The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

More specifically concerning: character

19.05.02 – Sunday

19 May 2002, around 20.09.

Sunshine and late rising, then baroque. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, […]

Twists & Turns

6 December 2002, around 11.19.

I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades Forever and forever when I move. How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! As though to breathe were life! Life […]

Citation (5)

14 January 2003, around 9.52.

from the Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimké…

Curio (1)

17 January 2003, around 11.02.

Ivories, Ashmolean. …What makes the man and what The man within that makes: Ask whom he serves or not Serves and what side he takes…. —Gerard Manley Hopkins (‘(On a Piece of Music)’)

against nature

23 January 2003, around 13.44.

His innate conservatism, extreme caution, and habitual temporizing were possible obstacles to the achievement of true political virtuosity, and in a state and age dedicated to war his failure to display military talent or to become a soldier of distinction may have been no less a hindrance. Of the seven premier statesmen of the century […]

Sed Vitae Caesaris

29 January 2003, around 11.09.

Coin depicting the Emperor Augustus1 from A Visual Compendium of Roman Emperors. At last reading Ronald Syme’s famous book, The Roman Revolution (Oxford, 1939), a history of the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the principate. It begins slowly, with a grim overview of the career of C. Julius Caesar Octavianus (later […]

An Observation (3)

1 February 2003, around 9.16.

Be suspicious of anyone who claims to be an intellectual. Especially if they say anything to the effect of: ‘I like to think of myself as something of an intellectual…’1 Be suspicious of anyone who makes you feel stupid. You probably are stupid, but that’s not the point. The sort of person who makes you […]

Citation (6)

2 February 2003, around 9.17.

Anna Comnena on the character of a good leader…

Memoirs

6 March 2003, around 8.55.

When I contemplate the common lot of mortality, I must acknowledge that I have drawn a high prize in the lottery of life. The far greater part of the globe is overspread with barbarism and slavery; in the civilized world the most numerous class is condemned to ignorance and poverty; and the double fortune of […]

Consumers of Culture

14 April 2003, around 14.43.

It is only through difference that progress has been made. What threatens us right now is probably what we may call overcommunication—that is, the tendency to know exactly in one point of the world what is going on in all other parts of the world. In order for a culture to be really itself and […]

fortitude

19 April 2003, around 12.35.

Men who have an eye for trouble, men who know that tiny causes have given birth to very great disasters, are full of worry at every unusual event, and, when their troubles are at the zenith, they fear for the outcome and tremble at every harassing rumour. Even if their luck turns, they still cannot […]

A dark and stormy night

3 May 2003, around 8.04.

It is a melancholy thing, which none but those educated at a college can understand, to see the debilitated frames of the aspirants for academical honours; to mark the prime—the verdure—the glory—the life—of life wasted irrevocably away in a labor ineptiarum, which brings no harvest either to others or themselves. For the poet, the philosopher, […]

Passing strange

9 May 2003, around 8.05.

A lyrical, a scholarly, a fastidious mind might have used seclusion and solitude to perfect its powers. Tennyson asked no better than to live with books in the heart of the country. But the mind of Elizabeth Barrett was lively and secular and satirical. She was no scholar. Books were to her not an end […]

Objections

13 May 2003, around 8.09.

Gaston, however, was planted in his path on the way to the door. ‘And if she goes again and does the very same?’ ‘The very same— ?’ Waterlow thought. ‘I mean something else as barbarous and as hard to bear.’ ‘Well,’ said Waterlow, ‘you’ll at least have got rid of your family.’ —Henry James, ‘The […]

The Thirteenth Part

14 May 2003, around 8.08.

Xanthochroi, svelte from their xerophagy, were uninterested in xenagogical activities. Xeniality was by no means widespread; nor, it should be added, was geniality. Rather, the denizens wandered to and fro, up stairs and down, content to busy themselves only with themselves, giving never a thought to anything else. Thus were they deeply enraptured with their […]

Citation (9)

8 June 2003, around 9.58.

political advice from Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis

pseudaphoristica (2)

11 June 2003, around 12.34.

omphalos.

humanistic

20 June 2003, around 8.05.

He was good-natured, inoffensive, and weak; and if he was not an incomparable citizen, he was, at least, an excellent vegetable. (2003.85, p. 94)

alma mater

18 August 2003, around 20.10.

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trail without a leash, both to prevent them from harassing other hikers and to keep the dogs themselves out of trouble. In places the sound of the river rises up the gravel slope, and thirsty dogs rush down for a drink and cannot reascend; should the owner go down to […]

inquiry (3)

23 August 2003, around 15.44.

It is a long story and a sad story, not yet complete and not entirely knowable – mainly about the past and how to deal with it. For lack of evidence, I’ll skip the beginning, though the middle is hearsay and the end has not yet arrived. Starting, then, in media res: the old man […]

grave & weatherworn

23 November 2003, around 6.08.

Scaliger was far from untouched by the religious troubles of his day, but the way they bedevilled the scholarship of the sixteenth century is more starkly illustrated in the case of his friend and younger contemporary Casaubon. Born in Geneva of refugee Protestant parents, obliged to learn his Greek hiding in a cave in the […]

the world discovered

8 February 2004, around 9.42.

I seem to be collecting Theophrastian anthologies. By which I mean the text of John Earle’s Microcosmography (1628) is available here for the amusement and edification of all and sundry.1 Here’s an excerpt from ‘A Down-right Scholar’: The time has got a vein of making him ridiculous, and men laugh at him by tradition, and […]

pseudaphoristica (8)

4 March 2004, around 15.05.

vartue.

Citation (19)

12 March 2004, around 10.58.

athletes and academics.

Crambe repetita (6)

16 March 2004, around 8.08.

Collins, The Woman in White.

perspicable

23 April 2004, around 14.12.

Happily Miss Carridge was a woman of few words. When body odour and volubility meet, then there is no remedy (43). *     *     * Her mind was so collected that she saw clearly the impropriety of letting it appear so (79). —Samuel Beckett Murphy (1938)

Crambe repetita (11)

3 September 2004, around 17.49.

Thomas Carlyle, Two Notebooks.

pleasant & agreeable

9 January 2014, around 12.00.

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 say, […]

daily

14 February 2014, around 22.11.

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 […]

Montaigne 1.19

22 May 2015, around 11.17.

Solon the Athenian, from the Nuremberg Chronicle But in this last act, where death and ourselves each play there part, there must be no more pretending: we must speak plainly, and disclose what there is of good and clean at the bottom of the pot. —Montaigne (Essays, ‘That we should not judge of our happiness […]

self-as-character

16 May 2016, around 14.14.

This a juxtaposition of two quotations about self presentation, from Erving Goffman and Simone Weil.

pseudaphoristica (19)

1 February 2017, around 6.58.

weasels.

Crambe repetita (46)

15 July 2017, around 6.13.

Vasily Grossman, Forever Flowing.

human kindness, curdled

25 February 2021, around 5.23.

‘A plan of the cities of London and Westminster’, etc., by Johns Roque, Pine, and Pinney (ca. 1746) We disputed about some poems. Sheridan said that a man should not be a poet except he were excellent; for that to be a mediocris poeta was but a poor thing. I said I differed from him. […]

the foyer inside

27 September 2021, around 7.00.

This a juxtaposition of two quotations about interior architectures, from Henry James and George Eliot.

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