Thursday, December 6, 2012

Horace, Brando, and Scandinavian mysteries

Image of the day. From a rare version of Horace’s Odes in the Bodleian Library, written and illuminated by William Morris. According to the Folio Society, which is working on a limited edition: "It is a small jewel-like book and the intricacy of the gilding is quite breath-taking – and fiendishly hard to replicate in facsimile. Here is a particularly lovely page, which certainly bears the influence of Burne-Jones, who quite possibly contributed the delicate portraits." (Can she let a few weeks go by without putting up a page from an illuminated book, you ask? The answer, sadly, is "no".)
Quote of the day: "You cannot train a tiger to act, although the great Stella Adler did a good job with Marlon Brando." (David Denby in The New Yorker, re the film version of Life of Pi .)
Scandinavian mystery of the day: The Boy in the Suitcase. This one grabs you by the neck from the first few pages and never lets go until the thrills-and-chills dénouement. It's written collaboratively by two women, in a pairing reminiscent of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the wife-and-husband team of detective writers from Sweden.
Literary quiz of the day: match the well-known book title to its alternate title. I expect you Gleaners to do well, because some of these have floated by here lately!

Further reading re Horace: Ancient Greece: The Dawn of the Western World.


  1. There's nothing sad about it! This is beautiful.

  2. Don't ever break the habit of posting illuminated pages--we love them.
    I hate Horace. He is pedantic, scolding, self-righteous.
    Worst of all, he slighted Virgil--the sympathetic, lyric and humane Virgil, whom I love.
    If Horace wrote in English, he would out-James Henry James.
    This page is the most beautiful Horace I've ever seen!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you - I HATE HENRY JAMES. What a d*ck.

    2. I heard a critic heartily recommend Lucian the other day, so I'll take both of your opinions under consideration should the day ever come that I delve into Greek lit (besides plays and Homer, of course).

    3. I cannot help you on Lucian--he wrote in Greek, and I don't read Greek. I would never evaluate a poet I could not read in the original language. Poetry in translation is either prose, or someone else's poem.
      Found out that Byron hated Horace too--nice to have such support. I'm sure his Latin was better than mine.

  3. 10/12 - I mixed up 1984 and Atlas Shrugged. Not too shabby.

  4. Replies
    1. don't worry; there will always be another one!

  5. oh my I don't believe it!
    =161Score: 100% (12 out of 12)
    I feel like I won the lottery.

  6. 7 of 12 for me. Looks like I'll be taking English Lit in summer school...

  7. If Brando's gift were a product of teaching, then why was he so awful as Marc Antony and Fletcher Christian?
    He was a natural talent, but his ability did not extend to literary characters he could not ape from real life.