like a cuttlefish spurting out ink…

…when there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms.

📙 Politics and the English Language
 
The purpose of “Politics and the English Language,” it is said, is to inform people of how language used in ‘political writing’ is vague and incompetent so as to be abstract for the listener/reader. You see, ‘political language,’ according to George Orwell, is designed to make “lies sound truthful” and, “murder seem respectable.” As Joshua Castle says, Orwell’s classic essay, Politics and the English Language, should be any writers’ gold standard and that, “Orwell’s Six Rules should be hung from a wall in the office of every journalist, editor and academic; not to mention, every business consultant and political assistant.” He goes on to note, “alas my wishes will never materialise.” Nevermind (said with Leonard Cohen in mind), I’ll preface the essay below—served to you in both audio and type format—with those 1/2 dozen rules nevertheless:
 
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
 
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
 
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
 
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
 
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
 
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

 

Politics and the English Language — Orwell
Nevermind — Cohen

 


REFERENCE

Orwell, G. (1946). Politics and the English Language. Horizon, vol. 13(76), pp. 252–265.


 

📘 Politics and the English Language (PDF)

George Orwell
– –  – –  – –    – – –  – – –  – – –
POLITICS AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language – so the argument runs – must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.

These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad – I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen – but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples. I number them so that I can refer back to them when necessary:

1.
 
I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien (sic) to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.
 
— Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression).

2.
 
Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at a loss for bewilder.
 
— Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossia).

3.
 
On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity?
 
— Essay on psychology in Politics (New York).

4.
 
All the ‘best people’ from the gentlemen’s clubs, and all the frantic Fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis.
 
— Communist pamphlet.

5.
 
If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion’s roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as ‘standard English’. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o’clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma’amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens!
 
— Letter in Tribune.

Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose-construction is habitually dodged.

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgels for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Operators, or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are: render inoperative, militate against, prove unacceptable, make contact with, be subject to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc. etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purposes verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved from anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

Pretentious diction. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biassed judgements. Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid processes of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion. Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien régime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, Gleichschaltung, Weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i.e., e.g., and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in English. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, sub-aqueous and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon opposite numbers.[1]  The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use a Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the -ize formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentatory and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one’s meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.

Meaningless words. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.[2]  Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly even expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, ‘The outstanding feature of Mr. X’s work is its living quality’, while another writes, ‘The immediately striking thing about Mr. X’s work is its peculiar deadness’, the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit 3 above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations – race, battle, bread – dissolve into the vague phrase ‘success or failure in competitive activities’. This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing – no one capable of using phrases like ‘objective considerations of contemporary phenomena’ – would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyse these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains 49 words but only 60 syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains 38 words of 90 syllables: 18 of its words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase (‘time and chance’) that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its 90 syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier – even quicker, once you have the habit – to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for the words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences, since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry – when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech – it is natural to fall into a pretentious, latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash – as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot – it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking. Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay. Professor Laski (1) uses five negatives in 53 words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip alien for akin, making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness. Professor Hogben (2) plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means. (3), if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: probably one could work out its intended meaning by reading the whole of the article in which it occurs. In (4) the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea-leaves blocking a sink. In (5) words and meaning have almost parted company. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning – they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another – but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you – even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent – and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions, and not a ‘party line’. Orthodoxy, of whatever colour, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White Papers and the speeches of Under-Secretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, home-made turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases – bestial atrocities, iron heel, blood-stained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder – one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

While freely conceding that the Soviet régime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigours which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find – this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify – that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one’s elbow. Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against. By this morning’s post I have received a pamphlet dealing with conditions in Germany. The author tells me that he ‘felt impelled’ to write it. I open it at random, and here is almost the first sentence that I see: ‘(The Allies) have an opportunity not only of achieving a radical transformation of Germany’s social and political structure in such a way as to avoid a nationalistic reaction in Germany itself, but at the same time of laying the foundations of a co-operative and unified Europe.’ You see, he ‘feels impelled’ to write – feels, presumably, that he has something new to say – and yet his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one’s mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one’s brain.

I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail. Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of fly-blown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence,[3]  to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.

To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a ‘standard English’ which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one’s meaning clear or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a ‘good prose style’. On the other hand it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one’s meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is to surrender them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualising, you probably hunt about till you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one’s meanings as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose – not simply accept – the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impression one’s words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

i.
 
Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

ii.
 
Never use a long word where a short one will do.

iii.
 
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

iv.
 
Never use the passive where you can use the active.

v.
 
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

vi.
 
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase – some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse – into the dustbin where it belongs.

— § —


NOTES

[1] ^ (return)  An interesting illustration of this is the way in which the English flower names which were in use till very recently are being ousted by Greek ones, snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis, etc. It is hard to see any practical reason for this change of fashion: it is probably due to an instinctive turning-away from the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific.

— § —

[2] ^ (return)  Example: ‘Comfort’s catholicity of perception and image, strangely Whitmanesque in range, almost the exact opposite in aesthetic compulsion, continues to evoke that trembling atmospheric accumulative hinting at a cruel, an inexorably serene timelessness… Wrey Gardiner scores by aiming at simple bullseyes with precision. Only they are not so simple, and through this contented sadness runs more than the surface bitter-sweet of resignation’. (Poetry Quarterly.)

— § —

[3] ^ (return)  One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.

— § —

n.b. The word Orwellian has turned the author’s own name into a capacious synonym for everything he hated and feared.

Fastnet Sole

German Bight Dogger

Oh_sea_me_now...
Oh_sea_me_now…

Shiplap, ship shape, old sea shanties, tall tales ‘n’ high seas. Think of mermaids and their siren calls; Billy Budd, Master & Commander; The old man and the sea with his recurring dream of lions prowling the (North West) African coastline. We all came from there, us, us humans, homo sapiens. Humankind, as we currently manifest, originated in (the East of) Africa — there are, as Bob Marley sung, Buffalo Soldiers, stolen from Africa, in the heart of America. East! East of Eden, don’t get me ranting upon the Grapes of Wrath (it’s not what the consensus view reads into it, but it is what I naively [and formatively] did once read into it). The middle passage, Omeros and the Caribbean. A House for Mr Biswas, then on to R. K. Narayan’s The Painter of Signs. Odyssey and Iliad were set upon the sea, the Greeks were want to say, caught between scylla and charybdis, the Americans will say, between a rock and a hard place but the Brits (who [once] rule[d] the waves) put it best when they say, “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Think of the Mary Rose, the Spanish Armada, the sinking of the Belgrano in ’82. The regattas, sailing and yachting (if at nothing else, ‘team GB’ still do well at Olympic rowing). Over the pond, the pond in which the unsinkable Titanic sank, there’s Moby-Dick; down under [sic] there’s Quicksilver, Rip curl and the megalodon. The sea shaped Conrad who wrote in Lord Jim, “there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” O hail the bad &, in Bristol fashion, batten down yer breeches. Transmitted on the dot (like clockwork) @ (e.g.,) 05:20 G.M.T.—on FM and on longwave—are weather reports from coastal stations for the following maritime waters (relayed in clockwise order):

~ ~ ~
Vi·king (named after a sandbank)
North Ut·sire (an island)
South Ut·sire (an island)
For·ties (a sandbank)
Crom·ar·ty (an estuary)
Forth (an estuary)
Tyne (an estuary)
Dog·ger (a sandbank)
Fish·er (a sandbank)
Ger·man Bight (a bay of Northern Europe)
Hum·ber (an estuary)
Thames (an estuary & a river)
Do·ver (a port city)
Wight (an island)
Port·land (an island)
Ply·mouth (a port city)
Bis·cay (after the Irish Sea)
Tra·fal·gar (after Cape Trafalgar, in Spain)
Fitz·Roy (after Robert FitzRoy)
Sole (a sandbank)
Lun·dy (an island)
Fast·net (an isolated rocky stack)
I·rish Sea (after the Irish sea)
Shan·non (an estuary)
Rock·all (an isolated rocky stack)
Mal·in (named after Malin Head, Ireland)
Heb·ri·des (islands)
Bai·ley (a sandbank)
Fair Isle (an island)
Fae·roes (islands)
South·east Ice·land (an island)
~ ~ ~

G.M.T. (GMT) [Greenwich Mean Time] {UTC +0} — now, Our Man in Soho, an indolent pseudo-pornographer of Conradian concoction, was goaded into an attempted anarchistic act [sic] that centred on the blowing to smithereens of the Greenwich Observatory (in actual fact a work of fiction based on a newspaper report of such an intended act) (The paymaster in The Secret Agent? As clearly as I can, I shall say, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and…” the horseman of the North were (are[will be]) heard to murmur as they rode (ride), “The sign is a risin’, O hail Pew-Tin, our home’ll be in the promise land, Rainbow Country” — recall, truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction).[1]  This much I know: categorically, writers like E. M. Forster, Graham Greene, Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi and most certainly too, Zadie Smith will have listened to (or had on in the background at the very [very {very}] least) renditions of this trio of audio files:

A theme tune to begin…
“The Shipping Forecast” (BBC, Radio 4)
…an anthem to end.

