Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Son to Me

I just finished Peter Leithart's A Son to Me, which is an exposition of 1st and 2nd Samuel (as one book). Very good, very informative, very enlightening. He catches all the things that I usually miss: the respective ages of David and Jonathan, the relationships between Ahithophel and Uriah, the motivations that drove Joab, the strengths of Saul, the decline of the Davidic kingdom tracing to the sin with Bathsheba, etc, etc, etc. He also finds chiasms galore. I would highly recommend this book, and, oddly enough, would recommend reading it the way I did: sandwiched between the Scriptures it refers to.


Notes on Notes

I'm going through N. D. Wilson's Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl for the third time in less than two weeks. The prose owes a lot (as he fully confesses) to Dillard with a nice bit of Wodehouse, as well as sprinkling other, subtler flavors into the mix that has become entirely his own, gratefully indebted to the world, style. The book is very like his Credenda articles (including a couple), just a lot longer, which I like, as my chief complaint against any of his books is that the prose wasn't as inherently delightful as in his articles, and my chief complaint with his articles was that they ended so soon. So I'm happy for a couple weeks, until I start craving Chestnut King again.

Those of you that know me know how I read books: with pen in hand and a 3x5 card for a bookmark, taking down commonplaces, themes, weird phrases and arguments as I go. This book is infuriating: I didn't let myself mark it the first time, and then didn't let myself mark it the second time, and am now thinking maybe I should have restrained myself until the fourth or fifth or fiftieth time. I started a commonplace on page eleven, and didn't realize till chapter three that it should have ended somewhere. It is the best new (past 50 years) book that I have read in a long, long time, and has already taken its place next to Orthodoxy on my shelf. Simply magnificent.

Were I to classify it? Oddly enough, I would call it a world-class poetic apologetic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No, I'm not dead,

sorry to disappoint. I am in Spokane working for King Marketing selling Comcast door to door (or trying to).

A couple of commonplaces from Alias Shakespeare, a very convincing book positing Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford as the real Willem Shakespere:

"...that last infirmary of ignoble minds, respectability..."

"In the absence of verifiable data, speculation flourishes, biography (like nature) abhorring a vacuum."

and from Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

(On the profligacy of nature) "This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme, the brainchild of a deranged manic-depressive with limitless capital."

"The whole creation is one lunatic fringe... No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe."

"We are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus."

"Van Gogh found nerve to call the world 'a study that didn't come off,' but I'm not so sure. Where do I get my standards that I fancy the fixed world of insects doesn't meet? I'm tired of reading; I pick up a book and learn that 'pieces of the leech's body can also swim.' Take a deep breath, Elijah: light your pile. Van Gogh is utterly dead; the world may be fixed, but it never was broken. And shadow itself may resolve into beauty."

some Hopkins:

"I caught this morning's minion, kingdom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon..."

"All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him."

"These things, these things were here, and but the beholder

"...not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet."

"...Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep."

"I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day..."

then read Carrion Comfort, and to end Hopkins on a slightly less depressing note:

"We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood
Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood..."

Finally, Dunnett (as is appropriate for the reader of my blog),

"So where has he gone?" Gelis asked.
"There are several possible places," Nicholas said, "if my prayers have been listened to..."

"And by night, to lie at your side, so that I may give her my love, my dear love, ki mon cuer et mon cors a..."

Guds frida veri med ydr.


Wodehousian Fun