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Posted 6/17/2014 2:21pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Mr. Casaubon sincerely speaks,

"... Hitherto I have known few pleasures save of the severer kind: my satisfactions have been those of the solitary student. I have been little disposed to gather flowers that would wither in my hand, but now I shall pluck them with eagerness, to place them in your bosom."

No speech could have been more thoroughly honest in its intention: the frigid rhetoric at the end was as sincere as the bark of a dog, or the cawing of an amorous rook.

Middlemarch, George Eliot 1872, page 31. 

Posted 6/16/2014 6:59pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This evening, the ewes had no visible predators—no coyotes near—they were calm, they were eating and they didn't issue any directives to me. For example, they will tell you that they don't want canines lurking in the brush just outside the fence—hungrily eyeing them—and be very "baa" blunt about it. They look in the direction of the threat, then they look in your eyes for the briefest moment and they look at the threat again, then they go back to grazing. You know.  

132 Yellow walked over to me; I extended a hand and touched her on the head. She's a sweetheart. 

Sheep have invisible predators too. Coccidia are single-celled organisms that infect the intestine. The infection causes a watery diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, but before that, it is dark.  Coccidia usually infect lambs as sheep become immune as they get older; untreated, Coccidia are life-threatening. Coccidia are not visible to the naked eye but they are detectable with a 40 power microscope in the fecal examinations that I routinely perform.

The sporulated oocyst breaks open and releases eight sporozoites. Each of these sporozoites finds an intestinal cell and begins to reproduce inside it. Ultimately, the cell is so full of what are called merozoites at this stage that the cells bursts, releasing merozoites that seek out their own intestinal cells so the process begins again. It is important to note how thousands of intestinal cells can become infected and destroyed as a result of  a single oocyst.  

A fecal examination floats the Cocci-oocysts in a saturated sugar solution (which has a greater specific gravity than the oocysts) against a cover slip that is placed on a slide to be viewed under a microscope.


There is more than meets the eye when it comes to sheep predation.

From Wikipedia and from experience. 

Posted 6/16/2014 1:52pm by Eugene Wyatt.

...maybe we can agree that almost every word in a sentence can be categorized as either a content word or a functional word. The content words comprise the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and most verbs: they are carriers of information and suppliers of sensory evidence. The functional words are the prepositions, the conjunctions, the articles, the toof an infinitive, and such—the kinds of words necessary to hold the content words in place on the page, to absorb them into the syntax. The functional words in fact tend to recede into the sentence structure; their visibility and audibility are limited. It’s the content words that impress themselves upon the eye and the ear, so the writer’s attention to sound and shape has to be lavished on the exposed words. They stand out in relief. 

The Sentence Is a Lonely Place Gary Lutz. A lecture delivered to Columbia University's Writing Program in 2008.

Posted 6/15/2014 3:31pm by Eugene Wyatt.

By the way I ordered a used copy, for $0.88 ($3.99 to ship it from CT) of Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai for its reputed coincidence of moral bearing and writing style, in hardcover via Amazon.

These pages treat the inner workings of sentences and paragraphs as they function in novels. To read for the sentence risks becoming trivial or pedantic: what about character, plot, imagery, the host of other pleasures prose fiction lavishes upon its readers? But the shape of any given sentence—its arc, to use the visual metaphor; its cadence, to rank ear before eye—produces part of its meaning, sometimes the most important part. ...

This is a formalist project in the sense that I will focus very persistently on linguistic details, but I've already started to make the case for the ethical freight of formalism and its reading practices. There seems to me little point in considering style apart from morality, and Helen DeWitt's novel The Last Samurai offers an exceptionally clear and appealing version of the argument that style may itself serve as a kind of morality.

Reading Style, A Life in Sentences Jenny Davidson 2014, pages 11 and 13.

Posted 6/12/2014 7:39pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Thank you. I finished The Portrait of a Lady and started Middlemarch. I was listening to it on the way to the tannery in Quakertown today and I thought of you and colors. "It is strange how deeply colors seem to penetrate one, like scent."
"How very beautiful these gems are!" said Dorothea, under a new current of feeling, as sudden as the gleam. "It is strange how deeply colors seem to penetrate one, like scent. I suppose that is the reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelation of St. John. They look like fragments of heaven. I think that emerald is more beautiful than any of them."

"And there is a bracelet to match it," said Celia. "We did not notice this at first."