The aforementioned coastal stations (also listed clockwise around Great Britain) are here set out below:

~ ~ ~
Ti·ree [Automatic]
Storn·o·way
Ler·wick
Wick [Automatic]
Ab·er·deen
Leuchars
Boul·mer
Brid·ling·ton
San·det·tie [Light Vessel Automatic]
Green·wich [Light Vessel Automatic]
St. Cath·er·ine’s Point [Automatic]
Jer·sey
Chan·nel [Light Vessel Automatic]
Scil·ly [Automatic]
Mil·ford Ha·ven
Ab·er·porth
Val·ley
Liv·er·pool Cros·by
Val·ent·i·a
Ron·alds·way
Ma·lin Head
Mach·ri·han·ish [Automatic (0048 only)]
~ ~ ~

By the by, The Shipping Forecast is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 because its longwave signal can be received clearly at sea all around the British Isles regardless of time of day or radio conditions. Zebedee Soanes, one of several Shipping Forecast readers, once said that for the non-nautical, “it is a nightly litany of the sea.” Indeed, for many who’ll be safely tucked-up in their beds when these broadcasts are read, can romantically conjure up in their mind’s-eye lone fishing-boats far out in the North Atlantic with no protection other the starlit sky and the wireless radio. And ~ lest we forget ~ the final list of this post (3 of 3) consists of the ‘inshore waters’ of the British isles that The Shipping Forecast bulletins also covers:

~ ~ ~
Cape Wrath to Rat·tray Head [inc. Ork·ney]
Rat·tray Head to Ber·wick-up·on-Tweed
Ber·wick-up·on-Tweed to Whit·by
Whit·by to Gib·ral·tar Point
Gib·ral·tar Point to North Fore·land
North Fore·land to Sel·sey Bill
Sel·sey Bill to Lyme Re·gis
Lyme Re·gis to Land’s End
Land’s End to St Da·vid’s Head
St Da·vid’s Head to Great Orme Head
Great Orme Head to Mull of Gall·o·way
Isle of Man
Lough Foyle to Car·ling·ford Lough
Mull of Gall·o·way to Mull of Kin·tyre
Mull of Kin·tyre to Ard·na·mur·chan Point
Ard·na·mur·chan Point to Cape Wrath
Shet·land Isles
~ ~ ~

I bow down to a life upon the ocean swell.

— …- . .-. / .- -. -.. / — ..- – //

...oh_how_eye_howl.
…oh_how_eye_howl.

— § —


NOTES

[1] ^ (return)  They say a pictures speak volumes..

..suffice to say, “Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it by threats, persuasion, or bribes.” Delve, why not, into a pictorial take on London’s Soho of yesteryear: “Beautiful “&” Sublime.” By the by, and you can quote me here, Winnie Verloc almost definitely did not end it by suicide. If that were meant to be a known, he’d have set that on the train to Dover, a head out of a window prior to entering a tightly excavated Victorian tunnel. No, to leave symbolically a wedding ring and jump over the rails of a cross-channel ferry is an improbable way to go (I mean to say decapitation is far quicker than floundering and drowning on the greasy dank gray, unforgivingly cold, English channel. She left the golden ring to foster an enigma, she was free and, in a cathartic act (freed as she was by no doing of her own from brother and mother), elected to begin anew — a freedwomen, phoenix-like from the ashes of the inept Professor’s making — and to Paris (the city that’d become known to Harold Bloom et al. as, “La Ville Lumière”) she undoubtedly did sojourn.

for the One&Only

☇…


May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve.

— her (n.d.)

⚤ || ☠


Be free my honey bee, let your pen be the seismograph’s nib—etch, unabridged and unbridled, the tremors of your heart.

— him (n.d.)

again,


Once again love drives me on, that loosener of limbs, bittersweet creature against which nothing can be done.

— her (n.d.)

love is


I hear you. Plates shift perpetually and nothing can be done. Nothing comes close to the disruption unrequited love does bring.

— him (n.d.)

tearing me apart

— § —


n.b.

The best bits above are grafted from a master in the craft of poignant poetic pronouncement, namely, Sapphō (Greek: Σαπφώ) of Lesbos.

— § —

a♡bibliography

calculated in terms of the passage of time.

01.📕 Beautiful “&” Sublime (n.d.)

This is a book of a sort that due to its evolving nature is best described as being of indeterminate in length and nebulous in type. Take one look and we’ll wager you’ll be hooked. But then again, as it’s no more and no less nefarious to its very core (its innermost heart & sanctum sanctorum soul), possibly this kind of gift horse will be seen as but an ass in your esteemed estimation, dear fraternal fellowship of feminine readers (oh Jay! Where are you this day?).
 
 

02.📕 The Kama Sutra (c. 369 B.C.E.)

The Kama Sutra (कामसूत्र / Kāmasūtra in its Sanskrit original) is an ancient Indian text on sexuality, eroticism and, the emotional fulfillment in life. It ain’t just (or indeed predominantly) a sex manual on positions. The Kama Sutra is a guide to the art of living happily alongside a treatise on the nature of love. Of interest (to me anyway) is that one of the first to translate this into any European language was Sir Richard Burton—Oh the Devil does Drive, and on its merry rounds, the said driven one (Richard Burton) inter alia slipped into Mecca and tracked in the sands of the lands that were later traversed by the Don of the Desert and the hauntingly daunting and deeply enrapturing Rub’ al Khali (a.k.a., ٱلرُّبْع ٱلْخَالِي‎ a.k.a., the “Empty Quarter”), the venerable Wilfred Thesiger.
 
 

03.📕 The Art of Love (2 C.E.)

The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria in its Latin original) was written by the Roman poet Ovid (who’s probably most famous for having written: Metamorphoses, tellingly said: “love is a kind of warfare” and was born in 43 B.C.E. [♟] and died circa 18 C.E. [☠] and whose full name was in fact Publius Ovidius Naso). The Art of Love is an instructional elegy series in three books. It was written in 2 C.E. (or as we may wanna say 2 AD). The first part/book deals with how men can ‘find’ women; the second part is on Ovid’s ways of ‘keeping’ her (once found) and the third—penned two years after the first two were put to the public—gives women advice on how to win and keep the love of a man.
 
