marnanightingale: (canadian)
[livejournal.com profile] iclysdale is home. He's asleep. I'm about to be.

Therefore, more Robertson Davies quotes:

Why are so many people ashamed of having intelligence and using it? There is nothing democratic about such an attitude. To pretend to be less intelligent that one is deceives nobody and begets dislike, for intelligence cannot be hidden; like a cough, it will out, stifle it how you may. No man has ever won commendation for standing at less than his full height, either physically, morally, or intellectually.
...
If you are an intellectual, your best course is to relax and enjoy it.


A Voice from the Attic

There must be times, in the world of business, when two Peale-powered personalities find themselves in opposition. Number One is determined to achieve success by selling Number Two a great gross of non-molting dust mops; Number Two is equally determined not to have the mops. Both have affirmed an equal number of times that he can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth him. What happens? Theologians will scratch their heads over this, and Immensity itself may feel a tremor.

A Voice from the Attic

If people need a book to tell them that in marriage kindness and forbearance are necessary, and that the sexual act is happier when it is undertaken to give pleasure as well as to receive it, these books are what they want. Possibly people so lacking in understanding of themselves and others do not mind being addressed in the coarse, grainy prose of the marriage counselor.

A Voice from the Attic

And, because I was rereading [livejournal.com profile] benet's old posts and found it again, an essay on The State Of The Neo-Con Male that is a slapdown of truly surgical precision:

But du Toit’s essay is brilliant in a way he probably never intended—it’s a masterpiece of self-confirmation. His main thesis is that Western males are becoming wimps, and his essay itself proves that there is at least some truth in the thesis; never before in human history has there been so much puling and whining about such inconsequential irritations. Du Toit’s groundless blubbering is, in the end, itself a partial confirmation of his point. In fact, du Toit’s essay probably deserves to spawn a neologism: duToitification and its cognates. You become duToitified when you’ve got it so good that you lose all perspective on the world and as a result exaggerate minor unpleasantries into vexations of Biblican proportions. That is, you become an insufferable weenie.

And some poor orphaned little Yousendit links that have served their original purpose and yet have perfectly good downloads remaining.

Oysterband: Dancing as Fast as I can.
I love this song. I've had it on loop for days. It gives me hope and sadness, both.

John Barrowman: Anything Goes.
Dare you not to smile and sing along. Dare you.
marnanightingale: (and filthily written)
A letter from Robertson Davies the fine old firm of Bacon and Bungay, Necromantic Suppliers and Supernatural Warehousemen (Founded 1594), to Miss Tanya Moiseiwitsch, Theatrical Designer, Stratford Festival Theatre, 1962.

(cut because scanned rather than transcribed)

Dear Miss Moiseiwitsch: It has been brought to our attention that in the current production of Macbeth at Stratford, the first sixty-eight lines of Act Four, Scene One have been cut, doubtless because of the difficulty of securing the properties necessary to its apt performance. As a very old-established firm... )

I have...

Dec. 17th, 2007 01:09 am
marnanightingale: (christmas)
No writing deadlines to speak of, a shiny new Christmas icon and a glass of very good old sherry.

It must be time for some Robertson Davies Quotes:

... is this not the true end of scholarship? It is to make us wise, of course, but what is the use of being wise if we are not sometimes merry? The merriment of wise men is not the uninformed, gross fun of ignorant men, but it has more kinship with that than the pinched, frightened fun of those who are neither learned nor ignorant, gentle nor simple, bound nor free. The idea that a wise man must be solemn is bred and preserved among people who have no idea what wisdom is, and can only respect whatever makes them feel inferior.

A Voice From the Attic

"Fool!" said the Professor, who had been growing very hot, and was now at the boil. "Do you imply that the sins of the mind are trivial and the sins of the flesh important? What kind of an idiot are you?"

Leaven of Malice

The most dismaying call of this kind came one night at nine o'clock from a youth of sixteen who said: "I've got to have this essay ready to hand in tomorrow morning, and I'm stuck. Can you give me some help with these-here Jungian archeotypes?" It was impossible to explain to him that no telephone conversation could help him; indeed, in his agony, I do not know what would have helped him except sudden and merciful death.

