tito tito LeeThe New AusteritiesOpportunities in Alabama AgricultureThe Sweet-Scented ManuscriptThe Fields of Asphodel

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Distracted by Samuel Johnson

Yes, well perhaps I did promise to read, or anyway to start, David Foster Wallace’s elephantine Infinite Jest and report back my findings. And I sincerely intended to do that too, which is to say until I was tempted, sore tempted, to look into Peter Martin’s mediocre biography of one of Britain’s least mediocre of men - Samuel Johnson, specifically speaking. Already I have passed through this man’s penurious childhood, his rather incongruous marriage, his sojourns in London, and have now begun to read how and why he compiled, with the aid of five sometimes assistants, his famous English language dictionary. Impossible not to sympathize with this man, who endured so many mental and sublunary obstacles, and yet who at the end of the day had produced so much. Learning of his bodily peculiarities I, too, have recently begun to exhibit certain convulsive tics and involuntary movements of all sorts, a real hindrance to getting into my usual reading posture, which entails a 40-watt lamp, a leather covered couch, and about two inches of spirituous liqueur, all which are to be enjoyed between the hours of one and four o’clock a.m.
More shortly.

Labels: , , ,