Monthly Archives: December 2006

What species of vectitation

I ambled through the woods adjoining the Cypress Creekway, woods full of tame does and pileated woodpeckers, woods crossed with impacted trails and pocked with the aluminum remains of impromptu campfires, and saw, near the creekbed, a red brazen jeep, its driver behatted (pileated peckerwood?) and unwary. No one went with Fergus then, as I far as I could see.

Am finally reading here, in the public library, Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Clancy and I toured the Rosenbaum house, apparently the purest example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian mode, here a few days ago, and I was delighted to see Professor Rosenbaum’s copy of My Secret Life prominently displayed in the built-in shelving. I’m not sure what Wright was thinking with the flat roofs, exactly. Perhaps he anticipated a return to the trees before leaking would be a serious problem. The cantilevers are especially refreshing in a town filled with gaudy ornamental columns. But I never finished telling you about the Blink: why is that Gladwell’s book is here, and that works like Timothy Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptative Unconscious are not? Doesn’t this represent a fundamental failure in the library selection system?

But I’ve returned to Against the Day now. Luc Sante’s recent review is probably the best one I’ve read yet. I found the rhetoric of Sante’s mention of wikipedia interesting in that piece; I wonder if it’s the first time that such a reference has crept into the Review.

A Guessing Game

Clancy and I just played a google guessing game: I asked how many hits, within an order of magnitude, do you think ”barack obama antichrist” will return? Clancy answered three digits, I said five. As of a few minutes ago, the answer was 36,700, leaving me with the exultation of victory.

This post by Apostropher, who may be the same one who comments at Unfogged frequently, is the number one hit as of right now. There were only twenty eight results from usenet, which I find somewhat disturbing. Isn’t usenet where this kind of idea best percolates, even now?

Graduate Opacities of the Evening

J. C. Powys appreciated Hart Crane’s “For The Marriage of Faustus and Helen” (Hart Crane, LOA 338), and Crane was also consoled by the vigorous style of Lewis’s Time and Western Man, a “lot better than the usual Doug Fairbanks of controversies” (575). I could see “There is a world dimensional/For those untwisted by the love of things/Irreconcilable” as an epigraph for A Glastonbury Romance.

Also, well known, but worth repeating is Crane’s judgement that “Rimbaud is the last great poet that our civilization will see” (467). That last terrible letter, “am going back to Cleveland to help in the business crisis, ” reeks of metempsychotic anticipation: legless, enchanting a devout younger sister with fairy tales, proprioceptive phantoms.

Of The Minor Characters in Middlemarch

The one that I would most like to write a novel about, set mostly during his dashing early years, is Cpt. Lydgate: “He had, moreover, that sort of high-breeding which consists in being free from the petty solicitudes of middle-class gentility, and he was a great critic of feminine charms” (Ch. LVIII).

Norman Mailer remarked that he couldn’t get past the bananas in Gravity’s Rainbow. I have now passed the equivalent point in Against The Day. We are too accustomed to Pynchon, I think, to appreciate him.