Saturday, June 27, 2015
First off, I think it'd a bad idea to remove the person who created our banking system from the currency.
Second, if they had to remove somebody, I'd prefer it were General Grant, from the fifty -- a man famous mainly for killing a lot of his fellow Americans and then going on to preside over a notoriously corrupt and incompetent administration.
Third, if we're going to put a woman on our currency (a good idea in and of itself), I'd vote for Jeannette Rankin:* the first woman elected to the US Congress. A suffragette who served two terms twenty years apart, Rankin was a pacifist who voted against U. S. entry into World War I, for which she got booted out. She finally won re-election twenty years later, just in time to vote against U. S. entry into World War II (the ONLY member of Congress to do so). It's rare for a politician to stand by his or her principles, whatever the political cost.
So, it they were to make the best of a bad idea, I'd say leave Hamilton where he is, boot Grant from his current spot, and put Rankin in his place.
Friday, June 19, 2015
In brief, Martin has just donated a copy of the first edition HOBBIT to the Texas A&M university library. This is not just extremely generous of him but marks a significant milestone for the library, being their five millionth book.
Their millionth book seems to have been essentially random: PROSE AND POETRY OF THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES. So too perhaps the two million mark: A VOYAGE TO THE ISLANDS MADERA, BARBADOS, NIEVES, S. CHRSTOPHERS AND JAMAICA (1707-25) by Sir Hans Sloane. But it's v. clear that the three millionth was a careful choice: a first edition of Walt Whitman's THE LEAVES OF GRASS , as was the four millionth: Cervantes's DON QUIXOTE (both volumes).
So, it's a big deal that Tolkien's work should be deemed worthy of being in such company and world-renown classic authors as Whitman and Cervantes, a point made explicitly by Martin in his presentation ("Martin expressed him pleasure at a long overdue acceptance of fantasy 'into the canon of world literature'"). It's almost as if, now that Terry Pratchett is dead, R. R. Martin has become the go-to face of fantasy guy.
Here's the link.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
What's more, I was surprised to find myself being quoted by THE GUARDIAN. Being referenced in an online forum or cited in an academic piece is one thing (and I'm always interested to see how others use my work); to be quoted in a world-class newspaper is oddly disconcerting. At any rate, glad to see the reference to Tolkien's THE LOST ROAD being picked up; it'd be great if that leads someone out there to discover Tolkien's strange and fascinating time-travel stories.
Here's the piece:
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
It was still the same six cats this week, who have pretty well worked out who's boss cat (EMMA), who hides and hopes she doesn't get hissed at (MAISY), who minds his own business (MONTE), who waits patiently for attention (CHESSA), and who's out and about and all over the place (BLOSSOM & BUTTERCUP).
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
I therefore took note when I came across what seems to be a reference to one of those books Lewis gave away, which I thought I'd share here for those interested in such things.
The book in question is by Charles Williams, the first of his theological books (the first to be published, anyway): HE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN (1938). Alice Mary Hadfield, in her biography of Williams, notes that
Hadfield's source for this is identified in a note on p. 245: 'By courtesy of Mr. George Sayer.'
If follows, then, that Sayer must have Lewis's copy of this book, and it seems likely that he was given it by Lewis himself.
As it happens, we have Sayer's own account of that event, in his biography of Lewis (JACK: C. S. LEWIS AND HIS TIMES), in which Sayer describes making as his initial pick George MacDonald's UNSPOKEN SERMONS, which Lewis was apparently too attached to to be able to let go, hence Sayer "hastily withdrew my choice and asked to be allowed to have something else" (JACK p. 249). That 'something else' now looks likely to have been the Charles Williams book -- an odd choice, I shd have thought, for Sayer. As Chuck Berry says, it just goes to show you just can't tell.
P.S.: By the way, Lewis himself left an account of this lunch-meeting in his Preface to ESSAYS PRESENTED TO CHARLES WILLIAMS (p. viii):
Sunday, June 14, 2015
current reading: SAILS OF GLORY rulebook
current viewing: a documentary on Pullman's GOLDEN COMPASS -- surprisingly dull, given the liveliness of the subject matter and the controversy it's caused.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
But when I came to pick a poem to celebrate the day, I decided on one of his lesser-known works which, though deceptively simple, has haunted me since I first read it back in Dr. Kimpel's class during my time at Fayetteville.
from THE WILD SWANS AT COOLE
--at first this seems a straightforward account of a simple man worried about something which does in fact come to pass. But then again, it could just as easily been called "Answered Prayers": he prays to be eased of his burden, and his burden is taken away in a way he had not intended. Free and rejoicing, dead and devoured; he'll never know. And that we're told Providence is to us like the speaker is to his cat and rabbit is a final chilling thought.