Sunday, January 29, 2012

Current Favourite Sentence

'I have been a liar, and among liars from a little child,' said the girl after another interval of silence, 'but I will take your words.'

Current Favourite Comparison

Past and present are hilariously, almost hysterically, linked in 'Rhampsenit'; in the moral (you get a security-conscious king if you appoint a thief) there is a touch of the grim irony which recurs irregularly but frequently in the poetry of Heine's later years - even when the mood is ostensibly gay there lurks a gruesome quality which finds a modern echo in some of the songs of Mr Tom Lehrer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The thing about clichés...


Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling

Read more here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Current Favourite Footnote

Prince Dmitri Ivanovich Dolgorukov (1797-1867), the son of the poet I.M. Dolgorukov, was at that time the secretary to the Russian Embassy in London. Dolgorukov became friends with Washington Irving in Madrid, where he was the attaché to the Russian Embassy. Before the beginning of his diplomatic career Dolgorukov had written poems and had been a member of the ‘Green Lamp’ literary society, where he met Pushkin. On 4 April 1820 Dolgorukov became attached to the Russian Embassy in Constantinople (along with S.I. Turguénev and D.V. Dashkov). In 1821 he returned to Petersburg. In a letter from Pushkin to S.I. Turguénev there is a reminiscence of Dolgorukov: ‘Give my regards to Chu [Dashkov], if Chu remembers me, but Dolgorukov has forgotten me.’ Dolgorukov’s letters from abroad were printed in the Russian Archive (1914-1915). They contain not a single mention of Irving, or of Pushkin.

I think it's the word 'reminiscence' that gets to me...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Books I Read in 2011

My five favourites (in no order). [NOTE: for no good reason, this excludes books I've already mentioned here; if it doesn't seem too smarmy, I really do think one of the best books I've read this year is this one.]

Yevgeni Popov, Душа Патриота, или Различные послания к Ферфичкину.

Gillian Rose, Love's Work.

Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare

Luis de Góngora, Romances

Ian Frazier, Travels in Siberia

Percentage Breakdown by Country

British 43.6%
USA 23.6%
Russia 13.3%
Spain 7.3%
France 3%
Turkey 1.2%
Canada 1.2%
Slovenia 1.2%
Australia 1.2%
Israel 0.6%
Italy 0.6%
South Africa 0.6%
Argentina 0.6%
Greece 0.6%
Germany 0.6%
Mexico 0.6%

Percentage Breakdown by Genre

Novel, literary 25.5%
Novel, genre 25.5%
Essays 17.6%
Poetry 12.1%
(Auto)biography 6.1%
Short Stories 4.2%
History 3.6%
(Screen)plays 2.4%
Comic Books 1.8%
Travel 1.2%