Sunday, September 04, 2005

Lazy Sunday

Colm Toibin reviews a new biography on the critic Edmund Wilson. He seems to like it well enough, though says it isn't for everyone. The TLS reviewed the book a couple weeks ago (not available online) and also had good words to say about it. I must admit that I have heard of Edmund Wilson but have not read him. Though after reading the reviews I might have to peruse some of his criticism. And while you are visiting the Times, be sure to read, just in time for back to school, the essay on Allan Bloom. I never read Closing of the American Mind, but I do remember, being in college at the time, that the book brought the whole canon wars out into the open. I had a few English survey classes taught by male professors who were formerly in the military and they whole-heartedly believed there should be a strict canon. On the other side of the debate were the female professors who taught feminist literature and literature by writers of color who groused that the canon was made up of dead white men. Has anybody won this battle yet or has a truce been called? I didn't get much read yesterday in spite of it being a perfect day and night of nearly continuos thunderstorms. My dog is afraid of thunder and so I spent quite a bit of time dealing with his nearly continuous barking. He finally exhausted himself last night around 9:30 but by that time I was exhausted too. I did read about 30 pages of Don Quixote and as a result, learned a new word: Eructate. It isn't in my dictionary, but according to the great Don, it is Latin and means to belch. I also got to enjoy DQ's lecture to Sancho on the eve of Sancho leaving for his governorship. So Sancho doesn't get to big for his britches, DQ starts of by telling him:

You, who in my opinion are undoubtedly a dolt, and who, without rising early or staying up late or making any effort whatsoever, with nothing more than the breath of knight errantry that has touched you, without further ado find yourself governor of an insula as if it were of no consequence. I say all this, O Sancho, so that you do not attribute the kindness you have received to your own merits, but give thanks first to heaven for disposing matters so sweetly, and then to the greatness that lies in the profession of knight errantry.
I think our heroic knight is a little jealous but at the same time attempting to be wise and fatherly because then he proceeds to give Sancho some advice on how to be a good governor. And after Sancho leaves, poor Don Quixote finds that he misses his squire and mopes his way through dinner. Poor guy.