Oh ring, ring the yule log
And sound the holly wreath!
Open up the missile, too,
And trim your crispness treeth.
— Walt Kelly, The Stepmother Goose (1954)
Whether you’re itching from tinsel or scouring tree sap from your coat and gloves, here’s a set of glittering links to ornament the Douglas fir in the Rockefeller Center of your mind.
“Do ye nae see that great writing–prose or poetry–is not the shriek, but the shriek mediated by consciousness?” University Diaries shows why writing is a cool medium.
“But what struck me most on the personal tour is how William Nicholson’s play and subsequent film misrepresented a life that was not a passionless, solitary bachelorhood, but crowded with people and noise and human obligations.” Cynthia Haven visits the home of C.S. Lewis in Oxford.
“Amazing, isn’t it, the things you notice when you hold a map up to the light!” Jason at Lingwë teases Old Norse out of a Tolkien manuscript.
“I guess no translation will ever satisfy every reader; that’s why we should all translate the Edda for ourselves!” Old Norse News looks at two new published translations.
“Hodel’s last comment might be the finest expression of a grown child’s need to lead an independent life, and a parent’s need to let the child go, that I’ve ever seen.” Pete finds a nice passage in Sholom Aleichem.
“For the most part, it seemed, the faculty studying higher education were proceeding with their fairly narrow-gauged research as if Rome were not burning.” The enigmatic Fenster Moop attends a scholarly conference.
“Copper had its place in classical civilization, alloyed to make bronze, and as currency, but evidently one didn’t make pipes of it.” George plumbs the etymology of “plumber.”
“Despite her utter failure as an author, screenwriter, and publisher, she has the chutzpah to peddle a book that she’s written.” Lee Goldberg notes an inept scam publisher rising from the dead.
“The question Conrad asks and never answers is, can one person love both composers?” Tom Glenn reviews Verdi and/or Wagner.
“[P]art of the problem is that ‘plagiarist,’ like ‘racist,’ is a term that doesn’t allow for gradation or nuance, and no one believes he can be that thing.” Flavia reminds herself that plagiarists are people too.
“Sassoon speculates often on what death is like, and though he has several reuseable phrases at hand to euphemise it—’gone out patrolling in the dark’, ‘beyond the wire’, ‘gone West’—even these are poignant and not (yet?) cliché.” Bibliographing is reading the literature of World War I.
“Is this just luck or is the stuff disappearing invisibly, draining away somehow, like sand?” ZMCK wonders what becomes of the chunks of debris that fall off Eastern European buildings.
“Parents in my neighborhood banned their kids from playing at my house because they always came home with their pockets full of dirt.” James Gurney unearths the roots of Dinotopia.
“[A]s a lover of the idea of shaking hands with the past, I could think of no better way of doing so than by drinking a drink cherished by my predecessors.” Hats & Rabbits thirsts for the lost pages of an 18th-century magazine.
“Nkoloso was, in short, one of those wonderful eccentrics who usually only appear after three or four generations of middle class parliamentary democracy.” Dr. Beachcombing rediscovers the Zambian space program.