Saturday, April 19, 2014


  Anyone who undertakes an inquiry
  of such a [forensic] kind is
  soon made aware of one important
  fact: the worthlessness of human
  testimony. It is a chastening
  thought to a historian to consider
  how much of history is written on
  the basis of statements no more 
  reliable than those of Admiral
  Doenitz .. If such statements had
  been made and recorded with refer-
  ence to the disputed death of the
  Czar Alexander I in 1825, plenty
  of historians would have been ready
  to take them seriously. 

         What might I be ready
         to take seriously, if
         not a gentle teaching
         that frees me from a-
         lienation of distrust?


Hugh Trevor-Roper
Student [Fellow] of
  Christ Church, Oxford
Late Regius Professor 
  of Modern History
The Last Days of Hitler
  Introduction to the 
    Third Edition
University of Chicago Press 
  Sixth Edition, 1987©


Friday, April 18, 2014


 Florentino Ariza, who had never lost
 the timidity of a novice even in com-
 fortable circumstances, risked a super-
 ficial caress on her neck with the tips
 of his fingers, and she writhed and
 moaned like a spoiled child and did not
 stop crying. Then he kissed her on the
 same spot, just as softly, and he could
 not kiss her a second time because she
 turned toward him with all her monumen-
 tal body, eager and warm, and they roll-
 ed in an embrace on the floor. The cat
 on the sofa awoke with a screech and
 jumped on top of them. They groped like
 desperate virgins and found each other
 any way they could, wallowing in the
 torn albums, fully dressed, soaked with
 sweat, and more concerned with avoiding
 the furious claws of the cat than with 
 the disastrous love they were making.

  But beginning the fol-
  lowing night, their
  scratches still bleed-
  ing, they continued to
  make love for several

Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Love in the Time of Cholera
Edith Grossman
Knopf, 1988©

ii Photograph Laurent
    Leica M-6, 50mm Summicron
    op. cit.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Docile carousel

Rock-lavender full of small pious birds
On precipices torn from old sky,
Promiscuous as the goddess of the grove.
No wonder the wise men listening pondered why
If speech be an involuntary response to stress,
How about song, then? Soft verbs, hard nouns
Confess the voice's submission to desire.
A theology of insight going begging.

Lawrence Durrell
Sicilian Carousel
  Birdsong: Erice
op. cit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spiffy news from Mailhos

     This is what it was like for the Sabines then,
     And for Romulus and Remus, in the old days.
     This must be how Etruria grew strong,
     And Rome became the most beautiful thing there is.

Georgics ii
30 BC
David Ferry
op. cit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All this time, we feared, it might be over

This page has only it-
self to blame, need one
say, for arousing dread
that a parvenu collector
of buildings might yank
the curtain of Tricorne
from 375 Park Avenue -
possibly, a trophy too
vast to smuggle across
the borders of even our
adulation of the gross.

Will someone, please,
stand up and say what 
about Pablo Picasso,
could nail a vampire 
in his tracks?

Phyllis Lambert has
done so. Friends are
encouraged to acquire
a uniquely competent
and necessary memoir
of a prior civilisa-
tion in this land, of
such a forgotten amal-
gam of industry, op-
portunity, privilege,
genius, decency, and
taste as might strew
a boulevard of bucks
with instruction in

Doesn't one take pride 
in the gorgeousness of 
the good derived from 
any person? The greater
the gorgeousness, is no
matter: the good is im-
mutable. But the master-
piece is needed, because 
we forget how we hunger.

Phyllis Bronfman Lambert
Building Seagram
Yale University Press, 2013©

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whose shirt is this

They saw history as a process, and a process, moreover, of improvement, of progress. Thereby they gave to its study a new value, not merely moral and political, but intel-lectual and social.

The men of the past entered their story
only indirectly, as the agents or vic-
tims of 'progress': they seldom appear-
ed directly, in their own right, in 
their own social context, as the legit-
imate owners of their own autonomous

The romantic writers changed all that.
Seing the doctrine of progress convert-
ed from a gospel of humanity into a
slogan of conquest, they .. tried to
look on the past direct .. they resol-
ved, at all costs, to make the past

Hugh Trevor-Roper
Lord Dacre of Glanton
Regius Professor of Modern History
History and the Enlightenment
  The Romantic Movement and
  the Study of History
  op. post.
John Robertson, editor
Yale University Press, 2010©


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Functions of style v: gps

I have expatiated on the loss
of my literary maidenhead, a
memorable era in the life of
a student when he ventures to
reveal the measure of his mind.

  His hopes and fears
  are multiplied by the
  idea of self-importance
  and he believes for a
  while that the eyes of
  mankind are fixed on his
  person and performance.

Whatever may be my present rep-
utation .. I may appreciate my
juvenile work with the imparti-
ality, and almost the indiffer-
ence, of a stranger.

Edward Gibbon
1737 - 1794
op. post.
Dero A. Saunders, editor
Meridian Books, 1961©