Serpentine

found here; cited as:

Th. Von RINGOLTINGEN/ die Geshichte der scöne MelusineNüremberg, Nat. Mus. Ms 4028

I used to find something every day that I wish I were studying or could spend a few blissful months researching and learning. I now find something like that once every two weeks or so, but the feeling is still there--the desire to be always learning.

New mythologies and legends are most likely to have this effect on me. When I was reading A.S. Byatt's Possession a year or two ago, I discovered the myth of Melusine. The story, is integral to the factual plot of the novel, as well as being key in the development of the secrecy/deception theme of the book. (If you're unfamiliar with it, wikipedia
is always there to help). I quickly snatched up all of the books on this myth, plus some on Breton, Ys, and a few children's renditions, for good measure. But I was never able to really explore any of it. (I think I was also in the middle of Euclid, Leibniz, and an in-progress exploration of C.S. Lewis).

But these exciting-yet-discarded projects are starting to depress me a little. I have all sorts of journal marginalia with hasty ideas:

"Peeperkorn & Dionysus/Delphic oracle's Python

...need to read more"

or

"Babel; Borges & Pierre Menard;

cabalists and the name of God"

But the one I'd most like to pursue looks something like:

"La Cathédrale Engloutie; Ys & Secrecy;

Melusine; destruction and preservation"

It's just too easy to get sidetracked or diverted, and too difficult to actually get started on a new learning project. I wish it were otherwise, but I often need a group or an assignment to keep me motivated, and without the ease of the academic environment, those appreciated spurs are hard to find.

Serpentine

found here; cited as:

Th. Von RINGOLTINGEN/ die Geshichte der scöne MelusineNüremberg, Nat. Mus. Ms 4028

I used to find something every day that I wish I were studying or could spend a few blissful months researching and learning. I now find something like that once every two weeks or so, but the feeling is still there--the desire to be always learning.

New mythologies and legends are most likely to have this effect on me. When I was reading A.S. Byatt's Possession a year or two ago, I discovered the myth of Melusine. The story, is integral to the factual plot of the novel, as well as being key in the development of the secrecy/deception theme of the book. (If you're unfamiliar with it, wikipedia
is always there to help). I quickly snatched up all of the books on this myth, plus some on Breton, Ys, and a few children's renditions, for good measure. But I was never able to really explore any of it. (I think I was also in the middle of Euclid, Leibniz, and an in-progress exploration of C.S. Lewis).

But these exciting-yet-discarded projects are starting to depress me a little. I have all sorts of journal marginalia with hasty ideas:

"Peeperkorn & Dionysus/Delphic oracle's Python

...need to read more"

or

"Babel; Borges & Pierre Menard;

cabalists and the name of God"

But the one I'd most like to pursue looks something like:

"La Cathédrale Engloutie; Ys & Secrecy;

Melusine; destruction and preservation"

It's just too easy to get sidetracked or diverted, and too difficult to actually get started on a new learning project. I wish it were otherwise, but I often need a group or an assignment to keep me motivated, and without the ease of the academic environment, those appreciated spurs are hard to find.

Null

Rogier van der Weyden - Portrait of a Lady

[Redacted for excessive self-indulgence and verbosity]


Now I can breathe a bit easier.

I hope it will be warm enough for a long walk tomorrow, it's much-needed. A long walk, a long talk, and a lot of sleep. And some tomato soup. And no more biting of the nails.

Maybe Villette... rain-washed outbursts and stifled passion is right up my alley.

Have a lovely weekend!

Null

Rogier van der Weyden - Portrait of a Lady

[Redacted for excessive self-indulgence and verbosity]


Now I can breathe a bit easier.

I hope it will be warm enough for a long walk tomorrow, it's much-needed. A long walk, a long talk, and a lot of sleep. And some tomato soup. And no more biting of the nails.

Maybe Villette... rain-washed outbursts and stifled passion is right up my alley.

Have a lovely weekend!

On the Horizon

J. S. Sargent: Venice par temps gris

from this excellent and comprehensive online gallery of his works

While this blog continues to grow threadbare (accurately reflecting my mind at the moment), I thought I would pose a few questions to any readers who have already begin the process of PhD programs. I am going to be applying this autumn for enrollment in 2008 and would love any advice on preparing for the GREs, navigating faculty departments and knowing what to look for in potential advisers, the sort of writing samples it's best submit, actual foreign language requirements, financial support, etc. etc.

Any information on applying internationally (UK) would be fantastic as well, differences in financial provision, requirements, etc.

I am reading Flaubert's Sentimental Education this week, as a break from Man Without Qualities, which I am nearly finished, having entered into his notes and drafts of the last written sections. Planning on following Flaubert with some more essays by Eco, and some new-to-me editions of FMR magazine.

Had a lovely Saturday past, reaping the rewards of waking up early by enjoying the final day of the Sargent in Venice exhibit at Adelson Galleries, a walk in the fleeting spring-ish weather, and a delicious brunch with David. The park was mobbed with runners, cyclists, and swarms of people blinking at the sun, but my favorite haunt, in the NE corner, was wonderfully quiet and still.

I may say how ready I am to move out of this massive, grave city, but I am quite excited to see how spring pops up. For some reason, the anticipation of spring makes me crave a leisurely high tea. I need to find a good place to make this happen.

