquentlie. […]
21 February 2004, around 9.24.
I call that day good in which I may spend the morning in bed reading Aubrey’s Brief Lives (cf.) and Cornelius Nepos.1 When Oxford surrendred, the first thing General Fairfax did was to sett a good Guard of Soldiers to preserve the Bodleian Library. ’Tis said that there was more hurt donne by the Cavaliers […]
on biography (1)
15 November 2011, around 6.12.
Alexander Theroux. The Strange Case of Edward Gorey. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2011. After much consideration of this point, I came to the resolution of writing truly, if I wrote at all; of withholding nothing, though some things, from their very nature, could not be spoken of so fully as others. —Elizabeth Gaskell (Life of Charlotte Brontë, […]
on biography (2)
9 February 2012, around 11.41.
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 Charlotte […]
hope against hope (1)
22 June 2012, around 18.24.
in which nothing much is said, especially about Hope Mirrlees.
hope against hope (2)
6 August 2012, around 10.48.
on Mirrlees and extravagant biographies; briefly.
22 November 2012, around 19.22.
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 […]
on biography (3)
8 February 2013, around 0.02.
After reading Didier Eribon’s biography of Foucault, I turned with some relief to Karl Popper’s memoir Unended Quest. The biography of Foucault was maddening because it did what good biographies should do, and didn’t speculate, especially where speculation was warranted. Popper, meanwhile, positively disinvites speculation. There’s nothing to speculate about; he grinds through ideas with […]
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 […]