“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Miscellanea

Limited Edition is too charming for words -- especially for those of us who grew up reading Victorian novels and mentally immersed in the English countryside. The magazine takes an antiquarian interest in Oxfordfordshire, and sends its reporters out to get the scoop on such hot stories as the latest ancient pots exhibit in the Wallingford Museum. Ourselves, we loved this piece about Anthony a Wood. Here are the first three grafs:

"A conceited, impudent coxcomb, is how a contemporary described Anthony a Wood, a 17th-century historian and antiquary with a genius for alienating people.

Born in 1632 in a house called Postmasters Hall facing Merton College gate, he studied at Merton and lived almost his entire life in Oxford.

Wood occupied two garrets at the top of the family house, making himself a hermit�s cell there where he pored over his books and papers. When he did venture out he managed to feud with just about everyone he knew: scholars, family and friends alike."

Hmm. Sounds like LI. Here's a bit of unexpected confirmatory evidence for Elias' Civilizing process thesis, to which we alluded a few posts ago:

"Through its pages [Wood's journal] we see unruly scholars stealing geese at Wolvercote; the spread of the pox in Oxford; panic in the city as the sky darkens with smoke-clouds from the great fire of London; the disgraceful behaviour of Charles II�s courtiers who, on quitting Oxford, �leave their excrements in every corner, in chimneys, studies, coal-houses, cellars. Rude, rough, whoremongers; vaine, empty, careless."

We have the same problem with Bush's courtiers.

Woods was a cantakerous fella, but he did like to play a jig now and then. He liked to disguise himself as a poor country musician and, with similarly disguised colleagues, stroll about from country green to country green regaling the interested with various airs. "After playing at Kidlington, however, they were overtaken by a group of soldiers who forced them to play in an open field and then left without giving a penny. �Most of my companion,� wrote Wood, �would afterwards glory in this, but I was ashamed, and could never endure to hear of it.�

And since we are strolling about the magazine scene, shouts out to our friend Lorin Stein for his piece in the New York Review of Books. Unfortunately, you have to fork over bucks to read it on-line. Lorin reviews Aleksandar Hemon's novel, Nowhere Man. It is a very pretty review. So check it out at a news stand.

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