Re: Of human bondage

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Now extraordinary humans?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:18 PM
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Only my parents, and only by virtue of being mine.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:19 PM
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Your post suffers for lack of a comma, Ben.

Nevermind that. The thought that someone, much less my own offspring, might read my college-age marginalia ... gives pause. My grad school marginalia I'd stand by; college, not so much. Though I surely knew what I meant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:29 PM
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These marginalia were made with the benefit of an MA and, as I have said, consist entirely of definitions, so.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:31 PM
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If my son ever grows up to be charmed by my marginalia, I will be flattered beyond all belief.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:33 PM
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He still won't forgive you for the haircut.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:34 PM
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What haircut?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:35 PM
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Exactly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:35 PM
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I will never have offspring, for fear that they may read my marginalia.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:37 PM
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The young gentleman's long hair is his own decision.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:38 PM
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I will never write in margins for fear that it might bring about juvenilia.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:38 PM
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Personal choice only counts so far.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:42 PM
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I'm vastly entertained, when I'm not mystified, by my own (college-age, or, god knows, prior) marginalia.

Since I'm all grown up now, I have no fear, of course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:44 PM
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He still won't forgive you for the haircut not circumsizing him.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:47 PM
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||

I'm yawning so hard I'm going to break my jaw, and I still have hours of work I need to have done for tomorrow morning.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:47 PM
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||
I've just come home from hearing Ian Bostridge sing Schubert. It was seriously like two hours of this. Just exquisite.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:48 PM
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I'm having a better time. Sorry, LB.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-24-08 11:51 PM
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I have been trying to limit my time here for the sake of productivity, but I am moved to de-lurk to say that this was a lovely post.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:01 AM
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At least he'll be able to spell circumcision.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:01 AM
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Thanks, Belle.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:02 AM
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I discovered a couple of years ago that I'd written in the margin of my freshman year Norton Anthology of Poetry, next to "Sailing to Byzantium", several exclamation points, and then in (of all things) green pen: "I Love Yeats" in all caps.

This still sort of makes me frown.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:03 AM
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Why is its having been in green pen especially frownworthy or notable?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:05 AM
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22:

Two parts: the green pen ... I was at the time enamored of pens of many types. Used different ones for different moods? It was as though I was performing with myself, in an adolescent angst. And green? Ink? On paper?

And the marginal note, if it wasn't just an ejaculation, is notable simply because I have no memory of it, or even of having read that poem closely enough to have warranted three exclamation points.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:14 AM
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Because 99% of the loonie letters claiming the moon landings were fake, or the face on mars is real, or Bush is an eight foot lizard, an institution like NASA receives are written in green ink?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:15 AM
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Nu, where else would you put ink?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:16 AM
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Incidently, people who underline words in library books, in ink? So annoying!


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:17 AM
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25: You could hang it on the wall.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:19 AM
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I wrote in the margins of a few books during my first two years of college. I had never done so before and have not since.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:22 AM
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16: nice. I went to one of his concerts a few years back. I was really impressed, although I don't listen to lieder enough to have much to compare to.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:22 AM
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25: Okay then, I will get over my difficulty in recognizing myself in that particular piece of ephemera.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:22 AM
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parsimon, cut your teenaged self a little slack.

Unrelatedly: circumcision leads to masturbation injuries, and should be banned.

OT: WTF?


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:22 AM
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You could hang it on the wall.

Ok, but noway does it sing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:23 AM
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32: Oh, she just put that part in to fuck up the punchline.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:24 AM
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At least he'll be able to spell circumcision.

It'll come in handy for the journal entries recounting the trauma of being repeatedly manhandled by strange doctors.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:30 AM
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circumcision leads to masturbation injuries

Maybe you're being a little rough on yourself.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:34 AM
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re: 16

Man, the comments on those Youtube vids of Bostridge singing lieder are harsh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:38 AM
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Apropros of nothing: a tattoo a friend of mine has is gorgeous. Objectively. As it happens, he's the friend who used to collect Yeats. It's all a little weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:45 AM
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Writing in the margins is useful for academic texts, although it slows me down. Lately I've been typing up notes as I read, which is dorky and unromantic.

