Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Milton's death mask and there was a lot of reminiscing and some reading-out of The Night Climbers of Cambridge which is coming back into print at last and which is an honest-to-goodness guide to climbing, for sport, the rooftops of Cambridge (essentially, it's parkour, 1930s style). I especially like the bit about pausing in a saintless niche, above King's, to imagine a stone halo on your head. And the warning against night climbing drunk, quickly followed by the admission that one famed night climber climbs best when he (the climbers are all men—this is 1937) is two-thirds drunk. Not having stopped at, quite, two-thirds, I woke the next morning to chapel bells and a roaring hangover, which I set out to defeat by stomping around the silent early-morning streets. And in fact the most achingly nostalgic bit of the whole weekend was that hour or so, ambling about, slightly vague and groggy, and coming upon The Playroom where I did my first play. Unbelievably long ago. As I took this picture, I could hear rehearsals going on inside and it was all I could do to stop myself knocking on the door and asking to join in.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Friday, 22 March 2013
Thursday, 14 February 2013
brand new, gorgeous Library of America edition, edited by Caroline Fraser, is in this week's TLS) was when Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband proposed, he said he'd build them a house but "It will have to be a little house. Do you mind?" She replied, "I have always lived in little houses. I like them." Oh my. Happy Valentine's, all.
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
This is Emily Brontë's watercolour of her pet merlin hawk, Hero. As wild and strange as she was. She rescued him from an abandoned nest on the moors and in her poem, "The Caged Bird" she identifies with him "like myself alone, wholly alone", wishing to return to "Earth's breezy hills and heaven's blue sea":
Could my hands unlock the chain
How gladly would I watch it soar
And never regret, and never complain
To see its shining eyes no more.
Back from Brussels in November 1842, she noted in her diary, "lost the hawk Hero, which, with the geese, was given away, and is doubtless dead...I inquired on all hands and could hear nothing of him."
Hero also appears in Anne Carson's dazzling “The Glass Essay”. Visiting her mother in Yorkshire,
Her tiny sharp shoulder hunched in the blue bathrobe
made me think of Emily Brontë's little merlin hawk Hero
that she fed bits of bacon at the kitchen table when Charlotte wasn't around.
I don't know if it's true. And he may have been called Nero; no one can read Emily’s handwriting. But this watercolour fell out of my copy of Wuthering Heights this morning and I can't stop looking at it.