Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home, by Abigail Williams


"It is a sign of the burgeoning orality of reading that recitation culture had become so widespread that it threatened to render its central texts meaningless."

From Chapter 6. Drama and Recitation, Plays in Parts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Red King

Daily Dose

From Our Village, by Mary Russell Mitford


"The generosity of the poor is always a very real and fine thing; they give what they want..."

From Hannah

Monday, July 17, 2017

White Queen

Daily Dose

From The Funny Side: One Hundred Humorous Poems, by Wendy Cope


There's not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That's easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven't finished yet —
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Red Queen

Daily Dose

From The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy


"All the shallower ponds had decreased to a vaporous mud amid which the maggoty shapes of innumerable obscure creatures could be indistinctly seen, heaving and wallowing with enjoyment."

From Book Fourth, Chapter IV

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Crocodile Tears

Daily Dose

From The Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton


"So it went on, obtusely and persistently, whenever he tried to sound the note of prudence."

From Chapter XII

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oil Slick

Daily Dose

From Adam Bede, by George Eliot


"That is the great advantage of dialogue on horseback; it can be merged any minute into a trot or a canter, and one might have escaped from Socrates himself in the saddle."

From Chapter 9, Hetty's World

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Up In Smoke

Daily Dose

From Lyrical and Critical Essays, by Albert Camus, translated Ellen Conroy Kennedy


"... people are indignant at such serenity."

From Encounters with Andre Gide

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dumpty on the Beach

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


IN torrid heats of late July,
In March, beneath the bitter bise,
He book-hunts while the loungers fly,
He book-hunts, though December freeze;
In breeches baggy at the knees,
And heedless of the public jeers,
For these, for these, he hoards his fees,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

No dismal stall escapes his eye,
He turns o’er tomes of low degrees,
There soiled romanticists may lie,
Or Restoration comedies;
Each tract that flutters in the breeze
For him is charged with hopes and fears,
In mouldy novels fancy sees
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

With restless eyes that peer and spy,
Sad eyes that heed not skies nor trees,
In dismal nooks he loves to pry,
Whose motto evermore is Spes!
But ah! the fabled treasure flees;
Grown rarer with the fleeting years,
In rich men’s shelves they take their ease,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs!


Prince, all the things that tease and please,—
Fame, hope, wealth, kisses, cheers, and tears,
What are they but such toys as these,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't Know Jack

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


Dead--he is dead! The rouge has left a trace
On that thin cheek where shone, perchance, a tear,
Even while the people laughed that held him dear
But yesterday. He died,--and not in grace,
And many a black-robed caitiff starts apace
To slander him whose Tartuffe made them fear,
And gold must win a passage for his bier,
And bribe the crowd that guards his resting-place.

Ah, Moliere, for that last time of all,
Man's hatred broke upon thee, and went by,
And did but make more fair thy funeral.
Though in the dark they hid thee stealthily,
Thy coffin had the cope of night for pall,
For torch, the stars along the windy sky!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


While others are asking for beauty or fame,
Or praying to know that for which they should pray,
Or courting Queen Venus, that affable dame,
Or chasing the Muses the weary and grey,
The sage has found out a more excellent way -
To Pan and to Pallas his incense he showers,
And his humble petition puts up day by day,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Inventors may bow to the God that is lame,
And crave from the fire on his stithy a ray;
Philosophers kneel to the God without name,
Like the people of Athens, agnostics are they;
The hunter a fawn to Diana will slay,
The maiden wild roses will wreathe for the Hours;
But the wise man will ask, ere libation he pay,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Oh! grant me a life without pleasure or blame
(As mortals count pleasure who rush through their day
With a speed to which that of the tempest is tame)!
O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
And I'd leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.


Gods, grant or withhold it; your 'yea' and your 'nay'
Are immutable, heedless of outcry of ours:
But life IS worth living, and here we would stay
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Seat at the Table

Daily Dose

From Selected Letters, by Horace Walpole


"To their tribunes it speaks daggers; though, unlike them, it uses none."

From Letter # 177, to Mary Berry, Park Place, 8 November 1790.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Dormouse

Daily Dose

From The Poems of Walter Savage Landor


 In spring and summer winds may blow,
And rains fall after, hard and fast;
The tender leaves, if beaten low,
Shine but the more for shower and blast

But when their fated hour arrives,
When reapers long have left the field,
When maidens rifle turn'd-up hives,
And their last juice fresh apples yield,

A leaf perhaps may still remain
Upon some solitary tree,
Spite of the wind and of the rain . . .
A thing you heed not if you see.

At last it falls. Who cares? Not one:
And yet no power on earth can ever
Replace the fallen leaf upon
Its spray, so easy to dissever.

If such be love, I dare not say.
Friendship is such, too well I know:
I have enjoyed my summer day;
'Tis past; my leaf now lies below.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Alice and the Pig Baby

Daily Dose

From United State: Essays 1952 - 1992, by Gore Vidal


"Today one is never quite certain why memoirists are so eager to tell us what they do in bed.  Unless the autobiographer has a case to be argued, I suspect that future readers will skip those sexual details that our writers have so generously shared with us in order to get to the gossip and the jokes."

From Edmund Wilson: This Critic and This Gin and These Shoes

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Daily Dose

From Gorgias, by Plato, translated by Walter Hamilton


"Such is your inability to oppose the wishes and statements of those you love that, if surprise were expressed at the strangeness of the things which from time to time they cause you to say, you would probably answer, if you wanted to be truthful, that unless your loves can be stopped from saying these things you will not stop talking as you do."

From 482

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MAD As A...

Daily Dose

From Four Quartets, by T. S. Eliot


"So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it..."

From East Coker, Part V

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Thew Old White Knight

Daily Dose

From Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck


"No one has studied the psychology of a dying party.  It may bev raging, howling, boiling, and then a fever sets in and a little silence and then quickly quickly it is gone, the guests go home or go to sleep or wander away to some other affair asnd they leave a dead body."

From Chapter 20

Monday, July 3, 2017

Drawling, Stretching and Fainting in Coils

Daily Dose

From Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, by Andrew Solomon


"Prodigies are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act; there is no federal mandate for gifted education."

From Chapter VIII, Prodigies

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Duchess

Daily Dose

From The Key, by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Howard Hibbett


"Trying to decide the meaning of what happened last night has been an acute but frightening joy."

From March 19

Saturday, July 1, 2017

"It Really doesn't matter, does it?"

I'm Late!

Daily Dose

From The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass, translated by Breon Mitchell


"'What's your name?'

This question was bound ton come up.  It lay in the very nature of the encounter.  Answering thast question provides the substance of entire plays, both short and long, as well as whole operas -- see Lohengrin."

From The Dusters