There is someting romantic about marginalia though, retracing someone else's thoughts and reading patterns. Here, at this passage, they lingered. You stop too, and it is as if they are looking back at you from the page.

Of course, it depends on what they write in the margins. This can go terribly wrong, and the more timid do not write much. I might put a light pencil mark besides a particularly moving passage in a novel, but I can't remember the last time I wrote something because I was moved to comment or opine in some way. The last time I wrote in a work of fiction, it was probably The Aeneid in Latin, or Sir Gawain in Old English, for the purposes of translation.

In any case, the "idea" of margins is romantic. The edges of a page, sort of like the fourth wall The interstitial space. The place between writer and reader.

Anyway, look here, Ben.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:48 AM
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Man, the comments on those Youtube vids of Bostridge singing lieder are harsh.

And they're typical—almost every lied and opera clip I've seen is like that. I've been wondering why the human voice attracts classical music's most insufferable fans.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:55 AM
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I've never found writing in the margins to slow me down. For academic work it was a fundamental part of engagement with the work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:58 AM
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re: 39

It's not unique to classical music or the human voice, unfortunately.

Any clip of someone playing guitar on Youtube will normally have two kinds of comments, one group saying that they could play better and the guy's [and it is usually a guy] technique sucks.* The other group usually decrying technical playing in general and bemoaning the lack of 'feel'. There's usually a reference to some canonical 'feel' player [i.e. someone who plays slowly and with lots of vibrato]. You see this in all genres -- classical guitar, jazz, rock, etc.

* this is especially prominent on clips by players with preternaturally brilliant technique and where the odds of the commentators actually being even remotely within a million miles of it are vanishingly small.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:13 AM
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I really enjoy The Razor's Edge. See? I can admit it. More than Of Human Bondage.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:53 AM
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I need to hire an editor. w-lfs-n, please correct my posts. Thank you in advance.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:53 AM
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I will never have offspring, for fear that they may read my marginalia.

Like this


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:56 AM
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some of the words underlined to be defined are kind of endearing (eg Maxwell'schen Dämon; I can't actually read the definition given for this)

Der Maxwell'sche Dämon.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:21 AM
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great post!
and spirits


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:25 AM
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And they're typical--almost every lied and opera clip I've seen is like that. I've been wondering why the human voice attracts classical music's most insufferable fans.

They're elsewhere too. Youtube violin clips have their own simultaneously sappy and mean-spirited troll (or had for a while, I haven't looked lately) who shows up in every comment thread and says something like "Technically proficient. Now if only you'd learn to play from your soul."

The first time I saw it, in comments on a clip of an excruciatingly brilliant teenager giving the kind of performance that makes the adult student despair, I thought it was envy. After seeing him a few more times, I realized it was a crazy person.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:42 AM
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41: I see it's not just the violin that brings out the mean.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:46 AM
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Found a hilarious piece of marginalia in an old Geology book I own. Evolution of the Falls of the Niagara by Winthrop (J.W.) Spencer. The book is inscribed:
B.F. Taylor,
in admiration of his good work cited here with the regards of the author. Jan 15, 1908.

Not surprisingly, Taylor made many notes in the margin. As the book begins to touch upon the work of Taylor, the notes become more pointed: "wrong", "not clear", "pshaw!". It culminates in a magnificent drawing labeled "Shame!" showing a stick figure being pushed into a gorge (the Niagara, one presumes.) I had previously scanned it into Imageshack here, but the site dows not seem to be reachable this AM (noticing that a lot from them recently, are they in trouble?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:00 AM
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49: That's great--the giant hand of B.F. Taylor's anger!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:03 AM
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I have to confess having been once charmed by my own marginalia. Last winter I picked up Jean Valentine's The Cradle of the Real Life (fantastic poetry, by the way). I found it rather marked up, with several poems having stressed and unstressed syllables marked all the way through, and kind of incomprehensible half-sentences of my impressions of them. IThis was from my second year of college, I think.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:10 AM
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I read library books with a black Sharpie in hand so I can strike passages I disapprove of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:24 AM
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re: 48

Nope. It seems to be any instrument which admits of a fair degree of virtuosity. There'll be about half the critics who deny that the genuinely virtuosic is any such thing, and the other half who'll pooh-pooh virtuosity in general.* Piano seems less prone to this, though.

