March 04, 2008

E.M. Forster,

in Aspects of the Novel:

Sterne is a sentimentalist, Virginia Woolf . . . is extremely aloof. Nor are their achievements on the same scale. But their medium is similar, and the same odd effects are obtained by it, the parlour door is never mended, the mark on the wall turns out to be a snail, life is such a muddle, oh, dear, the will is so weak, the sensations fidgety—philosophy—God—oh, dear, look at the mark—listen to the door—existence is really too . . . what were we saying?

I came across the book over the weekend, as I was clearing out my study. I hadn't read it in a while, so I rescued it for my nightstand. I was looking for that amazing passage, and wondering if I'd ever find it, until I remembered the bookmark trick: when I was in my 20s I used to make a notation of the page numbers that contained particularly good insights, or bitchin' turns of phrase, right on the bookmark—always a 3 x 5 index card.

Aspects of the Novel only had two such notations, for pages 10 and 20. Page 20 is that delicious parody of Woolf, and page 10 is Forster's comparison of scholars with "psuedo-scholars," in which he places himself firmly in the latter camp, and remarks that "we are a welcome asset at dinner-parties."

Yes. They are. And so are psuedo-psuedo-scholars. And we also make terrific bloggers, though there weren't many of those in the early 20th Century.

The house is such a mess, oh dear, the will is amazingly weak, one hasn't any attention span at all—the painters—my books—the big client—the elections—guns . . . what were we saying?

Posted by Attila Girl at March 4, 2008 11:07 PM | TrackBack
Comments

How many copy editor jokes can you find in this blog entry?

Posted by: yazoota at March 5, 2008 07:46 AM


By that do you mean "mistakes," or do you mean "holy crap; what a typical thing for a fussy little woman like Joy to write"?

I did fix the most obvious mistake—the missing quotation mark—and, for the record, it did cause me deep physical pain to use the British spelling for "parlour," and to add that hyphen in "dinner-parties" [shudder].

Of course, there was the editorly use of "compare with," vs. "compare to." I'm always torn in that instance between the traditional and the colloquial . . .

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 5, 2008 08:18 AM


release!

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 5, 2008 05:53 PM


Bullseye! I'm a bit slow picking up British yumour, other than the blatant Monty Python variety. Thanks for fixing that annoying missing open quote.

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