Thursday, June 23, 2011


1. An amazing headline from the new NYRB (screenshot because I do not trust them not to change it):

2. Also in this issue is a story by Deborah Eisenberg (someone I've always meant to read...) that I enjoyed the first 70% or so of. This bit of writing struck me as esp. interesting:

The girl went over to a rack on the other side of the room, and started moving the hangers as Vivian herself was continuing to do. She was wearing the shabbiest possible coat, an old, bedraggled fur thing of the sort that was to be found in junk shops at the time for a few pounds. The fur was hanging off, disgustingly, in chunks, as if she had been flayed.

The clicking of the hangers along the racks continued on both sides of the room, slowly and rhythmically, as if two clocks were each pedantically asserting different hypotheses.

Part of what is interesting is that the two consecutive paragraphs, each ending with the same kind of simile, go well together.

3. Reading Gosse's Father and Son, which was OK and had some interesting details but is not on the whole esp. recommended, I came upon the word "febrifugal" -- of obvious meaning, of course, but nevertheless a little striking. But on closer inspection it appears to have been a pedantic counter for a generic Victorian idea, e.g. here's Ruskin as per the OED:
Geometry seems to have acted as a febrifuge.
Ugh, yes, cold mathematics vs. teh passionz! [I thoroughly detest Ruskin, going by what little I have read of his. (Which is naturally not much.) Other than H.G. Wells and to some extent Shelley there is no other canonical author to whom I am quite as hostile.]

4. Speaking of Wells, I enjoyed Colin Burrow's piece about him in the LRB (via Zach Sachs, possibly gated).

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