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Posts Tagged ‘English history

Madame Eulalie’s Rare Plums…

 

“The column itself was an extraordinary affair. . . . You would quote something from the morning paper and then you’d make some little comment on it.” (Wodehouse, quoted in David Jasen’s A Portrait of a Master, 1974.)

The column was “By The Way,” a front-page lineup of pert and pithy paragraphs and verse revolving around Edwardian politics and quirky news items from the police courts, London, the British Isles, America, and the world over. It had been a feature (with a distinguished pedigree) of the Globe and Traveller evening newspaper since 1881. British humorist E. V. Lucas wrote that the column “consisted of a dozen or so paragraphs, each with a joke or sting in it, bearing on the morning news.” Richard Usborne wrote it was “a column—a dozen or so short snippets and a set of verses.” The column was pieced together by a couple of fellows every morning in “The By The Way Room” according to a balanced formula of politics, funny news commentary, and verse.

Wodehouse contributed to “By The Way” intermittently from August 16, 1901 up to August 1903, when he joined the paper as full-time assistant, working six days a week; a year later he was put in charge of the column, a position he held until he left the paper, as best can be determined around 1910. His meticulously-kept cash journal Money Received for Literary Work records his payments for columns from 1901 up to the last entry in February 1908. By his own accounting, he worked on over 1,300 “By The Way” columns…

The P. G. Wodehouse Globe Reclamation Project is a not-for-profit volunteer group, formed earlier this year, devoted to unearthing these thousands of humorous paragraphs…

We promised the Wodehouse Estate, which quickly approved the Project, that we would compile and preserve all of the recovered columns for the future benefit of researchers, biographers, and fans. We were hopeful and expectant that that we would find, out of those 1,300 days Wodehouse either verifiably contributed to or worked on the column, a treasure trove of noteworthy, funny, pure Wodehousean material and verse.

Check it out on the Globe’s page, and then browse their host, Madame Eulalie’s Rare Plums, a trove of early Wodehouse…

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As we careful to forgo liquids as we read, we might recall that it was on this date in 1712 that the 555th and final issue of The Spectator was published.  The work of Richard Steele, a politician and writer, and Joseph Addison, a poet and playwright, friends from their schooldays at Charterhouse, The Spectator followed their earlier periodical, The Tatler.  With a central character “Mr. Spectator” embodying its point of view, The Spectator ran to about 2,500 words daily (except Sunday), offering a mix of news and essays intended “to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality.” Steele and Addison contributed heavily to their periodical, but also ran essays from the likes of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.

The Spectator was ostensibly politically neutral; but it was a subtle force for Whig values.  Its second most valent continuing character,  Sir Roger de Coverley, an English squire of Queen Anne’s reign and the (supposed) descendant of the inventor of the English country dance, was a lovable– but laughable– exponent of Tory maxims.  No less august an authority than Jürgen Habermas has called The Spectator instrumental in the “structural transformation of the public sphere” which England saw in the 18th century– a transformation that came about because of, and in the interests of, the emergent middle class.

(The contemporary versions of both The Spectator and The Tatler are unrelated to the originals.)

The first issue of The Spectator, March 1st, 1711

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Written by LW

December 6, 2013 at 1:01 am

“The map? I will first make it”*…

 

Greg Pass has built a formidable resume– past CTO of Twitter, current Founding Entrepreneurial Officer of the new Cornell Technology Campus being built in New York City– but it is his hobby, his blog Unurthed, that has earned him a place in your correspondent’s Pantheon…

Unurthed is a survey of diagrams, cosmograms, emblems, etchings, sketches, illustrations, yantras, paintings, engravings, photographs, figures, cutouts, seals, depictions, pictures, images, with an eye for that which cannot be diagrammed, cosmogrammed, emblemed, etched, sketched, illustrated, plucked, painted, engraved, photographed, figured out, cut out, sealed, depicted, pictured, imagined.

All of the material is scanned from my personal collection or, in a few cases, drawn by me.

And what material it is!  Consider, for example, “Cramer’s Emblems“:

Six of forty emblems from Daniel Cramer’s 1617 The Rosicrucian Emblems of Daniel Cramer, each presenting a contemplative exercise working upon the heart process of a Rosicrucian meditator. Prefaces Cramer:

“And so, Reader, you have the work of death and life,
The embossings of the Holy page, and a short epigram.
These will be able to show and teach your mind
What your state was once and what it may become today” (p16).

Emblem 34: NEITHER ON THIS SIDE, NOR ON THE OTHER

“‘…we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left.’ (Numbers 20:17)

“Not in this place, not in that;
The heart will go more safely in the middle.
He who rushes from the mean, runs to destruction” (p63).

A plethora of perspicacious pictures to ponder at Unurthed.

* Patrick White, Voss

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As we learn to love to limn, we might recall that it was on this date– the birthdays of the eloquent Dalai Lama (1935) and the not-so-eloquent George W. Bush (1946)– in 1535 that lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, Renaissance humanist, and councillor to Henry VIII of England, Sir Thomas More, author of Utopia, was beheaded by Henry for refusing to accept the king as Supreme Head of the newly-established Church of England.  More was acting in accordance with his opposition to Martin Luther,  William Tyndale, and the Protestant Reformation…  for which he was canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.  (He is remembered by the Church of England as a “Reformation martyr.”)

Hans Holbein the Younger’s portrait of More

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Written by LW

July 6, 2012 at 1:01 am

Where on the world…

 

From the not-altogether-vested-interest-free folks at Replogle, “How Old Is Your Globe?” : scan down the chronological list of country name changes (full list at link)…  “when you find a FORMER place name on your globe instead of the NEW name, you have determined the age of your globe…”

[TotH to Kottke.org]

 

As we reorient ourselves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1550 that William Cecil, later one of Queen Elizabeth’s closest advisors (a role for which he was rewarded with elevation to 1st Baron Burghley), was sworn in as King Edward VI’s Secretary of State– and then appointed himself Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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The pursuit of the hirsute…

From the doers…

…to the done…

… it’s all at The Hair Hall of Fame.

As we let it all go to our heads, we might wish a mystically happy birthday to mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, alchemist/occultist, navigator, and champion of English expansionism John Dee; he was born on this date in 1527.  Widely regarded as the smartest man and/or most powerful magician in the Europe of his time, Dee was an intimate advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and her closest ministers.  But Dee, a student of Copernicus and a friend of Tycho Brahe, was also a serious scholar (his library was the largest in England, perhaps in Europe) and  one of the most learned men of his day– a central figure in the development of modern science… and underneath that cap, he had a killer head of hair.

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When Less is More…

 

Pre-blog readers may recall Garfield minus Garfield (from a March, 2008 missive).  Now one can enjoy the existential stylings of 3eanuts

Charles Schulz’s four-panel comic strips often defused the despair of their world with a fourth-panel joke at the characters’ expense. With that last panel omitted…

More dark doodling at 3eanuts.

[TotH to reader M H-H]

 

As we search search for silver linings, we might recall that it was on this date in 1043 that Edward the Confessor, son of Æthelred the Unready, was crowned King of England.  The pious Edward– the last of the House of Wessex and one of the last Anglo-Saxon monarchs– was canonized in 1161, and became the patron saint of kings, difficult marriages, and separated spouses.  After the reign of Henry II, Edward was considered to be the “Patron Saint of England” until 1348, when he was replaced in this role by Saint George.  Still, Saint Edward will be watching over the pending nuptials at Westminster Abbey (where his remains are interred) as he continues as the “Patron Saint of the Royal Family.”

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