Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Caliginous

From the queen, Dooce.com, an excerpt from her post 7/28 about pregnancy with her second child:
...here's where we take a moment of silence to honor Jon and what he had to endure for the following nine months as he basically lived with two pregnant women. Double the complaining and bitching and neurotic pacing over the weight gain. Seriously, how do polygamists do it? I mean, at least Jon could drink. Polygamists not only do it willingly, THEY DO IT SOBER.
This reveals Heather's Utah roots of course. Just to be pedantic I will assert that in the history of the world there have been simultaneous pregnancies in a polygamist household that did indeed include husbandly drinking.

Reading update. Finished Inkheart last night, in case we talk about it at my next book group meeting. It was long. I would have liked it as a young person. And I liked it pretty well, esp. the ending. But long, people, all 528 some odd pages of it. Finished (to my own satisfaction) Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves. I started this when I chanced upon the following quote, which was whipped out in Language Hat's comments:
Professor Edgeworth, of All Souls', avoided conversational English, persistently using words and phrases that one expects to meet only in books. One evening, Lawrence returned from a visit to London, and Edgeworth met him at the gate. "Was it very caliginous in the Metropolis?" "Somewhat caliginous, but not altogether inspissated", Lawrence replied gravely.

—Robert Graves, Good-Bye to All That, p. 372.

I just couldn't resist. (Part of the appeal being that I didn't know either of those words. Instead of referring to heat as I guessed, they refer to darkness and obscurity.) (Oh and that's T.E. Lawrence replying there. Lots of lovely English letters name dropping.) I enjoyed the beginning and end of the book. But I found myself skipping over the meat of the book, which is Graves' WWI personal history. "Reminiscences" is what I wrote first but that word has a warm and comfy glow inappropriate to his stories of death and extremity. He was shell shocked after the war and found that he had waking dreams (flashbacks) of scenes from his first four months of combat. No intrusive memories of his service after those first four months. After that time he says, my imagination must have given up.

Still reading Persuasion. We're in Bath now and cousin Mr. Elliot's hard-hearted scheming has been revealed by Anne's invalid friend. Oh I see I'm almost at the end. It's lovely but I'm still wrassling with what the word persuasion means. The more I think about it, the more slippery it gets. This book has renewed my desire to visit Portsmouth and Lyme and the coasts there. Fossils and British naval history, what more could one want? Onward in my Austen revels! I have worked from least appealing to most appealing on purpose. Though MP was the only slog and even that provided much food for thought. Which #&# will I choose to go on with? Probably Pride and Prejudice as I've watched S&S recently and want to end up with that one.

My mother-in-law is en route from Austin. We expect her tomorrow night. She's here to help us out by enjoying her granddaughters during their last week of summer with no preschool or school substitutes. It will be good to see her. Not sure whether we'll talk about our latest money troubles or not.

1 comment:

Bee said...

I've never been to Portsmouth, even though it's not terribly far from us. I have been to Lyme Regis and the famous "Cobb" -- but will happily go again should you ever visit England and want company!

I do think that Persuasion gets more and more slippery -- as do "Sense" and "Sensibility" in that novel.

I've never even heard of caliginous and that other one. I feel that you and I are fairly well-educated for our time, age and nationality, but it probably doesn't compare to the classical education of old, does it?