More specifically concerning: style
19.11.01 – Monday
19 November 2001, around 15.58.
Softly, softly. Malthakôs. The oak leaves are falling at last — air of unreality, setting a scene (tho’ not making one). Received two glorious letters – read them in the afternoon light while waiting for the bus. Invariably waiting for the inevitable bus. There really is something about reading Plato. I can’t explain it. The […]
Incomplete Associations (Latin)
27 February 2003, around 9.32.
The prose of Cicero is a ripened plum, the dusky purple austerity concealing a rich and summery sweetness. The lines of Ovid are a silver ring; of Horace, a poet’s faded crown, gone gray and dusty down the centuries. Yet Vergil’s lines are as a shepherd’s staff, for cudgeling foes or correcting friends. The works […]
Incomplete Associations (Greek)
16 March 2003, around 7.02.
The fragments of Sappho flutter like a silken ribbon caught in thorny centuries.1 Herodotus is the sound of nodding asleep amid the low murmur of unuttered secrets and improbable truths. The dialogues of Plato are a sly glance between clever friends. Thucydides marshals his words, setting them in trim, ordered lines, bristling and iron-edged. The […]
24 March 2003, around 6.35.
In a word, my work is digressive, and it is progressive too,—and at the same time. This, Sir, is a very different story from that of the earth’s moving round her axis, in her diurnal rotation, with her progress in her elliptic orbit which brings about the year, and constitutes that variety and vicissitude of […]
the end of English letters
15 April 2003, around 8.10.
April 9 : VirginiaWoolf’s The Years and F. Tennyson Jesse’s A Pine to See the Peep Show read at once—what with rain and fairies and walloping bells at Oxford and Missie dying of love for Teacher with a dash of beans and fish with the lower middle class—impress one again with the constipation of English […]
2 July 2003, around 11.39.
4 August 2003, around 8.04.
Wherefore, I beckoned to Gioffredo to take the ankles: but I myself took the hollow armpits; and terribly the head waggled between. In this manner we flung the dead slave from the balcony: but, after we had heard the splash of his fall in Tiber, we returned, expecting new events. (chapter xii) ‘Terribly the head […]
the emphasis was helped
21 October 2003, around 7.48.
Menas: These three world-sharers, these competitors, Are in thy vessel: let me cut the cable; And, when we are put off, fall to their throats: All there is thine. Pompey: Ah, this thou shouldst have done, And not have spoke on’t! In me ’tis villany; In thee’t had been good service. Thou must know, ’Tis […]
14 November 2003, around 12.38.
Although the new A. S. Byatt collection Little Black Book of Stories is something of a disappointment because three1 of the five stories have been published before, the last paragraph in the book book almost makes up for it: Finally, this book is dedicated to my German translator and to my Italian translators, all good […]
27 December 2003, around 16.07.
Now although this elegant ordination of vegetables, hath found coincidence or imitation in sundry works of Art, yet is it not also destitute of naturall examples, and, though overlooked by all, was elegantly observable, in severall works of nature. —from the Garden of Cyrus I dreamt I was made to sit an examination on the […]
16 January 2004, around 8.55.
29 January 2004, around 18.43.
As the abandonment of periodic arrangement really makes the colon useless, it would be well (though of course any one who still writes in formal periods should retain his rights over it) if ordinary writers would give it up altogether except in special uses, independent of its quantitative value, to which it is being more […]
11 March 2013, around 19.44.
18 March 2013, around 5.52.
melodramatic laocoon attitudes…
a mere habit
24 December 2014, around 11.56.
It is snowing outside and there is nothing to do save sit in front of the fire and read. Indeed, there is nothing one would rather be doing. Did she distrust all figurative language because she was sharply aware of the aptitude of the most languid figurative expressions for persisting as a mere habit of […]
16 October 2015, around 6.21.
anachronism Well I wot that when I heare some give themselves to dwell on the phrase of my Essayes, I would rather have them hold their peace: They doe not so much raise the words as depresse the sense; so much the more sharply by how much more obliquely. Yet am I deceived if some […]
25 February 2020, around 17.12.
from the lumber room.
8 January 2021, around 5.47.
The other day I happened see something about a fashion photographer’s memoirs and was bored and the ebook was available from the library, so I succumbed to the temptation of my phone and looked. It had the expected condescending, self-assured tone, with a rhythm to its prose like the jolting trot of a school-horse (willful, […]
fits and starts
1 March 2021, around 8.35.
This a juxtaposition of three quotations about clothes, from Boswell, Hamann, and Thomas Carlyle.
14 March 2022, around 7.24.
Τὰ μὲν σπεύδει γίνεσθαι, τὰ δὲ σπεύδει γεγονέναι, καὶ τοῦ γινομένου δὲ ἤδη τι ἀπέσβη: ῥύσεις καὶ ἀλλοιώσεις ἀνανεοῦσι τὸν κόσμον διηνεκῶς, ὥσπερ τὸν ἄπειρον αἰῶνα ἡ τοῦ χρόνου ἀδιάλειπτος φορὰ νέον ἀεὶ παρέχεται. ἐν δὴ τούτῳ τῷ ποταμῷ τί ἄν τις τούτων τῶν παραθεόντων ἐκτιμήσειεν, ἐφ’ οὗ στῆναι οὐκ ἔξεστιν; ὥσπερ εἴ τίς τι […]
22 November 2022, around 7.45.
‘Non mehercules ieiuna esse et arida volo, quae de rebus tam magnis dicentur; neque enim philosophia ingenio renuntiat. Multum tamen operae inpendi verbis non oportet.’ —Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 75.3
10 March 2023, around 4.59.
I have an excellent memory, and I always remember the next day what I would have said if my paper had been long enough. In saying this, I have no intention of making you believe that I think by rule, that my sentences are so exact that they resemble a circle, which you have no […]