On the Horizon

J. S. Sargent: Venice par temps gris

from this excellent and comprehensive online gallery of his works

While this blog continues to grow threadbare (accurately reflecting my mind at the moment), I thought I would pose a few questions to any readers who have already begin the process of PhD programs. I am going to be applying this autumn for enrollment in 2008 and would love any advice on preparing for the GREs, navigating faculty departments and knowing what to look for in potential advisers, the sort of writing samples it's best submit, actual foreign language requirements, financial support, etc. etc.

Any information on applying internationally (UK) would be fantastic as well, differences in financial provision, requirements, etc.

I am reading Flaubert's Sentimental Education this week, as a break from Man Without Qualities, which I am nearly finished, having entered into his notes and drafts of the last written sections. Planning on following Flaubert with some more essays by Eco, and some new-to-me editions of FMR magazine.

Had a lovely Saturday past, reaping the rewards of waking up early by enjoying the final day of the Sargent in Venice exhibit at Adelson Galleries, a walk in the fleeting spring-ish weather, and a delicious brunch with David. The park was mobbed with runners, cyclists, and swarms of people blinking at the sun, but my favorite haunt, in the NE corner, was wonderfully quiet and still.

I may say how ready I am to move out of this massive, grave city, but I am quite excited to see how spring pops up. For some reason, the anticipation of spring makes me crave a leisurely high tea. I need to find a good place to make this happen.

Loose ends

"Edinburgh Lecture diagram: Decorated cusped gothic window" by John Ruskin and Sir John Everett Millais, assisted by Euphemia Chalmers Ruskin; from here


This winter has been especially boring, both in terms of inner life and outward activity. But spring is coming, and with it, the longed-for quickening of energy and spirits.

I came home last night to a blooming amaryllis (a little late, but very welcome), and an e-mail asking if I would be interested in leading an alumni seminar on a topic of my choice. Of course I would! We have an interesting and varied group of people who come to these seminars and engage in some wonderful discussions (this is the alumni group of my graduate work at St. John's College, not my undergraduate work).

I immediately remembered a half-formed idea I had been playing with earlier: a visit to the Cloisters and a reading of excerpts from Ruskin's Stones of Venice. And so I may be working through some of my ideas and/or problems in these pages.

I have also been engaged in a series of thought-provoking comments with Mr. Waggish (comments found here), which I wanted to link up so that they aren't lost in the caverns of archived web pages.

With that conversation in mind, here is this week's quote from Man Without Qualities:
What he wanted to bring out was the inability to get hold of individual experiences, those experiences that for obvious reasons one has to go through alone and lonely, even when one is with another person. He repeated: "The self never grasps its impressions and utterances singly, but always in context, in real or imagined, similar or dissimilar, harmony with something else; and so everything that has a name leans on everything else in regular rows, as a link in large and incalculable unities, one relying on another and all penetrated by a common tension. But for that reason," he suddenly went on, differently, "if for some reason these associations fail and none of them addresses the internal series of orders, one is immediately left again to face an indescribable and inhuman creation, indeed a disavowed and formless one"
...
"Understanding gives way to irrepressible astonishment, and the smallest experience--of this tiny blade of grass, or the gentle sounds when your lips over there utter a word--becomes something incomparable, lonely as the world, possessed of an unfathomable silence and radiating a profound narcosis...!"

Loose ends

"Edinburgh Lecture diagram: Decorated cusped gothic window" by John Ruskin and Sir John Everett Millais, assisted by Euphemia Chalmers Ruskin; from here


This winter has been especially boring, both in terms of inner life and outward activity. But spring is coming, and with it, the longed-for quickening of energy and spirits.

I came home last night to a blooming amaryllis (a little late, but very welcome), and an e-mail asking if I would be interested in leading an alumni seminar on a topic of my choice. Of course I would! We have an interesting and varied group of people who come to these seminars and engage in some wonderful discussions (this is the alumni group of my graduate work at St. John's College, not my undergraduate work).

I immediately remembered a half-formed idea I had been playing with earlier: a visit to the Cloisters and a reading of excerpts from Ruskin's Stones of Venice. And so I may be working through some of my ideas and/or problems in these pages.

I have also been engaged in a series of thought-provoking comments with Mr. Waggish (comments found here), which I wanted to link up so that they aren't lost in the caverns of archived web pages.

With that conversation in mind, here is this week's quote from Man Without Qualities:
What he wanted to bring out was the inability to get hold of individual experiences, those experiences that for obvious reasons one has to go through alone and lonely, even when one is with another person. He repeated: "The self never grasps its impressions and utterances singly, but always in context, in real or imagined, similar or dissimilar, harmony with something else; and so everything that has a name leans on everything else in regular rows, as a link in large and incalculable unities, one relying on another and all penetrated by a common tension. But for that reason," he suddenly went on, differently, "if for some reason these associations fail and none of them addresses the internal series of orders, one is immediately left again to face an indescribable and inhuman creation, indeed a disavowed and formless one"
...
"Understanding gives way to irrepressible astonishment, and the smallest experience--of this tiny blade of grass, or the gentle sounds when your lips over there utter a word--becomes something incomparable, lonely as the world, possessed of an unfathomable silence and radiating a profound narcosis...!"