 

04.📕 The Arabian Nights (10th c. onward)

The Arabian Nights or, ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ ( أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ‎ / Alf laylah wa-laylah in its Arabic original) is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled during the so-called Islamic Golden Age. Of interest (to me anyway) is that one of the first to translate this into any European language was Sir Richard Burton—Oh the Devil does Drive, and on its merry rounds the said driven one slipped into Mecca and tracked in the sands of the lands that were later traversed by the Don of the Desert and the hauntingly daunting and deeply enrapturing Rub’ al Khali (a.k.a., ٱلرُّبْع ٱلْخَالِي‎ a.k.a., the “Empty Quarter”), the venerable Wilfred Thesiger. Déjà vu, anyone? From Hindustan (^ see entry 02, above) we’re now in Arabia (think: Sand City / Date grove) and this high art of CTRL + C and CTRL + V continues in the listing that follows (see entry 05, below) when we traverse the Arabian/Persian Gulf and wend our way to Isfahan and its environs. Many of the tales in The Arabian Nights have erotic undertones, from the stories of wives and their lovers to those of kings and their conquests, to the overarching story of Shahrazad and Shahryar. However, so as not to hide it, Burton did add colour, many say he took the poetic license granted to translators of poetic text a few furlongs too far. Take for one example this note he made to an aspect of one tale’s plot: Debauched Arab women show a particular lust for black men on account of the size of their parts. “I measured one man in Somalia who, when quiescent, numbered nearly six inches … No honest Moslem would take his womenfolk to Zanzibar on account of the huge attractions and enormous temptations there.” (Burton had a habit of measuring ‘quiescent’ male members and was frank enough to say Europeans were only average but those of ‘pure’ Arabs and the menfolk of Hindustan were well below average.)
 
 

05.📕 The Perfumed Garden (15th c.)

Giving it its full title, The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (الروض العاطر في نزهة الخاطر‎ / Al-rawḍ al-ʿāṭir fī nuzhaẗ al-ḫāṭir in its Arabic original) is a 15th c. sex manual and work of erotic literature by Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nefzawi. The book gives advice on sexual techniques, recipes to remedy sexual maladies and, among other things, gives lengthy lists of names for the penis and vagina. Yep, our man in the Orient, Sir Richard Burton, was the first to translate this treatise on the birds ‘n’ bees into English too. Oh! The Devil does Drive, and on its merry rounds drove Burton to dip himself into a bath of crushed walnut and Rose water to dye himself in preparation for penetrating Mecca and Medina (not content to undertake this mendacious act as a common man, he adopted an Afghan lilt to his near fluent Arabic and posed as a Sheikh who happened to have acquired near magical Eastern gynecological skills; permitting him not only VIP entry into the confines of Mecca but also the tents of the wives of the dignitaries of some of the fiercest Wahhabi subscribers to Ḥanbalite law that ever did live and breath [upon gaining this rarefied, no wholly ‘exclusive’ realm of the Bedouin tent, he promptly made b-lines to the a-lines beneath the petticoats worn under the puritanical black abaya {worth noting too that Burton, whilst posted to Bombay and tiring of the tedium of stockpiling loot from the subcontinent in the warehouses of Naval Dockyard for the East India, took it entirely upon himself to carry out, first-hand, so-to-speak, a comprehensive and exhaustive anthropological study of Bombay’s red light district ((Lal Bazaar))}]) and track in the sands of the lands that were later traversed by the Don of the Desert and the hauntingly daunting and deeply enrapturing Rub’ al Khali (a.k.a., ٱلرُّبْع ٱلْخَالِي‎ a.k.a., the “Empty Quarter”), the venerable Wilfred Thesiger. From Hindustan (^ see entry 02, above) by way of Dhow sail (داو dāw) to Arabia (^ see entry 04, above), we’re now in Persia (think: of the patter of decorated feet on the cool marble floors of Purdah in cahoots with the hubbub of the market rising from the streets beyond the palace walls) and this high art of CTRL + C and CTRL + V, now concludes. Freud considered the theory of repression to be: “the corner-stone on which the whole structure of psychoanalysis rests…” the extent to which this links in with déjà vu is up to you, I’m just saying don’t go confusing Freud the elder with Freud the younger (i.e., I’m here on about Sigmund not Lucian).
 
 

06.📕 The Carnal Prayer Mat (1696)

The Carnal Prayer Mat (Rouputuan in simplified Chinese) has a controversial status in Chinese history and its literary canon. It has long been banned and censored. It was written by Li Yu (who was born in 1610 [♟] and died in 1680 [☠] and was also known as Li Liweng) who was a playwright and a publisher in addition to a writer of prose. Today The Carnal Prayer Mat is considered by some to have used unabashed pornographic tracts to attack Confucian puritanism. Prophetically, the book’s prologue declares that sex is healthy when taken as if it were a drug, but not as if it were ordinary food. As literary critic Danny Yee wrote in 2004, although this text is “pretty raunchy in places” it should be applauded far more for its “brilliant comedy and satire.”
 
 

07.📕 Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748)

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748), known too as Fanny Hill (possibly an anglicisation of the Latin mons veneris, mound of Venus), is an erotic work by Englishman John Cleland (born [♟] 1709, died [☠] 1789). It was first published in London in 1748 whilst Cleland was in debtors’ prison. It is considered to be the first original English prose pornography and thus has been one of the most prosecuted and banned books in history. Being as from where I’m from I’m compelled, yes compelled in an utterly unstoppable way to write in support or as a retort: camel toe. In sum, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill) details the coming of age and subsequent shenanigans of one Frances Hill who was orphaned at the age of 15. With no money at hand she leaves her villages and travels to London where she gets a cleaning job at Mrs. Brown’s brothel. At first Fanny believes her new job to be legitimate, but her curiosity and sensuality are aroused when the prostitute with whom she shares a room introduces her to sex. Mrs. Brown then tricks Fanny into ‘servicing’ a client. She thereafter leaves Mrs. Brown and falls for a man called Charles but this is a short-lived respite from her engagement with the world’s so-called oldest trade, because he’s sent of to sea never to be seen again (or does he return ;))… Fanny then finds work at an upper-class brothel, where she experiences a multitude of sexual acts and discovers that sex for money is not as satisfying as sex for love…
 
 

08.📕 120 Days of Sodom (1785, published: 1904)

120 Days of Sodom (Les 120 Journées de Sodome ou l’école du libertinage in its French original) was Sade’s masterwork; the manuscript was lost for a period during the French Revolution and was not published until the 20th c. Marquis de Sade’s unfinished drafts are nowadays described as being both erotic and pornographic (born [♟] 1740, died [☠] 1814; Donatien Alphonse François [Marquis de Sade] was a French nobleman who was/is famous for his libertine sexuality and writing on sex and infamous for his sexual abuse of adolescents). In sum, the tale of 120 Days of Sodom is about four wealthy male who embark upon a quest to experience the ultimate sexual gratification by conducting a string of orgies. They do this by sealing themselves away for four months in an remote castle deep in the heart of the Black Forest (in today’s Germany; think/don’t think: Black Forest gâteau [Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte]) with a harem of 36 victims.
 
 

09.📕 Flowers of Evil (1857)

Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal in its French original) is said to be a real masterpiece of French literature (it is a collection of poems that are sometimes of an erotic nature/bent). Upon publication Charles Baudelaire (born [♟] 1821, passed [☠] 1867; was a French essayist, poet [his poems are widely considered to show a mastery of rhyme and rhythm and combine neatly Romantic exoticism with realistic observations of everyday life] and, an early translators of Edgar Allan Poe into French.) was prosecuted by way of an ‘outrage aux bonnes mœurs’ (‘an insult to public decency’) and fined 300 francs. Six of the book’s poems were then suppressed for almost 100 years: “Lesbos,” “Women Doomed (In the pale glimmer…),” “Le Léthé,” “To Her Who Is Too Joyful,” “The Jewels” and, “The Vampire’s Metamorphoses.” Thanks to Alan Turing and Tim Berners-Lee we now have the internet and we have uninhibited, unabridged and unexpurgated access to this sextet, Flowers of Evil in full and indeed, every line of every work in this selected♡bibliography.
 
 

10.📕 Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is one of the more famous novels by D. H. Lawrence (David Herbert Lawrence was born [♟] in September of 1885 and expired [☠] in March of 1930, his collected works, inter alia, can be seen as a reflection on the dehumanising effects of modernity, industrialisation and ‘The Great War’ [WWI] [within this reflection he explores vitality, spontaneity, sexuality and emotional well-being]). It was first published privately in 1928 in Italy and in 1929 in France—its explicit descriptions of sex, and Lawrence’s use of then-unprintable (in the United Kingdom at least) four-letter words rendered it a liber non grata in England. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the U.K. until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case and quickly sold three million copies. In sum, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman.
 