Guitar, on the other hand, is super-prone to it.

* irrespective of the musical merits of the piece being played.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:32 AM
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I particularly treasure the YouTube commenter who opined that John McLaughlin's playing was "technically proficient, but no faster than a reasonably competent mandolin player".

The ukelele clips on YouTube are actually quite pleasant to one another - presumably because one would have to be some sort of idiot to pretend that it was possible to play the ukelele with "soul" and "feeling". I also approve of the online ukelele community because one of the leading ukelele blogs is called "Uke Hunt" and I can't believe it wasn't intentional.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:43 AM
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I particularly treasure the YouTube commenter who opined that John McLaughlin's playing was "technically proficient, but no faster than a reasonably competent mandolin player".

Hah. On one of the guitar-geek forums they took a whole bunch of 'fast' guitar players and slowed their stuff down. A lot of them are pretty ragged when you hear it slowed down, but McLaughlin's was perfect swung-8ths, it sounded like someone playing a slow swing tune [when in fact it was some mental flurry of notes from one of his shreddier tracks].

"Uke Hunt" is great.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:48 AM
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Ben: Your mom is welcome to send my any extra books she has lying around. I'll pay for shipping.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:57 AM
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Fast playing: Les Paul was a self-taught engineer. He didn't actually invent the Les Paul guitar, but he was one of the first to do multi-track recording and overdubbing. One trick he learned and beat into the ground was dubbing a double-speed track over a normal speed track. The doubled track will be an octave higher and amazingly fast.

The effect is horrible, in the Alvin and the Chipmunks area, but Les Paul loved it -- the Greatest Hits album I have has 5 or 10 of them.

He was a pioneering engineer and a pretty good guitar player, but musically Les Paul was cheesy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:07 AM
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I read library books with a black Sharpie in hand

You were a pre-med?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:08 AM
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re: 57

There's a really good vid of him playing with Mary Ford on their TV show where he's playing with all kinds of tricks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63Df09Sodpk
[she's no slouch either]

He was a cheesy showman. He was bloody quick without the studio trickery, too, though. There's a couple of tracks by him on an anthology I have -- stuff from the 40s when he was still a sideman for other people -- where he's pretty rockin' even then.

The real forgotten figure of that period is Johnny Smith, I think. Perhaps because his music doesn't swing as hard or sound as raw as the other players from that era. For pure technical ability, though, he was pretty amazing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:25 AM
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Although I have a couple of my father's teaching copies (Moby Dick and Bleak House, mostly notes on theme in a very New Crit vein. My father has very classy handwriting. ), the habit of writing stuff in the margins has not been passed along to me. I just can't. It distracts me from reading. When I'm reading something difficult, I need either to email one of my pitiable friends a long, dull disquisition on it or else (and this is my favorite method) make sure that I am alone in the apartment, pace around, and talk to myself about the book.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:30 AM
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I never write in the margins either. I make notes as I go along, but not in the book itself.

I can't bring myself to write in a book [silly when they are books I own, I suppose]. The only time I've written is translations, where I've made the odd note above the line.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:33 AM
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I can't bring myself to write in a book either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:39 AM
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The kinds of notes I tend to make in the margins are pretty dumb....I have rambling, totally inaccurate notes on Postmodernism, the cultural logic of late capitalism from about 1997, for example. Writing something out properly helps me to make better sense of it. Or better yet, explaining it to someone--I remember distinctly waking up my then-boyfriend to explain what Jameson had to say about Van Gogh and shoes. "Why are you telling me this?" he said, as I recall.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:43 AM
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Sure, I find writing stuff out really helps me think, too [or, for that matter, being forced to explain it to other people]. I just don't do the writing IN the book.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:46 AM
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64: Exactly, yes. When I write in a book, I write stupid things because I am trying to perform "proper students make notes in the margins" and because it makes me lose my train of thought (never too firmly on the rails with a difficult book anyway). Hence the boring-friends-and-family-with-five-hundred-words-on-Book-of-the-Week.

It's not, however, because I am moved by concern for the book. To my lasting shame, I'm pretty careless with books, and usually get a reading copy of anything I really like just so that I have one to destroy. I tend to read myself to sleep and drop the book behind the bed, read on the bus and shove the book roughly back into my bag at my stop, carry books and pens and shoes and junk all in the same bag..although I've pretty much gotten into the habit of only reading my more mass-market paperbacks while eating.

