1. "Let’s read some little bit of King Lear.”

    (Source: Spotify)

  3. grandhotelabyss:

    if you think The Western Canon is a conservative book, you haven’t read it; Bloom’s argument, with which I have some sneaking sympathy, is that Marxism and its materialist offshoots are the real conservatism …

  4. … I would also like to suggest a different kind of continuity between de Man’s mode of operation as a literary theorist and his mode of operation as a con man. It has to do with his style. In his writing, abstruseness, bristling abstraction, and a disorienting use of terms make his essays often difficult to penetrate. This was part of the key to his success: to his American admirers, with their cultural inferiority complex, it seemed that if things were difficult to grasp, something profound was being said.
       De Man became famous for his “rigor,” but in fact his treatment of concepts is often highly dubious and the terms he conjures are decidedly questionable. It is also now widely recognized that he frequently played fast and loose with the texts he discussed, misquoting, inventing quotations, and mistranslating. The British Renaissance scholar Brian Vickers has demonstrated in a trenchant article that de Man, discussing Rousseau, at one point inserts a ne absent in the French, thus converting a positive assertion by Rousseau into a negative one that suits his own purposes. Again, as Vickers shows, de Man emphatically claims that “rhetoric” in Nietzsche has nothing to do with persuasion whereas Nietzsche repeatedly says the opposite. In fact, de Man uses such terms as “rhetoric,” “allegory,” “metaphor,” and “trope” in ways that no one before him had used them, for good reasons, and in this way he conveys to his readers the illusory sense that they are somehow participating in an intellectual breakthrough. This strategy is combined with an inclination to aphoristic formulations that have the ring of authoritative truth but not its content. Thus, in an essay on Proust and reading, he instructs us that “narrative is the metaphor of the moment, as reading is the metaphor of writing.” This might at first sound profound, but the more you think about it, the more it dissolves into nonsense, with “metaphor” proving to be meaningless. And from the same essay: “This connection between metaphor and guilt is one of the recurrent themes of autobiographical fiction.” 
When you contemplate all the autobiographical fictions that are neither driven by guilt nor much concerned with metaphor, the resonant proclamation about “one of the great themes of autobiographical fiction” collapses.
       … He got away with it because of the gullibility of American scholars, their confused sense that they needed a guide, preferably European, who could show them how to break the chains of convention and think deep thoughts. What they actually were doing was replacing old terms and concepts with spurious new ones, and embracing a new conventionality underwritten by the rampant conformism of 
the academic world.
    —Robert Alter, “Paul de Man Was a Total Fraud [Review of Evelyn Barish’s The Double Life of Paul de Man],” The New Republic (5 April 2014)

  5.    Interviewer: Has being an American poet given you a different perspective on that and maybe even been an advantage?
       Fagles: I think it’s been an advantage. We are more agile in climbing off our high horse than some other practitioners of English. We like a full run in tone from the high to the low. Robert Frost might even be, I think, what you call a tutelary spirit. There are many things in Frost that come to an American Homerist’s aid. One is his bluntness. That does well for the Iliad, I think. His kind of earthy, ironic savvy has a lot to do with the pastoral parts of the Odyssey, especially with the long powwows between Odysseus and the pigkeeper. When we’re writing well and talking well, there are parts of American speech that are rough and ready on the one hand, “high, wide, and handsome” on the other—strong with a kind of burly courtesy. When I think of those American tones and turns of speech, I think they might serve Homer rather well.
       Interviewer: For me that’s been one of the freshest and most daring elements of your translation—the refracting of Homer through American voices and, in some ways, the jettisoning of Shakespeare, whose echoes are so strong in other translations, especially Fitzgerald’s.
       Fagles: I tried, in fact, to stay away from Shakespeare. The Shakespearean gesture might be too literary, stilted, too “poetic.” Homer is more down-to-earth than that. I’d like to persuade a reader that Homer is not a writer, strange as that may sound. There’s something paradoxical about reading Homer in a book. He’s meant to be heard—performed, not savored in your brown study, where you can mull over the same passage time and again. Nothing should get in the way of Homer’s immediacy, his headlong pace.
    Interviewer: On the other hand, has the lack of tradition in American poetry as public speech been a hindrance?
       Fagles: There’s probably no tradition of public speech as poetry, but there’s a lot of public speech in this country that verges on poetry. I’m thinking of Lincoln, of course, and Frederick Douglass too, and all the voices resonating throughout Ken Burns’s Civil War. We’re not short on a commanding kind of oratory. I think again of Oliver Wendell Holmes.
    —Robert Fagles, “The Art of Translation, No. 2,” Paris Review (1999)