"Jung and the Writer"

When John Ryder, for instance, writes "I utter valediction to the author of my being", he means simply that he said goodbye to his mother.

"How to Be a Collector"

I do not trust any advice which is given in bad prose.

A Voice From the Attic

The pleasures of love are for those who are hopelessly addicted to another living creature. The reasons for such addiction are so many that I suspect they are never the same in any two cases.

It includes passion but does not survive by passion; it has its whiffs of the agreeable vertigo of young love, but it is stable more often than dizzy; it is a growing, changing thing, and it is tactful enough to give the addicted parties occasional rests from strong and exhausting feeling of any kind.
...
I am constantly astonished by the people, otherwise intelligent, who think that anything so complex and delicate as a marriage can be left to take care of itself. One sees them fussing about all sorts of lesser concerns, apparently unaware that side by side with them -- often in the same bed -- a human creature is perishing from lack of affection, of emotional malnutrition.
...the reclusive man who marries the gregarious woman, the timid woman who marries the courageous man, the idealist who marries the realist -- we can all see these unions: the marriages in which tenderness meets loyalty, where generosity sweetens moroseness, where a sense of beauty eases some aridity of the spirit, are not so easy for outsiders to recognize; the parties themselves may not be fully aware of such elements in a good match.


"The Pleasures of Love"
marnanightingale: (colonial iceship)
Or, I have a headcold and a lot of Robertson Davies quotes, all of which I like, and some of which strike me as eminently discussible.

"Oho, now I know what you are. You are an advocate of Useful Knowledge."

"Certainly."

"You say that a man's first job is to earn a living, and that the first task of education is to equip him for that job."

"Of course."

"Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with no extra bits or useless parts. I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position."


Tempest-Tost

She herself was a victim of that lust for books which rages in the breast like a demon, and which cannot be stilled save by the frequent and plentiful acquisition of books. This passion is more common, and more powerful, than most people suppose. Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command. They want books as a Turk is thought to want concubines -- not to be hastily deflowered, but to be kept at their master's call, and enjoyed more often in thought than in reality.

Tempest-Tost

...never go to law for simple vengeance; that's not what law is for. Redress, yes; vengeance, no.

Leaven of Malice

ETA: Ian is reading me the for-years-unsorted bookshelf in my office.

"The Night Before Christmas, Reformers, Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement from 1889-1919, Hegel: The Essential Writings[1], Discrete and Combinatorial Mathematics, Linear Algebra, Discipline and Punish, The Vampire Book: an Encyclopedia of the Undead, The Enlightenment, From Gaia to Selfish Genes, Who Wrote The New Testament, Statistical Language Learning, and The Jesuits."

[1] NOT as slim a volume as it would be were I the editor. "If this is what comes of reading Hegel..."

ETA2: Ian says we should offer a small prize to the first person to correctly identify which of these books belongs to was bought by each of us ...

Bonus Shelf: "The Development of Children, Biological Psychology, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Arms of Krupp, The Fourth Dimension, Mensa Compendium of Conundrums, The Dispossessed, Public Life in Renaissance Florence, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, What Black People Should Do Now, The Holographic Universe, Rosslyn: Guardians of the Holy Grail, Believing Women In Islam, Unravelling Piltdown, Laura Ashley Style".
marnanightingale: (colonial iceship)
Everybody says Canada is a hard country to govern, but nobody mentions that for some people it is also a hard country to live in. Still, if we all run away it will never be any better. So let the geniuses of easy virtue go southward; I know what they feel too well to blame them. But for some of us there is no choice; let Canada do what she will with us, we must stay.

Robertson Davies
Fortune my Foe

ETA one two more:

We are an ironic people; irony and some sourness is mixed in our nature. It is a matter of climate. We are a northern people.

On Canadians, in "Conversations".

"Can you tell me the time of the last complete show?"

"You have the wrong number."

"Eh? Isn't this the Odeon?"

I decide to give a Burtonian answer.

"No, this is the Great Theatre of Life. Admission is free but the taxation is mortal. You come when you can, and leave when you must. The show is continuous. Good-night."


