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Showing posts from June 5, 2016

the lost classics

There is a subculture of neglected or lost books, of which I am a member. I am a frequent visitor at the neglected books blog, which keeps lists put out at various times by journals like Anteaus and American Scholar. Typically, these lists are compiled from the responses of authors who are asked to name a book that deserves more recognition. While I was travelling back from Paris a couple of days ago, I read a book, Lost Classics, which consisted of little essays extolling neglected books, lost books, childhood favorites, and the like. The essays were built on the format of the personal essay, the dominant form in our time. I’m not against personal essays, but I do find that context sorta gets whacked in favor of a rather uncritical self report. I thought, naturally, about what I’d include in a list. And then I thought I’d write my own little essays about writers who have not gotten a fair shake in the American culture I know. But before I do that: what does it mean, in a book’s

curiosity cabinets

A detached page… Visit to the Muséum d’histoire naturelle yesterday on Rue Buffon. I am fond or, to be Frenchy, J’adore this little piece of Paris, between the Austerlitz station and that Hammam-mosque on St. Hilaire that boasts a little salon de the. First, I, with Adam in tow (or, more precisely, en avant, since I was pushing Adam in  his stroller) met Francois at the Luxembourg Park, where we strolled about under a grey sky that was determined to make the Park look ordinary or even dreary. And succeeded: the Park did look dreary, as we walked down dreary paths among dreary, locked up amusement areas for the kids, past the dreary tennis courts where two ardent but very wet players were batting around an increasingly soppy ball, and past the rain bedraggled flowering bushes, and past the dreary orangery into the coven of streets near Saint Sulpice, wet and grey, and into an American style lunch place. It was American style down to the menu, which advertised bagels and lox and var