 

11.📕 Story of the Eye (1928)

Story of the Eye (Histoire de l’œil in its French original) is the 1928 novella written by Georges Bataille (whose full name was/is Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille, a gentleman who was born [♟] in 1897 and broke on through to the other side [☠] in July of 1962 and whilst alive was interested in many things including the history of art and wrote on an array of subjects in various forms including: eroticism surrealism and transgression)). In sum, Story of the Eye, details the increasingly bizarre sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers. It is narrated by the young man looking back on his exploits. The work contains several vignettes, centered around the sexual passion existing between the unnamed late adolescent male narrator and Simone, his primary female partner. Within this episodic narrative two secondary figures emerge: Marcelle, a mentally ill sixteen-year-old girl who comes to a sad sticky end, and Lord Edmund, a voyeuristic English émigré aristocrat of the debauched (we’d say) debonair (he’d say) kind.
 
 

12.📕 Tropic of Cancer (1934)

Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller (Henry Valentine Miller, [♟] December 26, 1891 – [☠] June 7, 1980, was an American writer noted for developing a new type of literary format, a semi-autobiographical one that blended character study, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit sex scenes and mysticism), has been described as both ‘notorious’ for its realistic descriptions of sex and ‘responsible’ for the free speech that is now considered as a given in literature. Although published in Paris in 1934, it was long banned in the United States. When finally Tropic of Cancer was published in America in 1961 the publisher, Grove Press, was taken to court and it took until 1964 for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide that it wasn’t too obscene to be added to the higher up bookshelves of bookshops.
 
 

13.📕 Delta of Venus (1940s, published: 1977)

Delta of Venus, by Anaïs Nin (or, as spelled out in her passport, Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, was born [♟] in 1903 and passed away [☠] in 1977, she was a French-Cuban American diarist, essayist, nwho was born to Cuban parents in France where she spent her formative years in Paris [La Ville Lumière], beforehand it was Spain and Cuba and after that it was all lived out in the U. S. of A.), is a book of fifteen erotic stories mostly written in the 1940s. It was not made available to the general public until 1977. Nin wrote these stories for a long anonymous individual known as ‘The Collector.’ (The Collector also paid Henry Miller (^ see entry 12, above) and English poet George Granville Barker [1913–1991—who I can reveal to be the person that penned ‘The True Confession of George Barker’] to produce erotic fiction for their private consumption). We today know the identity of this pornographic patron, one Roy M. Johnson of Healdton Oil, Oklahoma, You. S. Ayy (Roy’s now made it on to Oklahoma’s ‘Hall of Fame’ that is maintained diligently by the Gaylord-Pickens Museum [who deftly omit all mention of his interest in erotica, instead focusing on the patronage he bestowed upon church and state]).
 
 

14.📕 The Story of O (1954)

The Story of O (Histoire d’O in its French original) is an erotic novel published in 1954 by French author Anne Desclos (Anne ‘Cécile’ Desclos, born [♟] 1907, died [☠] 1998) under the pen name ‘Pauline Réage.’ Desclos was bisexual. She had a long-term relationship with her employer Jean Paulhan, the director of the prestigious Nouvelle Revue Française, who was 23 years her senior and a long-term liaison with historian and novelist Édith Thomas, who may have been an inspiration for the character of Anne-Marie (The Story of O’s protagonist). In sum, The Story of O is the tale of female submission involving a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer named O, who is taught to be constantly available for oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse, offering herself to any male who belongs to the same secret society as her lover. She is regularly stripped, blindfolded, chained, and whipped (and even gets her bum cheeks branded with a hot rod).
 
 

15.📕 Lolita (1955)

Lolita was written by a Russian-American novelist who, in his later years, preferred to reside in a serviced Swiss chalet appended to a swish swanky hotel resort and engage in caustic trysts [sic] with literary critics and, is known to us today as, Vladimir Nabokov (born [♟] 1899, died [☠] 1977 and who famously wrote, ‘it was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight’). This work is notable for both its controversial subject matter and the crafting of the English language. The book soon became a literary classic and remains one to this day not least because of its style and its precise portrayal of the banality of postwar America. In sum, in Lolita, we follow the protagonist-cum-narrator, a middle-aged literature professor under the pseudonym Humbert Humbert. Humbert is obsessed with a 12-year-old girl, Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after using both hook and crook, he becomes her stepfather.
 
 

 
references (upon request)

Al Nafzawi, M. (1989 [15th c.]). The Perfumed Garden: First illustrated edition of Sir Richard Burton’s translation. London: Hamlyn/Octopus Publishing Group/Hachette Livre/Lagardère Publishing.

Bataille, G. (2001 [1928]). Story of the Eye. London: Penguin Classics.

Baudelaire, C. (2016 [1857]). Flowers of Evil (duel text edition). London: Alma Classics.

Bidoonism, A. (n.d.). Beautiful “&” Sublime. Anotherland: The Openbook Duet.

Cleland, J. (2000 [1748]). Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Ware, Hertfordshire, England: Wordsworth Classics.

De Sade, M. (2016 [1785/1904]). 120 Days of Sodom. London: Penguin Classics.

Desclos, A. [Réage, P.] (1994 [1954]). The Story of O. London: Corgi Books/Transworld Publishers Ltd./Penguin Random House/Bertelsmann.

Haksa, A. N. D. (Translator). (2012 [369 B.C.E.]). Kama Sutra: A Guide to the Art of Pleasure. London: Penguin Classics.

Irwin, R., Lyons, M. &, Lyons, U. [Translators] (2010 [10th c.]a). The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights (Volume I). London: Penguin Classics.

Irwin, R., Lyons, M. &, Lyons, U. [Translators] (2010 [10th c.]b). The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights (Volume II). London: Penguin Classics.

Irwin, R., Lyons, M. &, Lyons, U. [Translators] (2010 [10th c.]c). The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights (Volume III). London: Penguin Classics.

Lawrence, D. H. (2006 [1928]). Lady Chatterley’s Lover. London: Penguin Classics.

Li, Y. (1991 [1657]). The Carnal Prayer Mat. Ware, Hertfordshire, England: Wordsworth Classic Erotica.

Miller, H. (2005 [1934]). Tropic of Cancer. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Nabokov, V. (2005 [1955]). Lolita: 50th anniversary edition. London: Vintage Books/Knopf Doubleday Publishing.

Nin, A. (2000 [1940s/1977]). Delta of Venus. London: Penguin Classics.

Ovid (2012 [2 C.E.]). The Art of Love. London: Vintage Publishing/Alfred A. Knopf.
 
 

to eternity m’dear
 

The Spectator (1711)

¶ Fox Jumps Dog ¶

The Spectator was a short-lived London daily publication It was founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele and spanned the period, 1711 to 1712.