The Cunning Man
marnanightingale: (bad pants)
Robert Herrick, 17th C pioneer of tentacle porn.

THE VINE.
by Robert Herrick

I DREAM'D this mortal part of mine
Was Metamorphoz'd to a Vine;
Which crawling one and every way,
Enthrall'd my dainty Lucia.
Me thought, her long small legs & thighs
I with my Tendrils did surprize;
Her Belly, Buttocks, and her Waste
By my soft Nerv'lits were embrac'd:
About her head I writhing hung,
And with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves) her temples I behung:
So that my Lucia seem'd to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curles about her neck did craule,
And armes and hands they did enthrall:
So that she could not freely stir,
(All parts there made one prisoner.)
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts, which maids keep unespy'd,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took,
That with the fancie I awook;
And found (Ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a Stock then like a Vine.
marnanightingale: (18th century GUH)
There's a new Jack Absolute book out. (The second one, The Blooding Of Jack Absolute, was a good enough read, but it lacked that ineffable... something ... that would have made it a candidate for review here. I think it might have been a tad overedited by someone determined to excise all traces of Mr Humphrey's rather wayward -- but audacious -- id from the final product. It's not very often I call for LESS editing in a novel, but there are always exceptions...)



Our Hero Has Acquired A Horse. Go Jack!

Sadly, the dirty-minded type designer of the first book:



seems to have moved on to other projects. We will miss his or her suggestive way with a trailing "A".

Jack, however, remains his own bad self. I'm on page 8, and so far he's been shagging a Quaker Widow in Newport all winter and is off back to Blighty, leaving her, I'd say, reasonably consolate. (He doesn't think so, but he wouldn't.)

"Lieutenant Absolute!" The call followed the bang of wood on wood as the boat reached the jetty. A rope landed near Jack, followed by a sailor. "If you please, sir," the seaman said, "the Captain says bugger the Irishman ..."

(Page 10. The Irishman has shown up. Naked.

Jack could see now that the man was tall, his naked physique strong, and that he had bright red hair trailing out behind him like a flame...

Ah, yes? Right then.)

Sadly, it is FAR too warm in the office to read, post, IM, or indeed THINK. I am taking Jack off to bed with me, with a device for taking notes on, and will report back later. Meanwhile, those who missed the first round of this are invited to go here for the Jack Absolute review post.

ETA 1:

The Sexy Quaker Widow gave him a farewell letter, but he lost it in the ocean while pulling out the naked Irishman. He is unperturbed by this, despite the extremely high probability that the contents of said letter are going to turn out to be important to the plot.

Page 19: Oh goody, he and the Irishman are bonding on a slave ship. They seem to be the only two aboard who disapprove. Jack just tried to pick a fight with the Captain and his new, um, friend has come to his defense and beat up the Captain for him.

So now they're wrestling. Drunkenly. This all seems hauntingly familiar; I think "Cornish Wrestling" is a euphemism for foreplay in Jack's world. Oh, and they're telling dirty stories about women in a Very Manly Way. And Jack's been admiring The Irishman's (his name is Hugh) physique. A lot.

Somewhere in The Blooding of Jack Absolute - I think it's while he's leading some guy on prepatory to robbing him - it says that Jack gave up boys when he left school and discovered women. I grow less and less persuaded of the reliability of Ol' Inexhaustible's narration ...

Page 26: So they got drunker and bonded over Bonnie Prince Charlie. Hugh's calling him "dear joy" now … and there may be pirates.

Page 40: Hugh just grabbed the back of his head and kissed him. In a very manly-yet-emotional way, of course. On account of him being all gallant and putting on his regimentals. That's one kinky damn Irishman; Sgt. Harper would be APPALLED.

Page 89: (PS: they won the battle. Now we are in Bath.)

This promising romance has been temporarily disrupted by Jack contemplating his honour, and also by the appearance of Hugh's cousin Letitia, aged 17. Jack is smit. (Jack is, by the way, 18. The dear boy. The narrative keeps announcing rather portentiously that he is A Man, but it lies. Puppy.)

Page 96: still smit. Our hero thinks of marriage. He may or may not also think of threesomes. Your faithful correspondent certainly does.