And then there was the Donald Barthelme that was eaten by the squirrel, and the Zizek that I got so frustrated with that I started to use it to prop open my window and it got rained on, and the M John Harrison that the mice got at (I've still got that one; the radiator leaked onto it as well but I really like the cover, swollen and distorted as it's now become.)



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:05 AM
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John McLaughlin

such a great player.

I have a great cd of him with de Lucía and Di Meola.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:08 AM
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45: I know what Maxwell's Demon is; I just think it's an odd choice to define in a margin. Like if I defined "Maxwell" in the margin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:15 AM
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I have some used Greek Oxford Classical Texts with other peoples' notes and glosses in them, and they are often, as Ben describes, lovely windows to the past. One is a "prize copy" stamped with the seal of a posh school awarded to a fellow who has since gone on to edit a very well-regarded text of one of the tragedies in the volume (the Pearson Sophocles, so much better than the new one).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:21 AM
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I have a copy of a philosophy book with a dedication inside to one of the people written about inside. I presume it was given to philosopher X by the author and X immediately donated it to Oxfam. Unfortunately, I found no marginalia decrying the author.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:43 AM
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I have a copy of a book about a Quaker hostel which took in many German Jewish refugees right before WWII...and it's a presentation copy from the author to some Quaker friends who helped with the book. But it's a small-press "this is my religious studies dissertation" book, so no one involved is famous. Still pretty neat.

Also (and here is another tedious story about reading Franco Moretti) I bought Signs Taken for Wonders because--while leafing through it at the used bookstore--I noticed that a then-estranged friend of mine had owned it and had written his name on the inside cover.

I also found a wedding invitation from 1982 tucked inside a copy of my favorite murder mystery, The Fashion in Shrouds.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:49 AM
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I note that my grammar is even worse than usual today. Thank you, w-lfs-n, for your charitable understanding that I am too inept for either help or mockery to do any good.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:50 AM
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I've been writing marginalia in my copy of the bible since I was eight years old. Some of the earlier notes crack me up. Things like "Why did God do that? That's really mean!" My twelve-year-old self seems to have been very shocked by the misogyny everywhere, and grew increasingly impatient with it: towards the letters of Paul, you start to see notes like "Women should submit? NO."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:51 AM
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The Fashion in Shrouds

Is that the Margery Allingham about Campion's sister the designer? Or am I mixing it up with something else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:53 AM
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On googling, it is. While I liked it, it has the most astonshing offhand comment on the virtues of getting raped for improving one's psychological equilibrium -- I can read past a lot of offensive stuff without noticing it if I'm engaged in the mindset of the author, but that one had me boggling for quite a bit. Freud, and his interpreters, have a lot to answer for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:57 AM
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I too join the "feeling guilty for not having anything interesting to write in books" club. My comments in class notes are typically just snark, or long asides on ways to possibly extend a particular result.

And agreed that YouTube comments on anything music-related (or really anything, in general) are depressing/hilarious. I loved the constant comments when Battles first started to get known and people were slagging the drummer for just doing a simple 4/4 shuffle beat on a small set, because he could never be as good of a drummer as their chosen metal/prog rock drummer who had 40 toms, 5 cymbals, 2 kickdrums and a gong arrayed in a semi-circle.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:58 AM
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73: That would be the one. I like it because...it's about fashion! Also because that woman the actress is so monstrous. Her villainy astounded me the first time I read the novel. It was a powerful effect given the mystery novel-ness.

For many years I couldn't find a copy of it, weirdly. (There seems to be some kind of copyright hang-up, since it's not in print, or at least it wasn't recently.) Until I found a special "send it to a soldier" pocket-sized copy from WWII at our local giant SF-and-mystery-barn. (Which is run as you might imagine by two obsessive fanboys. It's pretty awesome, although they tend not to stock feminist SF.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:02 AM
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75: But Campion says that and his sister is all "oh, your generation has such stupid ideas"--I think Allingham intends that as a critique of the idea. Which makes it all the more bizarre.