 
The Spectator was a short-lived London daily, put out to print by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.[1]  It lasted for little more than 18 months (during the years 1711 & 1712) and, most issues contained a single essay penned by either Addison or Steele. Lest you be confused, it ain’t related to the current London magazine apart from the latter adopting the former’s name:

The Spectator (^ the modern day incarnation) was first published in 1828 and is issued weekly. It focuses on culture, current affairs and takes a right-wing political standpoint. It thus contrasts nicely (neatly?) with the avowedly left-wing New Statesman—another London weekly that too focuses on culture and current affairs:

Back on course now—returning to piste, so to speak (/piːst/ [think French alps and snow white, not the past tense of an English drunk]); off the dunes and back onto the straitlaced tarmac (oh Thesiger how I burn [Sand City] oh Sir Burton how I yearn [Date grove])—The Spectator (1711) is of interest to those interested in English literature in various ways. One is that one of its 555 issues—№ 476, set out in full below—underpins the English Style Guide and another is that a revised and edited version of all 555 issues (or papers) of The Spectator (1711), in three compendious volumes (1891), was overseen by Henry Morley, who is widely considered to have been the first Professor of English literature (‘interest,’ ‘interested;’ ‘one is,’ ‘one of;’ ‘555 issues,’ ‘555 issues;’ I know, I know). Henry Morley (1822–1894), in addition to liquorice allsorts, wrote a popular book containing biographies of famous English writers, download options are to be found below.[2]  (It is now thought probable that Morley was not the one responsible for penning the now quintessential English language pangram concerning a dog and a fox).[3]  Morley was the son of an apothecary and was born in Hatton Garden, London.[4]  He gained entry to King’s College London in 1838. And following his father’s footsteps became a fellow of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries soon thereafter. Yet a business venture into the art of apothecary (where in times and places the craft is little more than the concoction of placebo potions and snake oil, think for instance of Soho’s now notorious Serpentine Slimming Tea Leaves) resulted in financial failure and to avoid debtor’s prison (think for example of John Cleland, [author of 📙 Fanny Hill {a.k.a., “Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure”}]), he begun writing satirical articles for paid publication. Fortuitously, these essays caught the eye of Charles Dickens. At Dickens’ invitation in 1850, Morley returned to London and became an editor of, and a contributor to, Household Words (one of Dickens’ publications). From 1865 onward, Morley served as professor of English literature at University College London and was noted for his knowledge of English literature and being an engaging and warm teacher (incidentally, one of his doting students was Rabindranath Tagore).[5]  Morley’s principal work was English Writers (composed in ten stupendous volumes from his early UCL days until death). His First Sketch of English Literature—the study for the larger work—is now out of copyright and thus, downloadable below; at only 901 pages, it serves as a brief introduction to his principle voluminous work (i.e., English Writers).

Set out below, in full, is issue № 476 of The Spectator (1711). The original text is identifiable by the dark grey vertical bar, comments by the orange bar. In sum, the essay by Addison describes two modes or forms of essay. One being the formulaic and well-structured variety, the other being of the more meandering and nebulous kind. Some great thinkers are given more free reign and will be forgiven for their verbose and flowery style but they are exceptions to the rule. Like the strictures of poetic meter, academic essays, be they journal articles, reports or essays produced as part of one’s undergraduate studies, will be rigorously straitjacketed. It may be APA, CMS, MLA or some such but within any such convention there will be an abstract, key words will be drawn from a preexisting bank, hypotheses will need to be logically articulated, methods ‘will’ precede results, the background context stroke ‘relevant’ literature review will necessarily cite the already most highly cited works. The analysis following the presentation of the results will be cautious, conditional and replete with caveats. No conclusion will pass peer review or get a pass unless it ends with a call for further research… We were once told that to be able to break the rules — to be a little flowery, to be whimsical in an instance or two, to express what might be without backing it up with cast iron (‘The Rule of D’ ;)) irrefutable fact — may only be done when the rules have first been thoroughly learnt and secondly, evidence of this is documented in a dozen or so texts of a prosaic and somber tenor (I am writing a scholarly article, you, my audience, want only to read a contribution that follows this genre’s tried and tested structure).

The Spectator, № 476

… lucidus Ordo! Hor.

Cui lecta potenter erit res, nec facundia deseret hunc nec lucidus ordo. Lit: “The speaker who has chosen a theme suited to his powers will never be at a loss for felicitous language or lucid arrangement.” A quote from Horace’s The Art of PoetryArs Poetica in its Latin original—(c. 19 B.C.E., lines 39 and 40)]

Friday, September 5. 1712.
 
Among my Daily Papers, which I bestow on the Publick, there are some which are written with Regularity and Method, and others that run out into the Wildness of those Compositions, which go by the Name of Essays. As for the first, I have the whole Scheme of the Discourse in my Mind, before I set Pen to Paper. In the other kind of Writing, it is sufficient that I have several Thoughts on a Subject, without troubling myself to range them in such order, that they may seem to grow out of one another, and be disposed under the proper Heads. Seneca and Montaigne are Patterns for Writing in this last Kind, as Tully and Aristotle excel in the other. When I read an Author of Genius, who writes without Method, I fancy my self in a Wood that abounds with a great many noble Objects, rising among one another in the greatest Confusion and Disorder. When I read a Methodical Discourse, I am in a regular Plantation, and can place my self in its several Centers, so as to take a view of all the Lines and Walks that are struck from them. You may ramble in the one a whole Day together, and every Moment discover something or other that is new to you, but when you have done you will have but a confused imperfect Notion of the Place; in the other, your Eye commands the whole Prospect, and gives you such an Idea of it, as is not easily worn out of the Memory.

Seneca — Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c.4 BC – AD 65) was born in Cordoba but raised in Rome, where he was schooled in rhetoric and philosophy. Seneca’s influence on later generations is said to be immense—during the Renaissance he was “a sage admired and venerated as an oracle of morality, a master of literary style and a model for the composition of dramatic art.[6]
Montaigne — Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533–1592) was a key French Renaissance era philosopher. He is known for developing and setting the parameters of the ‘essay’ as a literary genre. Thus his work and thought very much ties in with Joseph Addison’s essay here. Many of the essays Montaigne produced combined casual anecdotes, autobiography and intellectual insight and often supported the latter with references.[7]
Tully — Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE) was a Roman statesman scholar and academic skeptic. Tully, as Addison affectionately refers to him, is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. Cicero’s extensive writings include treatises on rhetoric, philosophy and politics.[8]
Aristotle — Aristotle (384–322 BCE) was many things to many (wo)men. In terms of writing style, in his “Rhetoric,” he proposes that a speaker (or writer of essays) can use three basic kinds of appeals to persuade his or her audience: (1) ethos (an appeal to the speaker’s character) (2), pathos (an appeal to the audience’s emotion) and (3), logos (an appeal to logical reasoning).[9]

Irregularity and want of Method are only supportable in Men of Great Learning or Genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore chuse [choose] to throw down their pearls in Heaps before the Reader, rather than be at the Pains of stringing them.
 
Method is of Advantage to a Work, both in respect to the Writer and the Reader. In regard to the fist, it is a great help to his Invention. When a Man has plann’d his Discourse, he finds a great many thoughts rising out of every Head, that do not offer themselves upon the general Survey of a Subject. His Thoughts are at the same time more intelligible, and better discover their Drift and Meaning, when they are placed in their proper Lights, and follow one another in a regular Series, than when they are thrown together without Order and Connexion. There is always an Obscurity in Confusion, and the same Sentence that wou’d have enlightened the Reader in one Part of a Discourse, perplexes him in another. For the same Reason likewise every Thought in a Methodical Discourse shews is self in its greatest beauty, as the several Figures in a piece of Painting receive new Grace from their Disposition in the Picture. The Advantages of a Reader from a Methodical Discourse, are correspondent with those of the Writer. He comprehends every thing easily, takes it in with Pleasure, and retains it long.
 
Method is not the less requisite in ordinary Conversation, than in Writing, provided a Man would talk to make himself understood. I, who hear a Thousand Coffee-house Debates every Day, am very sensible of this want of Method in the Thoughts of my honest Countrymen. There is not one Dispute in Ten, which is managed in those Schools of Politicks, where, after the three first Sentences, the Question is not entirely lost. Our Disputants put me in mind of the Skuttle Fish, that when he is unable to extricate himself blackens all the Water about him, till he becomes invisible. The Man who does not know how to methodize his Thoughts, has always, to borrow a phrase from the Dispensary, a barren Superfluity of Words. The Fruit is lost amidst the Exuberance of Leaves.
 