(Plot. Plot. Plotcakes. Hugh has taken to calling him "sweet honey", and he has been hit on by a Macaroni in the Assembly Rooms. Sadly, he was in too much of a hurry to do anything about it.)

167: Hugh and Letitia were Not As They Seemed. (We knew this, of course; it says so on the back of the book.) He is Betrayed. (Though he did manage some sex first. No, with Letitia. The sex scenes have improved since Book One, but Our Boy still has no foreplay. Good thing she wasn't REALLY a gently reared sweet little virgin...) He has Lost His Honour. He will Pursue Them Both and Avenge Himself. (Possibly via threesomes.)

So I think we may conclude that the Humphries id is back and in fine trim, as is the historical cracktastickness. Yes! *punches the air and goes back to read some more*
marnanightingale: (epicstolary)

Some people I know were telling me of a curious experience which they had recently; they put a collection of old and rejected household articles in their car and drove to a dump to dispose of them. While busy at the dump, they were accosted by a strange figure, a woman of tall and stately presence, wearing a paper crown and carrying a staff in her hand, who strode majestically through the avenues of ashes, tin cans, dishonoured wash-boilers and superannuated bathtubs, attended by a rabble of admiring children. This apparition hailed my friends in a strange, incoherent, but musical language, and her breath was richly perfumed with bay-rum, or it may have been lilac lotion; she was in fact as high as a kite and as mimsy as a borogrove. Having said her say, she strode off in queenly style, and she and her raffish crew were soon lost in the mazes of the dump... My theory is that this was Titania, the fairy queen, fallen upon evil days, but magnificent in ruin; or it may simply have been some rumdumb old bag with a sense of humour. In either case the matter is worth investigating.


Robertson Davies
The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks
marnanightingale: (cooking)


Anyone feel a need to ask why I bought this book? No? Right then, on with The Review Of The First 37 Pages:

Let's see. So far we have:

Tattoos, Sheridan, a performance of The Rivals, TWO women, one an actress, Freemasons, the Illuminati, threats of financial ruin, the East Indian company, a Mohawk, a sex scene in a dressing room, a duel, someone cheating shamefully in said duel, an respected old friend and mentor and former commander, the 16th Light Dragoons and he and Sheridan are so doing it.

IOW, NC-17 Sheridan Fanfic. Rawrrrrr.

Pellew will undoubtedly be along, as I suspect we're headed for Saratoga. *squees*

The sex scene, sadly, includes almost all known Fanfic Sex Scene Sins.

Somebody ought to talk to him about proper illicit dressing room shagging *checks credentials*.

Shall report back later. Tally-ho!

ETA: Page 39. His Mohawk name means "Inexhaustible". Of course it does. Silly me.

I should at least finish the book before I start slashing him with people, right? Right?

ETA2: Cover photography by *stalls out* PHOTOGRAPHY?
*ponders means of locating and stalking model*

ETA3: "As you know, Dear Reader, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham..." (Historical Exposition interspersed with ManPain, 3 pages)

And: His Mission? Page 41: ROUSE THE IROQUOIS. *gets an early start on that being roused bit* and GAIN A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENEMY.

ETA4: PAGE 48 AND WE HAVE MIDSHIPMAN PELLEW! AND HE STOOD ON HIS HEAD!

"Jack smiled. He liked Pellew, BEYOND A COUNTRYMAN'S AFFINITY ... Midshipman Pellew was standing gloriously alone, on the highest yardarm. On his head."

They are toasting each other in Cornish.

And they've been practicing... Cornish Wrestling together. On the deck.

*dives back into book*

(later) *sigh*

I have to stop posting and read faster. Also, enter Alexander Lindsay, Earl of Balcarras, who is "tall, so pale his skin appeared untroubled by his prodigious consumption, seemingly effete, with an accent bred at Harrow and Oxford, Jack had discovered that [he] had a core of metal. Sandy was also a prodigious fast bowler, and had TAKEN JACK'S WICKET in the annual Westminster versus Harrow Old Boy's match seven years before. Despite that, Jack liked him."

... He wants to know about the wrestling. Also, Simon Fraser just showed up. With a wee question.