Also, my WWII edition has some of the more egregious racism purged from it--I forget exactly, but when they're talking about flying the plane to Africa the horrendous contempt is toned down and n----- is replaced with some other marginally less horrible phrase.

It's a real snapshot of an era, that book. Nothing brings home colonialism so powerfully, to me, as that casual discussion.

I also like the Blitz ones--they get a bit more serious and have some reportage-type stuff.

And then there's the post-war ones where it's all "ooooh, teh labour is taking away our ancestral wealth and now we are teh poor, ZOMG!" which is very annoying. At one point she alleges that due to government measures there is only one millionaire remaining in all the UK--this in 1952!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:06 AM
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re: 75

Yes, but gongs are objectively awesome.

re: 74

Kyril Bonfiglioli briefly came back in vogue in the UK a year or two back [or at least a well-reviewed re-edition came out].

They are quite brilliantly funny, very dark, very camp. But the third book (Something Nasty in the Woodshed) has a rape-related plot that I found really bothered me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:07 AM
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That's the first novel I ever read in German. I kept going back and reading passages again, thinking I must not have understood them. I remember very clearly learning the new vocab word Abtreibung.

I read it again years later for my general exams, and was amazed at how unsubtle its themes are. Wow, totally missed that on the first go-round.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:11 AM
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I remember very clearly learning the new vocab word Abtreibung.

You mean like this?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:17 AM
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77: Yeah, the reaction was "Oh, how hopelessly outdated of you," rather than "What's wrong with you? You just told your sister she needed a good rape?" Which threw me.

"ooooh, teh labour is taking away our ancestral wealth and now we are teh poor, ZOMG!"

Angela Thirkell is distasteful along the same lines. The unpleasantness of the non-working moneyed classes really shows up in contexts where they're losing their position and struggling to retain it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:18 AM
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Also (and here is another tedious story about reading Franco Moretti) I bought Signs Taken for Wonders because--while leafing through it at the used bookstore--I noticed that a then-estranged friend of mine had owned it and had written his name on the inside cover.

Is this a story about reading Franco Moretti, Frowner, or is it rather a story about … the soul of Frowner?

Also, PMP, when Battles first started getting known, eg on B EP, they were considerably mathier than they've become. /indier-than-thou


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:57 AM
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82: Oh w-lfs-n, you know I have no soul. And you may recall that my heart is hidden inside a casket inside a duck, etc, etc.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:31 AM
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83: Mmmmmm, caduckheart.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:34 AM
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Ducaskeart, actually.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:36 AM
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Kyril Bonfiglioli briefly came back in vogue in the UK a year or two back [or at least a well-reviewed re-edition came out].

Hm, sounds interesting.

But the third book (Something Nasty in the Woodshed) has a rape-related plot that I found really bothered me.

Odd coincidence, I just watched the 1995 film of Cold Comfort Farm this week. Do the cognoscenti see this as a bastardization? I thought it was quite diverting, but the end was very abrupt and didn't seem right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:39 AM
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63: I bought the big silver Jameson book as a present to myself when all the cool kids were reading it in college. The marginalia is exactly what it's supposed to be, but the dedication I wrote to myself is truly embarrassing: "For [Wrongshore]--towards an architechture of the present." Sic.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:41 AM
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87: Oh, my.

So are you any closer to an architecture of the present?

Which is the big silver one? I always think of Postmodernism as the Big Blue Book because mine is blue, but I understand that it's been printed in other colors. You don't mean one of those Verso silvery editions, do you? Those are a better idea in theory (boy, I crack myself up) than in practice; seriously, I could sit down with InDesign and make a better cover.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:45 AM
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88: Mine is silver. And no, I got as close as I was gonna get in the last inflamed days of college theory-reading. Now I'm a hopelessly bourgie New Yorker apologist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:48 AM
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87: Wrongshore, that is utterly fucking charming.

