Books 2010

Books 2009

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Friday, 13 February 2009


There was a phase when Housman went right out of fashion, derided as mawkish and self-indulgent - as Auden brilliantly but cruelly put it, 'he kept tears like dirty postcards, hidden in a drawer'. But this translation, and some of his best original work, are exceptionally powerful just because they appeal to very strong and near universal human emotions, the awareness and resentment of our ultimate end. I'm very grateful for the pointers to Horace (and Stoppard) and will try and follow them at least part of the way.

Very interesting, thank you to both the lovely blogger and the lovely cat for educating me.
Caught in an avalanche? My goodness! I hope you'll tell us one day how it happened and how it feels.
I also wonder what you may think when you write about something and your readers discuss something else and very different.

Pure water (and pure ice without air-bubbles) absorbs light more strongly in the red region of the spectrum than the blue. In very pure ice light penetrates for a significant depth before being backscattered and thus the absorption of the red light is significant. Snow, and ice with air bubbles, scatter light strongly near their surface and in a wavelength (= colour) independent way which is why they look white. In some icebergs (greenish ones) there appear to be additional organic material incorporated which can explain their unusual colour (see JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS Volume: 98 (1993) Pages: 6921-6928).

Yes, you frequently come across the phrase "son of the manse" which just means someone brought up in a household where the father was the local (Scottish protestant)clergyman, and implying a strict, puritan cast of character.

The blue in the icebergs comes from within them - its not a reflection, but the refraction of white light from the crystal structures within the ice. Snow and ice typically give a wonderful range of blues and greens - as I once saw when caught in a small avalanche!

Dear Glo
"Manse" refers to a house inhabited (or formerly inhabited) by a minister of the Church of Scotland (or similar Presbyterian organisation). It is equivalent to Vicarage or Rectory I guess.

What to say then? just too stupendous for words. And the translation is awesome too, it has such a wonderful rhythm and musicality. Thank
you for the travel, Mr Bagshaw.

Re. the new quotation on the right column
"in the manses of Scotland" ? "in the manes of Scotland" would be very fine.... or is it "in the mansions of Scotland" ?!

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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