Yes, back to blogging, with no fanfare, no trumpets, no FB announcements (maybe). With a welcome cold front, and an even more welcome end to the endless election season, the time seems right to resume posting occasional reminders (perhaps only to myself) of my existence.
Reading, as always. Very near the end of another trundle thru JH Prynne's huge Poems; re-reading Red D Gypsum (1998), Pearls That Were (1999), and Triodes (1999), found myself shocked by how much they had shaped my own idiom in both Torture Garden and in Red Arcadia. Never too old to be influenced, I guess, or too weak-minded.
Much Ruskin. As for the Library Edition, it's all over but the letters, specifically the last half of the second volume of letters. Along the way, as I continue to accumulate ancillary JR materials, I read a book or two a week of criticism or ephemera. J. H. Whitehouse's edition of The Solitary Warrior: New Letters by Ruskin (Houghton Mifflin, 1930) is definitely among the latter. 179 small pages, large type, huge margins – numerous blank pages between sections; I'd guess there's a 50-page ordinary book lurking in here. Perhaps there are a half-dozen letters of real (but only mild) interest in the volume – discussions of JR's relationship with Rose La Touche, socio-political speculations, early intimations of the Guild of St. George. The rest are invitations to tea, apologies for not writing, "staying in touch" notes. One marvels, by the end, that a major publisher bothered to bring this out at all. An index, I suppose of how precious any scrap of Ruskin's writing seemed at one time.
Frans G. Bengtsson's The Long Ships (Röde Orm) is the bomb. My Swedish friend Göran gave me a British (HarperCollins) paperback a year or two ago, but I only started it the other day. Delicious, even guiltily delicious, reading. Flashman meets Dumas meets the Icelandic sagas.