Archive for December, 2014

December 29, 2014

Waiting For The Robert E. Lee (Robert E. Lee steamboat)

December 22, 2014

“The guitar was human; the guitar taught me the secret of the guitar; the guitar learned me to play on the guitar. No music-master have I ever had but the guitar. I made a loving friend of it; a heart friend of it. It sings to me as I to it. Love is not all on one side with my guitar.” (Pierre, Melville.)

December 15, 2014

Micheal laid the Kafka biography over his chest. It was no use. It would require a complete renovation from top to bottom and even then the old failing structure would stand. The loudness, the coarseness, the glumness –not outside but within– the coarseness –now laying with eyes toward the cieling from the couch, now inserting change to get on the bus, now descending the stairs to get the mail –“It’s no use.”

December 15, 2014

Eboulement d’une falaise à Saint-Jouin-Bruneval * *

Additional tamarisk note

December 12, 2014

I was thinking about the tamarisk the other night again and another odd thing occurred to me about it, namely that in at least three of the mentions of the tamarisk weaponry is somehow involved. I haven’t gone back to the Iliad in a while so this is all a bit foggy and from memory but I believe the following is true:

— in the first mention, a slain Trojan’s armor is concealed in the tamarisk bush;

— in the second, the axle of a chariot gets twisted up in a tamarisk;

— in the third, a spear that has missed its target is lodged in the ground beside a tamarisk.

I would have to go back and read it, but it seems as if they might be notably different sorts of armament as well: shield — chariot — spear…. I don’t believe the fourth mention involves a weapon. There, the tamarisk is named among other plants as being consumed by fire on the bank of the river Xanthos. [Initial note on the tamarisk in Homer is here.] [Update: is fire the ‘weapon’?]

good old neon premise encountered

December 8, 2014

Looking through the introduction to Don Gifford’s annotation of Ulysses I saw stated the basic premise (or one of them) of the David Foster Wallace story Good Old Neon

We are all aware, for example, that we can think and perceive far more in the course of a few minutes of multi-leveled consciousness than we could spell out in words in as many hours.

It crossed my mind that this could have been part of the inspiration for Wallace’s story, but probably a more interesting consideration it raises involves contrasting how Joyce and Wallace each portrayed thinking as an act in their fiction: Is Wallace’s portrayal of thought in Good Old Neon to be considered an evolution of, a departure from, or essentially the same as, Joyce’s portrayal of thought in Ulysses? Have we learned anything, in the past hundred or five hundred years, about the portrayal of thought and thinking?

December 8, 2014

Because the Iapetus Ocean was positioned between continental masses that would at a much later time roughly form the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean, it can be seen as a sort of precursor of the Atlantic. The Iapetus Ocean was therefore named for the titan Iapetus, who in Greek mythology was the father of Atlas, after whom the Atlantic Ocean was namedIapetus (*) (*) (*)


“If even the lowest slave and scullion maid can bear to commit suicide, why should not one like myself be able to do what has to be done? But the reason I have not refused to bear these ills and have continued to live, dwelling in vileness and disgrace without taking my leave, is that I grieve that I have things in my heart which I have not been able to express fully, and I am shamed to think that after I am gone my writings will not be known to posterity….” Sima Qian


Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law ~ Stevens’ dissent, Bush v. Gore

St Julian the Hospitaler (2nd to last paragraph)

December 1, 2014

“Alors le Lepreux l’etreignit, et ses yeux tout a coup prirent une clarte d’etoiles; ses cheveux s’allongerent comme les rais du soleil; le souffle de ses narines avait la douceur des roses; un nuage d’encens s’eleva du foyer, les flots chantataient. Cependant une abondance de delices, une joie surhumaine descendait comme une inondation dans l’ame de Julien, pame; et celui dont les bras le serraient toujours, grandissait, grandissait, touchant de sa tete et de ses pieds les deux murs de la cabane. Le toit s’envola, le firmament se deployait; et Julien monta ver les espaces bleus, face a face avec Notre-Seigneur Jesus, qui l’emportait dans le ciel.”

Etreindre: hug, grasp. Prirent: passe simple, prendre. Narine: nostril. Flot: wave. Foyer: hearth. Pâmer: to swoon. Cabane: shed, cabin. Emporter: carry away. (Text with diacritical marks.)

“Then the leper hugged him, and all at once his eyes took on the brightness of stars; his hair stretched out like the rays of the sun; the breath from his nostrils had the sweetness of roses; a snow of incense rose from the hearth, the waves sang. At the same time, an abundance of delight, a superhuman joy descended as a flood in the soul of Julien, as it swooned; and the one whose arms still held him grew, grew, touching with his head and feet the two walls of the cabin. The roof flew off, the firmament spread out; and Julien climbed toward the blue spaces, face to face with Our Lord Jesus, who carried him away in the sky.”