Monday, November 12, 2007

placeholder/reading list

So I had this dream last night – no, not that kind of dream, tho it was very pleasant indeed – & when I got up this morning, I dashed off an email to my managing editor: "Dear R–––: While ordinarily I don't share my dreams, I had a lovely dream last night that I'd gotten an advance copy of The Poem of a Life; any chance this one's going to come true?" Of course I'd forgotten that today is the day after Veterans Day (or Veterans' Day, or Armistice Day, etc.) & therefore a holiday for most white-collar types. "Professor Fidget," Paul Naylor calls me; he doesn't know the half of it. I expect, once I get the book in my hands and the first 2-day euphoria has passed, to be (in Samuel Beckett's words) "a sad animal indeed."
I am incapable of sustained intellectual effort in blogging these days (& yes, I know there are many who would have me strike "these days" from that sentence), but I've been reading:
•Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians: as readable & as acid as the day it fell from the hands of the "neurasthenic" (thanks, WB, for that moniker)

•JH Prynne, Furtherance: 4 chapbooks, two of which are every bit as stonily impenetrable to me as the first time I read them three years ago

•Jennifer Bloomer, Architecture and the Text: The (S)crypts of Joyce and Piranesi: okay, I'm a sucker for any book that manages to wind in Joyce, Piranesi, Ruskin, Zukofsky, & Guy Davenport, & while I'm only a few pages into this one, I can tell it's going to be a doozey

•Joseph Brooker, Joyce's Critics: Transitions in Reading and Culture: I'm a sucker for reception histories – Gary Taylor's Reinventing Shakespeare, for all of Taylor's sometimes flamboyant silliness, is one of the landmark pieces of litcrit for me – and what's not to love about a book whose central chapter is titled "The Men of 1946: Tales Told of Dick and Hugh"? (that's Dick Ellmann & Hugh Kenner)

•Andrew Taylor, God's Fugitive: The Life of CM Doughty: modernist scholars know Doughty, if they know him at all, as the subject of a line in the Pisan Cantos, in which Pound recalls reading his epic poem The Dawn in Britain to Yeats back at Stone Cottage. Arabists know him as the most important traveller in the middle east between Burton & TE Lawrence, & the author of the quirky but brilliant Travels in Arabia Deserta. Taylor writes his life as the life of a traveller more than a writer, but the character of this God-besotted eminent Victorian – he brings Strachey's General Gordon to mind occasionally – is absolutely rivetting
And of course about a page & a half of The Phenomenology of Spirit daily. It keeps me from feeling intelligent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


How much on Davenport is there in Bloomer's book? IS Taylor's life of Doughty well written would you say?

Many thanks and tick-tock on your book!