  6.    We live in a strange county: we do not elect our head of state; we do not elect the second Chamber. We elect only this House, and even in this House enormous power is vested in the prerogatives. The Prime Minister can go to war without consulting us, sign treaties without consulting us, agree to laws in Brussels without consulting us, and appoint bishops, peers and judges without consulting us. The role of the Speaker today compared with that of Mr. Speaker Lenthall is that you, Mr. Speaker, are protecting us from the triple powers of Buckingham Palace, the Millbank Tower and Central Office, which, in combination, represent as serious a challenge to our role.
       Then there is the link between the Commons and the people. I have seen many schoolchildren taken around the House, and have talked to some of them about how it has been a home of democracy for hundreds of years. In 1832, only 2 per cent of the population had the vote. That may seem a long time ago, but it was only eighteen years before my grandfather was born. When I was born, women were not allowed the vote until they were thirty. Democracy—input from the people—is very, very new. The link between popular consent and the decision of the House can be tenuous.
       Furthermore, nowadays, Parliament representing the will of the people has to cope with many extra-parliamentary forces—very threatening extra-parliamentary forces. I refer not to demonstrations, but to the power of the media, the power of the multinationals, the power of Brussels and the power of the World Trade Organization—all wholly unelected people.
       The House will forgive me for quoting myself, but in the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person—Adolf Hitler, Jose Stalin or Bill Gates—ask them five questions: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.
    —Tony Benn, Dare to Be a Daniel: Then and Now (2004)

  7. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob.
    —G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908)

  8. justinc79 asked: Si, I've seen you post several times of your Pre-work out warm up, followed by your climbing warm up of a good number of routes as well as exercises and stretches for injury prevention. All of which has kept your injury free and crushing. Care to elaborate on what your warm ups and injury prevention exercises and stretches consist of. I have been reading, researching, and talking to other climbing friends about their routines and rituals and would love to hear from a pro such as yourself


    My off the wall warm up varies with jumping-jacks, push-ups, lunge walks, shoulder circles,tricep bench dips, and plank holds are some of the exercises I do.  I then begin climbing on super easy bouldering problems.  Next I rest 5-10 minutes and start whatever my workout is for that day.

    For finger injury prevention I do a variety of rubber band exercises (basically putting rubber bands around opposing fingers and pulling them apart) and the rice bucket (sticking my fist in the bucket and opening my fingers). 

    Good luck!

  9. woodsaddle:

    He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them.

    -2 Kings 21:3

  10. Then the Æsir were close by and killed giant Thiassi within the As-gates, and this killing is greatly reknowned.
       But Skadi, daughter of giant Thiassi, took helmet and mail-coat and all weapons of war and went to Asgard to avenge her father. But the Æsir offered her atonement and compensation, the first item of which was that she was to choose herself a husband out of the Æsir and choose by the feet and see nothing else of them. Then she saw one person’s feet that were exceptionally beautiful and said:
       “I choose that one; there can be little that is ugly about Baldr.”
       But it was Niord of Noatun.
       It was also in her terms of settlement that the Æsir were to do something that she thought they would not be able to do, that was to make her laugh. Then Loki did as follows: he tied a cord round the beard of a certain nanny-goat and the other end round his testicles, and they drew each other back and forth and both squealed loudly. Then Loki let himself drop into Skadi’s lap, and she laughed. Then the atonement with her on the part of the Æsir was complete.
    —Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda (trans. Anthony Faulkes; 1987)