GAH with the ETAs:

(Much later: Jack [has been] awake since an hour before dawn despite the distracting comfort of Pellew's pillow.

... Goodness.)

Final ETA:

OK, done. Still a-squee. And giggling, and just sort of generally --

This book is RevWar crackfic. And I love it. Highly recommended.

Even though I think I have just figured out what it is about sex scenes in much literature of this genre:

Foreplay lasts until the writer gets embarassed. Then, the characters have to fuck so the writer can stop writing the scene. Mr Humphreys is... not so easily embarassed as Mr Cornwell, it seems. Still. One could wish he'd pressed a cool towel to his forehead long enough to let Our Boy actually make a decent job of the ladies in question before resorting to 'they were joined'.

Also, maybe it's me, but that particular euphemism make me want to know by whom they were joined. (I'm voting for Balcarras, myself...)
marnanightingale: (historical fangirl)


Anyone feel a need to ask why I bought this book? No? Right then, on with The Review Of The First 37 Pages:

Let's see. So far we have:

Tattoos, Sheridan, a performance of The Rivals, TWO women, one an actress, Freemasons, the Illuminati, threats of financial ruin, the East Indian company, a Mohawk, a sex scene in a dressing room, a duel, someone cheating shamefully in said duel, an respected old friend and mentor and former commander, the 16th Light Dragoons and he and Sheridan are so doing it.

IOW, NC-17 Sheridan Fanfic. Rawrrrrr.

Pellew will undoubtedly be along, as I suspect we're headed for Saratoga. *squees*

The sex scene, sadly, includes almost all known Fanfic Sex Scene Sins.

Somebody ought to talk to him about proper illicit dressing room shagging *checks credentials*.

Shall report back later. Tally-ho!

ETA: Page 39. His Mohawk name means "Inexhaustible". Of course it does. Silly me.

I should at least finish the book before I start slashing him with people, right? Right?

ETA2: Cover photography by *stalls out* PHOTOGRAPHY?
*ponders means of locating and stalking model*

ETA3: "As you know, Dear Reader, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham..." (Historical Exposition interspersed with ManPain, 3 pages)

And: His Mission? Page 41: ROUSE THE IROQUOIS. *gets an early start on that being roused bit* and GAIN A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENEMY.

ETA4: PAGE 48 AND WE HAVE MIDSHIPMAN PELLEW! AND HE STOOD ON HIS HEAD!

"Jack smiled. He liked Pellew, BEYOND A COUNTRYMAN'S AFFINITY ... Midshipman Pellew was standing gloriously alone, on the highest yardarm. On his head."

They are toasting each other in Cornish.

And they've been practicing... Cornish Wrestling together. On the deck.

*dives back into book*

(later) *sigh*

I have to stop posting and read faster. Also, enter Alexander Lindsay, Earl of Balcarras, who is "tall, so pale his skin appeared untroubled by his prodigious consumption, seemingly effete, with an accent bred at Harrow and Oxford, Jack had discovered that [he] had a core of metal. Sandy was also a prodigious fast bowler, and had TAKEN JACK'S WICKET in the annual Westminster versus Harrow Old Boy's match seven years before. Despite that, Jack liked him."

... He wants to know about the wrestling. Also, Simon Fraser just showed up. With a wee question.

GAH with the ETAs:

(Much later: Jack [has been] awake since an hour before dawn despite the distracting comfort of Pellew's pillow.

... Goodness.)

Final ETA:

OK, done. Still a-squee. And giggling, and just sort of generally --

This book is RevWar crackfic. And I love it. Highly recommended.

Even though I think I have just figured out what it is about sex scenes in much literature of this genre:

Foreplay lasts until the writer gets embarassed. Then, the characters have to fuck so the writer can stop writing the scene. Mr Humphreys is... not so easily embarassed as Mr Cornwell, it seems. Still. One could wish he'd pressed a cool towel to his forehead long enough to let Our Boy actually make a decent job of the ladies in question before resorting to 'they were joined'.

Also, maybe it's me, but that particular euphemism make me want to know by whom they were joined. (I'm voting for Balcarras, myself...)

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