Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Long Grass

Long grass is everywhere this year.  Not sure whether this is because everyone has taken an ecological turn, or because all the gardeners and groundsmen have been laid off.  




It's too hot.  I'm re-reading The Wasp Factory, after 30 years -- re-reading is something I rarely do -- and realising how little of what I have read I retain in my conscious mind.  I suppose it's all in there somewhere, but it's as if I had never read the book before.  Which is fine:  perhaps I'll stop buying new books and simply start all over again with the same ones...

8 comments:

Rob Fuke said...

Virginia Woolf reckoned that if you read books once, you're doomed to read the same book forever. I've never really got on with her personally, but just thought I'd point it out.
There's a great short story by Patrick Süskind (he of 'Perfume' fame), about how you retain very little of what you read. Personally, I haven't a clue after about three weeks, but while I can remember, would thoroughly recommend "How to live' - a life of Montaigne, by Sarah Bakewell, which I finished yesterday on the train up to Paris. Apart from anything else, I now know what 'ataraxia' is; something which I accept with stoicism.
Happy Bastille Day,
Rob.

eeyorn said...

I took many of my books out with me when I went to live in Bulgaria, and happily reread many of them. We had very little access to English language books, mind.

Mike C. said...

Rob,

Montaigne is having a "moment", currently, it seems. I've been giving copies of the Sarah Bakewell book as birthday presents for the past year -- it is an excellent book. I visited Montaigne's tower a few years ago, and felt a real connection, in a way you don't usually in such places. It's well worth a visit, if you're ever up near Bordeaux.

Ataraxia... Yes, that Epicurian philosophy is the business, n'est-ce pas?

Mike

Rob Fuke said...

Didn't know that Montaigne is having a moment, but I suppose he always has here. Millie got the book after talking to a French teacher friend. We've now downloaded the Essays on the iPad, but they are in the original 16th Century French, which is a bit daunting. Will probably go with a new French version.
Loved the idea that Francis Bacon's brother passed Shakespeare a few lines for the 'Tempest.'

Mike C. said...

Rob,

Yes, "Montaigne as the original blogger" is the thrust over here.

There are perfectly good English translations available, obviously -- the one that Shakespeare would have read was John Florio's. There was an interesting article in this weekend's Guardian suggesting that

1. Florio may have edited the First Folio
2. Florio was lampooned by WS as a bit of a prat (e.g. Osric in Hamlet) and therefore
3. edited out some unflattering bits and edited in some of his own preferred wordings.

Mike

Mike C. said...

You can read it here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jul/12/who-edited-shakespeare-john-florio

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Every time I hear mention of Montaigne I resolve to get a copy of the Essays. In fact I think the last time was perhaps a couple of years ago when I attended the recording of an episode of The Museum of Curiosity where Sarah Bakewell was one of the guests and contributed some Montaigne-related item (or concept):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sj6ts

PS I think you know when my birthday is, Mike

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Yes, well-worth getting hold of a selection, though it may take a while to adjust to the language and the intrusive quotes from classical authors (many of his favourites are still painted on the ceiling and rafters of his tower study-room).

Mike