It was Sappho who first called eros “bittersweet.” No one who has been in love disputes her. What does the word mean? Eros seemed to Sappho at once an experience of pleasure and pain. Here is contradiction and perhaps paradox. To perceive this eros can split the mind in two. Why? The components of the [...]

Suffer the mathematics

Two books I oh-so-nobly read, even if the mere whiff of anything numerical can send me to paroxysms of horror. I mean, come on: Fewer things as horrific as seeing what you love most intersect—collide!—with the creature that’s had you a-tremble since time immemorial: Good lord, math in literature. Science, I’m cool with—physics will always [...]

On The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault: Enchanted, yes

 For “Donkey-Skin”: The Princess laments her sad situation. But Heaven grows tired, now and then, Of giving happiness to men * * * I find it peculiar that I first picked up The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault because I wanted to read the fairy tales in the original [or the original, in-translation]—see, I’d [...]

Truly, Romantic Constancy?

We don’t quite get along, Jane Austen and I. I’ve all but renounced her much-loved Pride and Prejudice, and not because I enjoy being contrary [though I occasionally do] but because it simply isn’t the story—love, social-niceties, of-the-era—I am looking for, or even want. Austen and I, we do not suit. I have accepted that—although [...]

Since I Last Saw You

I have been reading. And the guilt of having temporarily abandoned this blog has waned enough to allow me to return to it. The above books were some of my attempts to get back on “track”—I’ve finished them all, am pleased with them, but then [to keep up with the tiresome navel-gazing I’ve been prone [...]

On The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson

#46 of 2011 • The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson — translated from the Swedish by Michael Meyer — with an introduction by Michael Chabon This, ladies and gentlemen, is an epic. An episodic epic, a gather-around-the-fire-with-your-mouth-open kind of epic. Written in the 1940s, yes, but so confidently structured, The Long Ships is patterned [...]

On The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — “the last court of appeal” — by Arthur Conan Doyle

Aherm. Previously, in Sasha’s Escapades with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, MD -- Baker Street, the canon, and all that sleuthing jazz: ♦ A Study in Scarlet. My first Sherlock Holmes, the first book, which “beat my preconceptions to a pulp.” Just so giddy to be part of ~Holmesiana. ♦ Sherlock Holmes Selected Stories. Which [...]