goops Recto/Verso

Librarians do it Recto/Verso.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Flaubert has left the building

Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues - in frames for easy reading.

William Bronk

William Bronk - Death is the Place

  • "She said, "I’ve always been alone." And I was surprised but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, yeah, she’s one of the few honest people in the world." Interview.
  • Sound Recordings

Taxonomy of the boring

The Bromide has no surprises for you. When you see one enter a room, you must reconcile yourself to the inevitable. No hope for flashes of original thought, no illuminating, newer point of view, no sulphitic flashes of fancy--the steady glow of bromidic conversation and action is all one can hope for. He may be wise and good, he may be loved and respected--but he lives inland; he puts not forth to sea. He is there when you want him, always the same.

Bromides also enjoy pathological symptoms. They are fond of describing sickness and death-bed scenes. "His face swelled up to twice its natural size!" they say, in awed whispers. They attend funerals with interest and scrutiny.
Read Are You a Bromide? There is a Flaubertian listing of "Bromidioms," sayings that people like Dr. Cottard or my mother repeat to invite strangulation.

I am now doubly sad that Venus im Pelz is not being updated, because one of the very first posts in the archives contains this empirical account of Bromidism:
always on the cell phone. always always. it would take an artist 10 times more subtle than flaubert to fully convey the banality that is this girl.
I would like to think that I am undercover as a Bromide. It's not really a very useful method of getting people to leave you alone, though.

On a side note, Evelyn Waugh gradually poisoned himself towards the end of his life by mixing chloral and bromide. This also explains The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold.

Also: Neruda translations over here.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

More Goops

Frank Gelett Burgess, creator of the Goops and author of the infamous "Purple Cow" poem, actually sounds like a really cool dude with whom I would have liked to chill. Another humor book he wrote is entitled Are You a Bromide? It's in the public domain now and there's a Project Gutenburg e-text, but I'd also really like to buy a copy.

This is why I feel that I have completely failed to become what my liberal arts school intended me. This evening I was supposed to be reading Neruda. Instead I'm sitting around wondering why the hell nobody reads Stephen Leacock anymore.

Learn German Vocabulary with the Goops and John McPhee

Did not finish editing thesis. Went to town. Found gainful employment outside of big-A Academia. Spent paycheck.

I love the used bookstore on Main Street. It's a small store, but they stock both inexpensive paperbacks and first editions. The proprietors must know my face by now, but today was the first time I had a conversation with one of them. I noticed The Goops and How To Be Them on display at the counter, and made an exclamation of alarm at seeing this half-forgotten relic of my childhood. No, I'm not really that old - I had found a reprint at a booksale and was obsessed with it for a short time. I think my six-year-old self thought something along the intellectually profound lines of "Their heads... how can they be so round??" Anyway, the man who works there told me that there's another Goops book, which I will have to find for my youngest sister, and we discussed my purchases and agreed that John McPhee is probably the best writer writing now in English.

I bought:
John McPhee - Coming into the Country. The one about Alaska.
Vladimir Nabokov - Pnin. Showalter would approve!
and the promisingly colorful German in 10 minutes a day.

I also bought a CD, Her Majesty The Decemberists, although I rarely pay for music. Fact: I have learned more new English vocabulary words this year from The Decemberists songs than I have from reading Faulkner and various translations of Proust.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I will not be able to do any pleasure reading at all until I finish editing my thesis. My analytical writing is awful. I am pretty proud about one thing: I managed to write the main portion of it sitting up in bed.

Since it is an A.B. thesis it is not expected to make any sort of scholarly contribution. I disagree with Elaine Showalter during the introduction, but not any of her statements on feminist theory: just her post-retirement work involving the Academic Novel. She has written a book on the Academic Novel but seems only interested in parodying professors. It is so self-reflexive (note my diplomatic avoidance of "navel-gazing") and, worse, I can't drag myself away from it.

I never meant to talk about big-A Academia in this journal and I don't intend to do so further, but I need to blow off a little steam before returning to centering neatly my participles and un-splitting my infinitives.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Academic parties

Note to self: Do not go to them. Or at least only stay long enough for purposes of intoxication. Overheard:

Dreadhead Woman: Ok, but what is your take on communication?
Art Major Girl: I don't believe that communication is possible, at all.

trou de cul de viarge.

Have read to the Third Adventure - How Siegfried came to Worms.

Archaic English vocab: eke, mickle, anon, doughty, thane, rede.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dope is the Pope

I really hope I get to take the summer course in British mythology - it's a trip to England, and we get to read Geoffrey Ashe. I know virtually nothing about King Arthur aside from the Disney movie "The Sword in the Stone." Which does not, I presume, count for much.

Wikipedia category for Ancient Germanic peoples. Are the Heruli accepting applications?

I am celebrating today's, er, holiday only on a symbolic level by reading this literary junkfood.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Pope is Dope

Bald and stern Professor Auctoritas announced before my afternoon seminar that the new Pope had been elected but had not been announced. He called the German, of course. (Prof. Auc. married a German and likes to publically admonish his drippy sons in that language.) Anyway, Harry Hutton, whom I admire for many reasons, quoted Brideshead Revisited in response.

The character of Rex Montram (sp?), the Canadian entrepreneur who converts to Catholicism awkwardly and for all the wrong reasons, was supposedly based on Waugh himself. At least he had a sense of humor about it. I know this because I read it in a book, probably this one.

Epic readings

My reading list has become as disorganized as the rest of my life. It's not even on one piece of paper. It's on several pieces of paper, and I only know where one of them is. And I'm too lazy to get up and retrieve that particuar notebook. That being said, here are some distracting things I've found online recently:

  • The Nibelungenlied by George Henry Needler, Translator. I have not listened to Wagner extensively, but from this translation makes the myths seem very un-Wagner-esque. It makes them seem suspiciously charming.
  • The Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius. Is this a bad/out of date translation? Probably... have not had time to compare.