Spent much of the day pitchforking thru great stacks of old mail around the house. My papercuts have papercuts. Must have opened 150 envelopes or more.
***Taking a break from Modern Painters & reading some secondary texts on Ruskin. Giovanni Cianci & Peter Nicholls's Ruskin & Modernism (Palgrave 2001) seems to hit almost all of the obvious interesting points of JR's influence, direct & indirect, on the high modernists – except for (a) Pound, which has been covered in a number of articles over the years & (b) Joyce, which I'm not sure has received its due. Essays all a bit too short – they feel like conference papers, which I guess they are; but most of them quite solid.
Then turned to an oldie, George Landow's The Aesthetic and Critical Theories of John Ruskin (Princeton UP 1971). They don't publish them like this anymore: solid 450+ pages, footnotes at the foot of the page where you can use them. The style is clear without being simplistic, the pace measured without being otiose (too often). Me, I need someone to say things like this, this clearly (part of a discussion of JR's version of ut pictura poesis, in the context of Romanticism):
As long as critics considered poetry a mimetic art, its natural analogue was painting; but once it became an art whose central operation and purpose were expressive, poetry's natural analogue became music.That makes a lot of sense. How one gets from Sir Joshua Reynolds & Pope to Pater. (Note how Landow's sentence, clearly no grand shakes stylistically, derives a certain authoritativeness from the chiastic juggling of "poetry" and the pronominal substitution "it.")
Bloomsday – or pre-Bloomsday – last weekend went just fine: good time had by all. I venture to think my talk was actually "entertaining," as they kept billing it; entertaining enough for the pub to keep me fed and drinking for the rest of the evening, which was fine by me. We ran thru our scratch set of 3 songs, then played another three, then found ourselves in an actual session, with other (real!) musicians sitting in.