Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
"Very well," had said the considerable personage to whom Charles Gould on his way out through San Francisco had lucidly exposed his point of view. "Let us suppose that the mining affairs of Sulaco are taken in hand. There would be in it: first, the house of Holroyd, which is all right; then, Mr. Charles Gould, a citizen of Costaguana, who is also all right; and, lastly, the Government of the Republic. So far this resembles the first start of the Atacama nitrate fields, where there was a financing house, a gentleman of the name of Edwards, and -- a Government; or rather, two Governments -- two South American Governments. And you know what came of it. War came of it; devastating and prolonged war came of it, Mr. Gould."
Somehow I had gotten in mind from The Secret History of Costaguana, that Nostromo held specific allegoric reference to the building of the Panama Canal. That does not seem to be quite right... Certainly the story of the Canal is a relevant line of thought for approaching this book; and the Atacama, too -- nitrate was of huge importance when Conrad was writing this.
Monday, May 28th, 2012
In his 7th chapter, "The Dethronement of Cronus" (full text of the book is here), Graves slips in a fun quick reference to Epimenides' paradox:
Some say that Poseidon was neither eaten nor disgorged, but that Rhea gave Cronus a foal to eat in his stead, and hid him among the horseherds. And the Cretans, who are liars, relate that Zeus is born every year in the same cave with flashing fire and a stream of blood; and that every year he dies and is reburied.
Me and Sylvia spent the afternoon in Maplewood yesterday, we went down to [words] bookstore looking to add to her collection of Tintin books (she picked up The Seven Crystal Balls and, hence, will be back soon for Prisoners of the Sun) and came away with some unexpected but promising finds; and went over to the pizzeria to eat some ices and read. I found two books that just demanded for me to own them based on their mere existence -- it seems like there is no way for me to coexist in a world which contains the book The Adventures of Hergé without owning a copy of it; and similarly for the new Penguin edition of Graves' Greek Myths, with an introduction by Rick Riordan. (The bookshop has unaccountably categorized the latter as a "Graphic Novel" -- this worked out well as that was the section I was browsing in.)
We spent some time this morning reading Graves' take on The Gods of the Underworld, comparing the details to the stories she knows from Riordan's novels...
Sunday, May 27th, 2012
This morning found the three of us walking along the boardwalk that runs through the Great Swamp preserve -- it's not too far away from us (15 miles maybe), but I hardly ever get a chance to visit. Today was a wonderful day for it. Click thru 4 pix.
Saturday, May 26th, 2012
The Daily Mail publishes a stunning gallery of photos of the undeveloped American West, taken on surveying expeditions in the late 19th Century. (via cleek)
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Andy Metcalfe has, in his Soundcloud role as flatpicker, been posting some rough mixes from the Queen Elvis sessions -- that is one of the Hitchcock records that I'm least familiar with and it is great listening to these versions.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
In foramine terræ habitabat hobbitus.Middle Earth Network News reports that Mark Walker's Latin translation of The Hobbit will be available this fall.
Monday, May 21st, 2012
Darcy had her new camera along when she came over on Friday, and she got some great photos --- a selection is at the Family Album for your viewing pleasure.
Sunday, May 20th, 2012
La culpa is (must be said first of all, and I am after all just starting out reading it) an amazing, wonderful book. I have two questions about the setting; I'm hoping someone reading my notes will be able to clue me in.
César leaves Buenos Aires hitchhiking, bound for a Brazilian town on the coast, between Porto Alegre and Florianópolis; the route he takes is north to the Brazilian border, crossing into Uruguayana and then west to Porto Alegre. (This happens before page 1; the book starts with his crossing into Uruguayana.) Looking at a map it seems like it would be shorter to cut northeast through Uruguay; but I have no idea what the ramifications of this would be in terms of ease of travel or specifically of hitching a ride. I'm assuming the route he takes is the natural one but would love to get confirmation/explanation of that. (The historical period is probably of interest here; his trip takes place 16 years after the coup -- or rather, 16 years after his last trip there, which was a few years before the coup -- I assume this is referring to the 1976 coup, so the story must be set, at a guess, in 1988 or 89.)
Also, I wonder how much language difficulty is to be expected for a Porteño hitchhiking in southern Brazil. Communication with all of the people he interacts with seems to be pretty trouble-free -- or any troubles communicating are not based on language barrier -- and the dialog is written in Spanish, but it has crossed my mind to wonder if they are speaking Spanish, Portuguese, or something in-between.
Further research on the hitchhiking route -- Google Maps® suggests as a route from Buenos Aires to Porto Alegre, heading north to Uruguayana (although crossing the river into Uruguay at Concordia), so I guess the coastal route has issues not immediately apparent, and/or does not actually save distance. If the roadways are the same now as they were at the time of the story, it looks like César traveled through Argentina keeping on Highway 14, then across Brazil on Highway 290.
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