Tom Puzzle is one of the most Emminent Immethodical Disputants of any that has fallen under my Observation. Tom has read enough to make him very Impertinent: His Knowledge is sufficient to raise Doubts, but not to clear them. It is a pity that he has so much Learning, or that he has not a great deal more. With these Qualifications Tom sets up for a Free-thinker, finds a great many things to blame in the Constitution of his Country, and gives shrewd Intimations that he does not believe [in] another World. In short, Puzzle is an Atheist as much as his Parts will give him leave. He has got about half a Dozen runs upon the Unreasonablenss of Bigottry and Priest-craft. This makes Mr. Puzzle the Admiration of all those who have less Sense than himself, and the Contempt of all those who have more. There is none in Town whom Tom dreads so much as my Friend Will Dry. Will, who is acquainted with Tom’s Logick, when he finds him running off the Question, cuts him short with a What then? We allow all this to be true, but what is it to our present Purpose? I have known Tom eloquent half an Hour together, and triumphing, as he thought, in the Superiority of the Argument, when has been non-plus’d, on a sudden, by Mr Dry’s desiring to tell the Company, what it was that he endeavoured to prove. In short, Dry is a Man of a clear methodical Head, but few Words, and gains the same Advantages over Puzzle, that a small Body of regular Troops would gain over a numberless undisciplined militia.

Tom Puzzle — a fictitious character (I’m sure). Emblematic of a writer/essay style that is flowery, nonconformist and where going off-piste is de rigueur. It is a style where sailing willy-nilly off course for no apparent reason is to be expected. A clear purpose and point that draws to a logical conclusion may be partially or even mostly absent.
Will Dry — another character whom I do deeply suspect is a figment of Addison’s creative imagination. Served to us to illustrate a writer/essay style that is more formal and succinct than flowery and verbose and more structured along conventional academic journal article layout lines than free flowing and meandering.

— § —

Notes & Downloads

[1] ^ (return)  Gloriously glamorous

Joseph Addison (1672–1719) was an English essayist. Richard Steele (1672–1729) was an Irish essayist. Both Addison (painted on the left) and Steel (painted on the right) were active politically
With wigs, velvets & silk stockings down to high-heeled boot. It’s Addison and Steele
Joseph Addison (1672–1719) was an English essayist. Richard Steele (1672–1729) was an Irish essayist. Both Addison (painted on the left) and Steel (painted on the right) were active politically and members of the Whig party (a now defunct British political grouping (active between the 1680s and 1850s) which was noted for supporting constitutional monarchism (a strong parliamentary system and no absolute monarchical powers). The Whigs played a central role in what’s now know as the Glorious Revolution of 1688 — the name given to the events leading to the deposition of King James II of England (Reigned: 1685–1688) and his replacement by Mary II (James’ daughter), and her Dutch husband, William III (of Orange) who reigned as England’s King from 1689 to 1702.

 

[2] ^ (return)  “Liquorice allsorts” — Liquorice allsorts are assorted liquorice confectionery sold as a mixture. Made of liquorice, sugar, coconut, aniseed jelly and, fruit flavourings, they were first produced in Sheffield, England, by George Bassett & Co. (1842) Now known simply as Bassett's the brand is owned by Cadbury which itself is now a brand owned by Mondelēz International (headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.). It is said, and I do like this, that in 1899, Charlie Thompson, a Bassett’s sales representative, tripped over and dropped a tray of sample sweets that he was showing to a dashingly handsome client in Leicester, mixing up the various sweets. He frantically scrambled to re-arrange them but, the client was intrigued by the new creation … as a consequence, Bassett's began to mass-produce the allsorts and they became a successful product. "Liquorice allsorts" is also now a phrase used to describe a person who struggles to make decisions and/or to describe someone who is in an altered state of mind (e.g., stoned and reciting random disjointed thoughts) and/or to describe a wide range of e.g., attributes, publications or talents.

 

[3] ^ (return)  Pangram — A pangram (pan- meaning all) is a sentence that contains all of the letters of a given alphabet. In English, this is the most widely cited one: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” This pangram’s popularity is probably due to it being concise and clear. Today it is commonly used, inter alia, for displaying examples of font families on computers.

Foxes and hedgehogs, thinking fast and thinking slow, reasoned vs. impassioned
Thinking fast vs. Thinking slow / Impassioned vs. Reasoned / Foxes vs. hedgehogs.

 

[4] ^ (return)  Hatton Garden — Hatton Garden is a street and commercial area in the Holborn district of central London. It takes its name from Sir Christopher Hatton, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who established a mansion here (long since gone). Today, Hatton Garden is famous as London’s jewellery quarter and is the UK’s diamond trading business. The area has an extensive underground infrastructure of vaults, tunnels, offices and workshops (so more troglodyte than Tiffany’s).

Retirement is a bitch.
Retirement is a bitch. Your wife has passed away. Most of your mates are in exile, prison, or the grave. Even the cops you once eluded have died, retired, or forgotten you. You skulk around your run-down mansion in the suburbs of London, puttering in your garden, infuriating your neighbours by running a used-car dealership out of your home, and “hobbling over to the news agent,” as one neighbour put it, for the daily papers to read about younger men doing what you used to. // Read the full text, “The biggest jewel heist in British history” written for Vanity Fair (2016, March 19), by Mark Seal.

 

[5] ^ (return)  Rabindranath Tagore — Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) was a Bengali poet and writer who was born in Calcutta. He has been variously described as a producer of “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse” and was the first non-European as well as the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. A little know fact that’s well worth knowing is that at the age of sweet sixteen, he released a collection of poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha (“Sun Lion”), these were seized upon by literary authorities as being, beyond reasonable doubt, long-lost classics!

 

[6] ^ (return)  Seneca — Seneca’s prose works include a dozen essays and one hundred twenty-four letters dealing with moral issues. These writings constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for ancient Stoicism. As a tragedian, he is best known for plays like Medea, Thyestes, and Phaedra. In the year 41, he was exiled to the Corsica (under emperor Claudius) but was allowed to return in 49 to become a tutor to Nero. When Nero became emperor in 54, Seneca became his advisor and, together with the praetorian prefect Sextus, provided competent government for the first five years of Nero’s reign. Seneca’s influence over Nero declined with time. In AD 59, Nero ordered the murder of his mother and this was the start of a reign of terror that caused the deaths of many others, including his wife Octavia—Nero basically went radio rentals; became unhinged in extremis. Romans had had enough and, in 65, Seneca was forced to take his own life for alleged complicity in a plot to assassinate Nero (contemporary historians believe with near certainty that he was innocent. His stoic and calm suicide has become the subject of numerous paintings (and lest we forget his wife, who tried in vein to take her life by his side too). With full indebtedness to a write up by Josho Brouwers, we can assume as true the following regarding Seneca’s death. In AD 65, a coup for the decapitating of Nero was in the making. It was led by one Gaius Calpurnius Piso (and is now referred to as “Piso’s plot”). However, this Italian job went pear-shaped pretty quickly. Some of the conspirators were crucified (Judaean-style) but the aristocrats amongst the flock (including Piso himself) were, according to ancient Roman custom, obligated to commit suicide. Seneca — the father of stoicism — was stoic in his acceptance of philosophically accepting that whatever happens/happened is just as it is supposed to be. So upon learning that he would have to take his own life for being part of a plot that he was not, he protested to a reasonable degree but upon learning that Nero’s dead horse had not deemed Seneca’s alibis to be of merit, Seneca stoically accepted his fate. According to Tacticus, a contemporary writer of Seneca’s, the father of stoicism told his dinner guests not to cry and asked again and again, “are your maxims of philosophy, or the preparation of so many years’ study against evils to come? Who knew not Nero’s cruelty? After a mother’s and a brother’s murder, nothing remains but to add the destruction of a guardian and a tutor.” Seneca then turned and embraced his wife, asking her not too grieve too much. But Paulina told him flatly that she, too, had resolved to die. Together, they cut the veins on their arms. However, in the event — which became rather comic — Paulina fainted and was resuscitated by her slaves (it wasn’t Nero’s order for her to die) In the meantime, Seneca was dictating his last words to scribes. As bleeding to death was taking too long, he asked one of his friends to prepare a poison, perhaps inspired by the death of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (who had been condemned to drink hemlock), however, the poison had little effect. He then has the idea of sitting in a nice warm bath as he deduced that this would probably aid the outpouring of blood. As Brouwers write. “Some of the war blood-infused water he sprinkled about, proclaiming it a libation to Jupiter the Liberator. Seneca expired soon afterwards. He was then, according to his wishes, cremated without any of the usual, and often ostentatious, funeral rites.”

