Monday, July 9, 2012

The one. The only....

new yorked

Well, actually, I unsubscribed from the New Yorker when not only could I not access the digital archives, despite subscribing to it on my Kindle, I also couldn't get one answer to about ten (plaintive, not rude!) emails directed to various customer service departments asking how to get access (I did get one canned response: "You need to subscribe!" Uh, thanks). At least I won't have to sit through any more John McPhee articles (I had to read Oranges in grad school, and detested it).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Everything is Everything

Dead Souls

"You should have seen the catch we had! What a great big sturgeon got into the net! What big crucian carp, what enormous mirror carp!"

"It's annoying just listening to you. Why are you always so cheerful?"

"And why should I be depressed, for heaven's sake!" said his host.

"Why be depressed? Because things are depressing."

"You don't eat enough, that's all. Why don't you try to have a good dinner. Depression's only been invented recently: nobody used to be depressed before."

"Oh stop boasting. Are you saying you've never been depressed?"

"Never! I don't know what it is and I don't have the time for it. You wake up in the morning and the chef is already there and you have to order dinner. Then there's tea, then the farm manager, then you go fishing, and then it's dinnertime. You hardly have time for a snooze after dinner and the chef is back, you have to order supper. How do you find the time for depression?"

...."Believe me....that sometimes I'd like to have something to worry about just for a change, but I don't even have anyone who annoys me. I'm depressed, that's all."

- Gogol, Dead Souls (tr. Donald Rayfield)

top albums

Top albums for week ending 7-6.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dar Williams - You Will Ride With Me Tonight

'What price Chillingborough now?'

- Wanted to check I had the Paul Scott quote below right and Googled it - I don't quite know where my huge copy of the Raj Quartet is, the thick thin-paged closely-printed anthology I dragged with me in my suitcase from New Mexico to Washington State in 1999 - and got sucked RIGHT back in to Guy Perron's narration, nearly all of it on Google Books, Rowan describing his interrogation of Hari Kumar/Harry Coomer....feeling again the kind of inner shudder you do with greatness. All you can do is marvel.

'however disagreeable'

No: I intend no introspection. I mark Henry James's sentence: Observe perpetually. Observe the oncome of age. Observe greed. Observe my own despondency. By that means it becomes serviceable. Or so I hope. I insist upon spending this time to the best advantage. I will go down with my colours flying. This I see verges on introspection; but doesn't quite fall in.
- Virginia Woolf, last full entry in her diary, Saturday 8 March 1941

Footnote: "Cf. 'Henry James' in Desmond MacCarthy's Portraits (1931), p. 155: 'He had been describing to me the spiral of depression which a recent nervous illness had compelled descend...."But it has been good....for my genius." Then he added, "Never cease to watch whatever happens to you."'"

(cf. also Paul Scott, in the Raj Quartet: "And no experience, however disagreeable, is ever wasted.")