Monday, May 28, 2007

Limericks

Sorry to have been away for a bit, but we've been moving round the world (well, Germany, Italy, France and now Barcelona), and it's been difficult to get a chance to sit down and tell you about how we've been moving round the world.

To keep you going until I do get a chance to bore you with photos:

'Since the limerick seems to be at home primarily in English, and since it hardly qualifies as an Oulipan type of form, little use of it has been made by the group (Luc √Čtienne's 19 limericks are simply an essay in acclimatising the form to the French language). The limerick clearly requires a supplementary restriction to give its familiar pattern a new sense. One example of such a restriction can be seen in [Harry Mathews's limerick, included with others in BO70:

Young Dick, always eager to eat,
Denied stealing the fish eggs, whereat
Caning him for a liar
His pa ate the caviar
And left Dick digesting the caveat.]

Another appears in the following two limericks, supplied by Martin Gardner (the author's name has been lost):

There was a young man from Peru
Whose limericks stopped at line two.

There was a young man from Verdun.

A different kind of restriction, semantic rather than syntactic, is manifest in Tennyson's improvised response to a remark at a dinner party that it was impossible to compose a serious limerick:

There are people now living in Erith
Whom nobody seeth or heareth,
And down by the marge
Of the river, a barge
That nobody roweth nor steereth.'

Of course, seriousness is in the eye of the beholder.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Current Favourite Sentences

Bumper crop today.

'He is only nine-and-twenty, and he has an immense lunatic asylum all under his own care.'

'"Good God, Professor!" I said, starting up. "Do you mean to tell me that Lucy was bitten by such a bat, and that such a thing is here, in London, in the nineteenth century?"'

'How many women are even now tenderly nursing ancient creeds, whose main virtue is the virtue of their professors?'

'They had sought for a good and worthy citizen to rule them; it was their misfortune that such an one could only be found among the dead.'