I made a college friend of mine inscribe my ginormous Liddell, Scott, Jones Greek Lexicon, and he's a rockstar now!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:57 AM
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Let's all guess. Bon Jovi? Tommy Lee? Axl Rose?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:02 PM
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90: Oh, he's not that kind of rockstar . . . Bon Jovi is rather older than I am, but he did grow up only about half an hour north of me. His little brother used to proto-fag-bash someone who would later become my friend. Sayreville: Home of the Scary Tough White Kids.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:15 PM
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OK, you meant "rock star" in the sense of "not a rock star", and by "Sayreville" you meant "Sayre/ville", right? I just need to be clear about this before I report the information the the chief detective.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:19 PM
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93: Oh, Christ. I certainly do not care about Google proofing poor fucking Sayreville. Everyone in NJ knows it as the town with the giant water tower next to the parkway toll booth.

And "rock star" really is a joke. He's the guitarist in a band known to music nerds. Here he is working on some noise collaboration with someone else. My friend is on the left.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:27 PM
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Hey, I know that band!

IIRC, they aren't very good, despite the name. But I might be thinking of a different but similar band.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:29 PM
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But the third book (Something Nasty in the Woodshed) has a rape-related plot that I found really bothered me.

Me too. It spoiled the others for me as well.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:33 PM
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95: Albini says he's his favorite current guitarist! I've seen his band live once, I think. If memory serves, helpy-chalk was with me. It was in a bowling alley that hosted punk shows. They made big fucked-up noise and I am generally a fan of big fucked-up noise.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:35 PM
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. . . make sure that I am alone in the apartment, pace around, and talk to myself about the book.

Oh my, this is me.

I never mastered the art of taking notes, but if I can talk though something I can usually remember it without notes.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:46 PM
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98: I sometimes suspect that I just like talking to myself. I get all my own jokes, for example, and I know all my own references.

They tried to put me on speech team in high school, but apparently I don't appeal to a broader audience.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:50 PM
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They tried to put me on speech team in high school, but apparently I don't appeal to a broader audience.

That sounds like my debate experience.

My debate partners liked debating with me, but we never won, because I have a hard time making a simple sequential argument, too often I'm trying to make two or three simultaneous arguments and anyone that doesn't know me gets lost.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:52 PM
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Also, PMP, when Battles first started getting known, eg on B EP, they were considerably mathier than they've become. /indier-than-thou

Dude, I've got B EP/EP C sitting around on my shelves. The main reason I was even that slow on Battles is because I didn't care too much for Don Cab.

But that's why it's so funny when people claim John Stanier is an unimpressive drummer, especially considering some of his work with Helmet.

Plus, the monster-high cymbal is hilarious/awesome.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 12:56 PM
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the monster-high cymbal is hilarious/awesome.

Agreed.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:05 PM
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The Fashion in Shrouds

The other freaky thing was the apparent approval of the hero's demand that the fashion designer give up her career to be a totally devoted little wifey 100% of the time, and in return he would support her financially and give her 50% of his life. This was presented as true fulfilment for the wimminz. However in one of the later books Albert decides not to insist on something which would kill off his wife's career designing aeroplanes.

More weirdness in The Beckoning Lady about wife-beating.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:28 PM
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I actually find that sort of thing almost appealing in Allingham. While they're superficially light, silly little mysteries, they have this sense of being a thin shell over a roiling mass of bad craziness. Not necessarily in an artful or intentional way, but the craziness keeps one interested.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:37 PM
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103: Yeah, it's nuts where everyone is just "Oh, yes, Minnie and Tonker had a fight and she had a black eye and was all embarassed, poor thing".

They're weird books. There's this very strong aspirational current--all these rich people who've made their own money as creatives and who pal around with minor aristocracy. That's what's unusual about them--when she writes about artists, writers, ad men and so on you get the feeling that she really knows what she's talking about. It's not just that she tells you that her character is a brilliant marketing guy; she writes him being one. Unusual to see so much talent of this particular type used in mystery writing.

104: There's a lot that's really creepy in her stories, isn't there? The actress in Fashion in Shrouds; the part where the senior designer lady says to Val, "There's a great deal to be said for feeling anything at all; I don't". The part with Moulin Mou in Flowers for the Judge...man, that's a disturbing story. One of the few where you feel that there's some moral complexity behind the "side with the murderer because the murderee deserves it" convention.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:51 PM
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Update: went over to local bookstore and bought "Don't Point That Thing At Me". First known instance of actual purchase of novel by me due to internet recommendation. However, would have got somethinb by Daniil Kharms instead, if they had any.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:12 PM
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