"They are lovely," said Dorothea, slipping the ring and bracelet on her finely turned finger and wrist, and holding them towards the window on a level with her eyes. All the while her thought was trying to justify her delight in the colors by merging them in her mystic religious joy.

"You would like those, Dorothea," said Celia, rather falteringly, beginning to think with wonder that her sister showed some weakness, and also that emeralds would suit her own complexion even better than purple amethysts. "You must keep that ring and bracelet—if nothing else. But see, these agates are very pretty and quiet."

Middlemarch, George Eliot 1869-1872, page 9.
I bought the Kindle edition for $0.99 and clicked the Audiobook Companion for $3.49, totaling $4.48; both the Kindle edition and an Audible recording of Middlemarch, at a value of $14.95 or $28.53 (depending on membership), are on my iPhone. This is where I read and listen.

PS: A drawback to the Audiobook Companion is you can't choose the narration (Audible offers four different narrators for Middlemarch depending on the recording you buy) but the person they've chosen to read has a slight Irish accent—she is difficult to understand with the window cracked at 70 MPH.
Posted 6/12/2014 6:09pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Sheep-stealing was a capital offense in England in 1869.

She (Dorothea Brooke) bethought herself now of the condemned criminal. "What news have you brought about the sheep-stealer, uncle?"

"What, poor Bunch?—well, it seems we can't get him off—he is to be hanged."

Middlemarch, George Eliot 1869-1872, page 24.

Posted 6/12/2014 5:55pm by Eugene Wyatt.

MissBrooke (Dorothea, or Dodo as her sister tenderly calls her) had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible—or from one of our elder poets—in a paragraph of today's newspaper.

Middlemarch, George Eliot 1869-1872, page 5.

Tips From Fashion Insiders on How to Wear Sneakers With a Suit, from the New York Times


“Wearing sneakers with a suit is a way to show that you’re wearing the suit because you want to, not because you have to. It’s a declaration of cool. The suit has to be pretty slim and hip to begin with for this to be effective. Start with minimal sneakers that aren’t covered in crazy colors or logos..."

These are minimal. I remember Converse All Stars; when I was a kid, I wore them long before Nike made shoes.

Converse Rubber Shoe Company was created by Marquis Mills Converse in 1908 in Malden, Massachusetts. In 1917, the company designed a shoe called the All Star. The shoe was composed of a rubber sole and canvas upper and was designed to be an elite shoe for the professional basketball league. In 1921, a basketball player by the name of Charles "Chuck" Taylor joined a basketball team sponsored by the Converse Company called The Converse All Stars. Taylor held basketball clinics in high schools all over the county and while teaching the fundamentals of the game, he sold the All Star shoes. As a salesman and athlete for the company, Taylor also made improvements to the shoe he loved. His ideas for the shoe were designed to provide enhanced flexibility and support and also incorporated a patch to protect the ankle. All Stars were soon worn by a variety of professional basketball players and became the envy of all aspiring basketball players...

From Wikipedia

Today's poor dress will be tomorrow's fashion; a girl friend winkingly  said, "I make my own style," as if she were a modern day  "Dodo".

Posted 6/10/2014 3:54pm by Eugene Wyatt.

In Leonard (Woolf’s) autobiography, The Journey Not the Arrival Matters, Leonard wrote about how he and Virginia had always wanted the Cavatina of Beethoven’s B flat quartet, Op. 130, to be played during their cremation because there is a gentle lull in the middle of the song that seems like an opportune moment for “gently propelling the dead in the eternity of oblivion.” 

From The Virgina Woolf Blog

Posted 6/8/2014 7:02pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Having preferred non-fiction to fiction over the years—I change direction—I'm reading one or two fictional works of noted authors of the 19th and early 20th century: Stendhal, Flaubert, Balzac, Proust, Wharton, Woolf, Joyce et al. 

Now I'm impressed by Henry James's writing in The Portrait of a Lady. Oftentimes the story or the plot turns on what his characters say to one another; he writes an easy-flowing, but revealing, dialogue. It's so modern in tone it surprises one that it was written in the late 1870's.

James made it easy for the screenwriters who followed him to adapt the conversational portions of his work.

Tags: Dialogue
Posted 6/8/2014 6:55pm by Eugene Wyatt.

She had been obliged to introduce him (Caspar Goodwood) to Gilbert (her husband); it was impossible she should not ask him to dinner, to her Thursday evenings, of which she had grown very weary, but to which her husband still held for the sake not so much of inviting people as of not inviting them.

The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James 1881, revised 1906.