 

[7] ^ (return)  Michel de Montaigne — Montaigne’s essays were seen as an important contribution to both writing form and skepticism (the word essay itself comes from the French word essais, meaning “attempts” or “tests.”). His seminal work—The Essays (Essais in its French original) written, redrafted and revised between 1570 and 1592, was published in 1580 (the work’s stated aim was to jot down for posterity, “some traits of [his] character and of [his] humours”)—crafted rhetoric designed to intrigue and sought to involve the reader, sometimes appearing to move in a stream-of-thought from topic to topic and at other times employing a structured style that would give a more emphasis to the didactic nature of his work. The arguments Montaigne put forward were often supported with quotations from Ancient Greek, Latin, and Italian texts e.g., the works of Plutarch. Montaigne, it is shown, had a direct influence on a plethora of Western writers including Francis Bacon, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Edward Gibbon, Woolf, Marx, Sigmund Freud (less so I suspect Lucian Freud), my conformist, not wanting to break the mold, Charles Darwin and my dear anodyne Friedrich Nietzsche.

 

[8] ^ (return)  Cicero — Joseph Addison affectionately called Cicero, ‘Tully’ and I’ll tally that up as: “Tally-ho” (Tally-ho dates from around 1772, and is probably derived from the French ‘taïaut,’ a cry used to excite hounds when hunting deer [and for the British, foxes with the assistance of their English Foxhounds]; it was also used by RAF fighter pilots in the WWII to tell their controller they were about to engage enemy; in addition “Tally-ho” is used to this day by NASA astronauts in audio transmissions to signify sightings of other spacecraft, space stations, and [excitingly] unidentified objects)—and he to did do it (the ending of his life) “old Roman style” (but not quite to the letter as did Seneca [see note 6 ^ above]). Towards the end of his life, Cicero turned away from his oratorical and political career and looked instead to matters of philosophy and religion. The dialogue The Nature of the Gods both explores his own views on these subjects, as a monotheist and member of the Academic School, and considers the opinion of other philosophical schools of the Hellenistic age through the figures of Velleius the Epicurean and Balbus the Stoic: is there a God? If so, does he [sic] answer prayers, or intervene in human affairs? Does he know the future? Does morality need the support of religion? It will come as no surprise that this work of Cicero’s (Tully’s) did deeply influence later thinkers like Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Now . . . “he leaned out […] and offered his neck unmoved, his head was cut off.” Was it that they fervently believed in the afterlife or what? What is it with Rome, Romans and the act of suicide? Offering one’s head ain’t quite taking one’s head but, any way. Porcia Catonis (c. 70 BC – 43 BC) was married to Marcus Junius Brutus (the most famous of Julius Caesar’s assassins) and is said to have had an affectionate nature and an addiction to philosophy. She’s said to have committed suicide and her death remains a fixation for many. Contemporary historians claimed that she did so by swallowing hot coals, yet modern ones see this as implausible and speculate that Porcia may have committed the act by burning charcoal in an unventilated room and passing to the other side by way of carbon monoxide poisoning. Those of all eras pin her perishing to her hearing that her man Brutus had died in battle. True or not, we don’t know. In Rome, suicide was never a general offense in law, and fully approved of what might be termed “patriotic suicide”; death, in other words, as an alternative to dishonor. For the Stoics, to give an example , death was a guarantee of personal freedom and an escape from an unbearable reality that had nothing left to give. According to Roman tradition, the rape of Lucrece (or ‘Lucretia’) by Sextus Tarquin and her subsequent suicide led to the overthrow of the Roman monarchy and the establishment of The Republic (the act was the sparked straw that cracked the camel’s back and acted as the red rag to the masses who’d grown sick ‘n’ tired of the tyrannical traits of Tarquin and his father, the last king [for a time] of Rome). A very definite line was drawn by the Romans between the virtuous suicide and a selfish suicide! Thus — some say — Mark Antony’s stabbing of his own heart due to lost love was seen as a weakness not a stoic act of self-sacrifice.

 

[9] ^ (return)  Aristotle — Aristotle writes in his “Poetics” that epic poetry, tragedy and comedy are all fundamentally acts of mimesis (“imitation”), each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner. It follows that Aristotle believed each of the mimetic arts/types/styles possesses highly structured procedures for the achievement of their purposes. Bidoonism has a full page dedicated to Aristotle and that can be viewed here:  Philosophers    Aristotle.

 

Anodyne — an adjective meaning not likely to cause offence or disagreement and somewhat dull. Origin: mid-16th c. English via Latin from Greek anōdunos ‘painless’, from an- ‘without’ + odunē ‘pain’.

 

Apothecary — a term for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica (medicine) to physicians, surgeons, and patients. The modern chemist (also known as a pharmacist in American English) has now largely taken over this role. Origin: late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin apothecarius, from Latin apotheca, from Greek apothēkē ‘storehouse.’

 

Didactic — an adjective meaning, intending to teach. Origin: mid-17th c. English via from Greek didaktikos, from didaskein ‘teach.’

 

📘 “A first sketch of English literature”
— A lengthy tome penned in 1883 (Editable PDF).

The seas of pity lie/ Locked and frozen in each eye//

foreplay for love


If wild my breast and sore my pride
I bask in dreams of suicide
If cool my heart and high my head
I think, “How lucky are the dead.”


— Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell at their farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1937
Dorothy Parker was very famous in the interwar years for her talent with words. She had, it is said, a stinging repartee and the ability to churn out — at high velocity — endlessly quotable one-liners.
Dorothy Parker
Beneath Dorothy Parker’s sharp wit and acidic humour, was a writer who expressed well the deep vulnerability of a troubled, self-destructive soul who, in the words of philosopher Irwin Edman, was a Sappho who could combine a heartbreak with a wisecrack.”

Susanna Kaysen (1994, p. 48) writes in her memoir that certain hospitals, “had housed many great poets” and wondered if such hospitals specialise in poets, or was it that poets specialised in madness? She went on to ponder, “what is it about meter and cadence and rhythm that makes their makers mad?”

life, y’know, just erupted…


A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.

Kafka wrote,
Sexton quoted,
Auden would’ve approved.


REFERENCES

Kaysen, S. (1993). Girl, interrupted. Private Idaho: Turtle Bay Books.

Parker, D. (2001). The Collected Dorothy Parker. London: Penguin Classics.

toodle pip

There’s a feeling when say the circus leaves town. You walk over the rubbish strewn waste ground that had, until yesterday been bubbling with the hum of humans, scents of glossy candyfloss and a sensation of collective anticipation—to gawp from the stalls at the leotarded trapeze artists, to stare at the caged, dead-eyed lion (would tonight be the night it finally flips and severs the head of the comic compere?) and to see again the star of the show, the wild-eyed clown, comically nicknamed “Commander & Thief” (‘i’ before ‘e,’ accept after ‘c’). The grass is now threadbare in more patches than one, the trees around the periphery of “The Rec” (for recreational ground) have reverted to reclusive and solitary form; no longer serving as impromptu urinals and supports to hold whilst being rogered by Ray or orally relieved by Phil (some idiot had carved out “JH 4 JH” on to one such trunk, the wound had yet to darken). A poster, once pinned erect, vivid, bright and gay, announcing the troupe’s tour dates with your home town’s name in bold (with drop shadow to boot), now lays sodden, soggy and washed out upon the ground (unlike one, it hadn’t become a souvenir and, lovingly encased in laminate, been Blu-tacked upon some child’s boudoir wall). It is emptiness. It is the inner realisation that the thing that had once so dominated your thoughts and attention… no longer exists. Yeah memories remain, but they are, when all is said and done, fictitious little affairs of your own making (whether you know this or not—I mean to say, depending on if you have bothered or not to read up on what lies behind dreams and the machinations of cognition—you and your brain will soon remold and reshape actual happenings into figments utterly removed from what once immutably was). This is that feeling: “I’ve got the feeling, but [I’m] los[ing] the spirit” / /

The hair's a-flare
“The hair’s a-flare”
And yes, objectification is wrong, but did not my man Anderson break with protocol and quip, “the man’s an obese orange turtle on his back, flailing in the hot Arizonan sun”? Two wrongs don’t make a right, my ‘man’ man would say, but come along now my son, the emperor is naked and has long been the arch master in the art of name calling (e.g., [not i.e.] Wild Bill, Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted Cruz and latterly, Crazy Bernie and Sleepy Joe).

Let us not forget either these other performers who all, in their own walk on ways, played pivotal roles in this now concluded tragicomedy circus:

01. — Spicier
02. — Conaway
03. — Huckabee

Don’t walk away in silence
Don’t walk away

NOTES

The Daily Star… telling it as it is.
🔥|Fact|😉
“Truth isn’t truth.”
Fiction (as in: make believe)
Us (u ‘n’ i) vs. “The world.”

“Long Live Love”

— a monument to now

“*Listen* To Me”


I begun the day in a wistful way—
Your loquaciousness
is so very precious
Ur mind’s delicious
– – – – – – – – –
Despite all this adversity
this ever so harsh reality
& De Profundis’ centrality
– – – – – – – –
You dominate my mind totally
Visions of you so consume me
My constant motif is but you

—but t’was fleeting and soon faded away
. . . . . . .
So listen to me now and do not say,
or utter, a single ‘fucking’ word.
I’ll speak from where they say,
reason does not dare descend.
. . . . . .
Oh for the hands they are a telling,
they are tolling for last orders.
Ignore this play with wording,
it’s just sum wit rejoinders.
. . . . .
Because you do know me and I so know you,
let’s send to hell this thing called reason.
Let all caution be exiled to Timbuktu,
sense!? Let it sing to the horizon.
. . . .
Hear the heart drown out the head,
let reason go, let it sail to a vortex,
Quick to silver, subside to sand,
let it quarry a swirl of Semtex:
. . .
East lays laden with forbidden fruits of Eden;
Shades of purple, orange ‘n’ London-grey;
The road must now be undertaken for
Xanadu opens with a vision of jay.
. .
I know but one deep immutable truth,
you r my singular fountain of youth
.
send me by strive, your kiss of life.

I do know well the Greek modes of love /
I do know my station on their Dionysian-derived cline // oft depicted as a triangle (△) encircled in psychology journals:

“Greek Love”
— Humankind’s attempts to classify love /lʌv/ (the four-lettered word that conquers all else) starting with Sappho.

It’s out there (my station), I am an outlier. I’m now well beyond the pale, o loved one, I’m upon the opposite side of the river from the legions of righteous ones. I read it said that I’d be labeled a serial sinner (you know, condemned as a renegade reprobate). Myth and make believe — the tract I refer to — is though, but a form of statecraft (a claim that would once have been enough to see me be tethered to a stake and to feel the pain of the flame lick and lash at my naked floundering feet, see: 📙 “Hammer of Witches”). Myth and make believe (our “mumbo-jumbo,” jay) are the modus operandi for…, the mode to use when…, concocting statecraft. You see, statecraft is penned patronage. It is paid patronage for the poets and prose makers that write (well) what their paymasters want to be read and remembered. History is verily the victor’s diktat. (What that we are informed is seminal and pivotal, gospel and sacrosanct, the scripts and texts, the tracts and tomes that underpin our understanding, define our being and determine the circumference confines of our culture and civilisation, are what yesteryear’s men of good fortune decided they liked, determined should not be burnt and declared be deemed divine: “Praise You ma’Love.” The anthologies and authoritative lists are set in stone albeit of age-old codex form [more pulpwood cedar ‘n’ larch then than igneous granite {graveyard-grade} ‘n’ sedimentary clay {desert-baked}]. Diligently now, they are being scanned and transcribed to reside in digital form [with audio to boot]. Electronic egalitarianism yes! [1]  But, a further consolidation of what is and what isn’t canonical. Shibboleth — that’s the name given to the centurion gatekeeper who’s older than Rome and Athens — goes back, and I can painfully attest to this, to the bubbling springs of Babylon and the torrential downpours of Uruq. I mean — mouth the following ‘K.R.-style’ — “Come On” Dear reader!” Do we really believe that the carver of the Löwenmensch figurine — a lion-cum-human hewn from a woolly mammoth’s tusk — was anything other than a man; gifted with gold, or the like, by the then chieftain whose Machiavellian right-hand man had deduced that if the clan were to willingly waste there time worshiping an idol, they’d be less likely to question hereditary hierarchy and more likely to conduct their affairs in an opiated kind of way [pay your taxes, your dues to Caesar, do it faithfully, do it obediently for, who are we {who were they?} to hold the powers that be to account? we accept you had to rape and pillage the village in order to teach, you had to kill to save, war is peace, let man control woman in matrimony {thus he’ll not hit back at his master but instead wallop his wife when he gets home} and six + nine is no more or no less that fifteen on the clock {Look for the numbers, it is all about the numbers, not around the numbers, but into the numbers. seven has been found to be divine ((but only if read in ancient Hebrew form [[the power and the divinity is lost in translation]] for in that script, in Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning, …” — we will note that the number seven is written all over it [[(1) there are seven words in this opening verse (2), there’s 28 letters in total {{divisible by seven}} (3), the first three words have 14 letters {{divisible by seven}}, (4) the last four words have 14 letters too {{divisible by seven}} (5), the words: God, heaven, and earth also add up to 14 letters {{divisible by seven}} (6), the remaining words add up to 14 letters as well and (7) the middle word in Genesis 1:1 — when written I reiterate, emphasis and underscore, in ancient Hebrew form — is the shortest, with two letters, but, ‘but,’ the words to the right and left of it have 5 letters each so, combining with either would give us seven too {{proof positive of the almighty one, no? irrefutable evidence of The Invisible Hand or — dare we utter an or… or evidence that wordsmiths have been at play, crafting away, for several millennia or more? (((it is a known known that the good scriptures, while filled themselves with numerical patterns — hidden meanings — expressly forbade us, those made of clay, to dabble in such pursuits; to quote Deutronomy 18:10–12: “Let no one be found among you who … practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable.”)))}}.]])) seven is heaven — oh yes! It rhymes, but what of the sinuous serpentine six? and it’s naughty partner in crime: number nine? ((On six: In Revelation 13:18, the number of the Beast is written with the Greek symbols for 600 and 60 and 6. On nine: This number is related to the number six, being the sum of its factors — 3×3=9, and 3+3=6 — it also purported to be the number of finality and/or judgment; you see, it was in the 9th year of Hosea’s supremacy that the King of Assyria destroyed the northern capital city of the Israelites and too, it was the the 9th year of King Zedekiah’s reign that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, conquered the southern city of the Israelites.))}.].) And, to the unforgiving wilderness of solitude and exiled abstinence that I face on this side of the river’s bank, I say unto you: I know well the lines of “De Profundis” for recently, I’ve poured over them again and again. I hear it has a word count of circa 50,000 but this wasn’t noticed by I. I was, you see, carried away by the assonance (imagined) and the associations… the adages and the aphorisms… the allegories and the allegations:


Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.

I, ____, take you, ______, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death DO us part:

📘 “De Profundis”
— analysis, audio & book in HTML/PDF formats.

Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan (1630) by Diego Velázquez
Baroque | Camp | “Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan” by Velázquez (1599–1660) (1630) — Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter and the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. Velázquez’s artwork became a model for 19th c. realist and impressionist painters and, in the 20th century, artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Francis Bacon paid tribute to Velázquez by re-interpreting some of his most iconic images.

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NOTES

[1]   Suffice to set out here — from the surfeit that’s out there free of charge — are the following six (I show no fear & no favour in their selection):
1. — ancient-literature.com
2. — archive.org
3. — classics.mit.edu
3. — gutenberg.net.au
4. — gutenberg.org
5. — sacred-texts.com