Monday, August 27, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 54 (Laurence Sterne)

A Sentimental Journey
Sterne, Laurence
A Sentimental Journey & Journal to Eliza

This is one of those books I either bought used or picked up for free, saying to myself that I should read it someday. I don't recall where or when or how I acquired it, and I have not read it. But I will.

The past doesn't seem to be too close to the front of my mind this morning, so I'll write about the present. I have to say that I am extremely happy to have full borrowing privileges at a university library again. I can borrow anything at any time without having to return the book for six months!

I currently have out the three-volume collected stories of Uruguayan modernist Felisberto Hernández, which I am reading in Spanish. There are a couple of translations of his work into English. I highly recommend him. He's kind of a precursor to the boom writers like Marquez and Fuentes and Cortazar. Cortazar, in particular, too a lot from him. If you consider Kafka and Borges to be precursors to Magical realism, then you could probably lump Hernández into the same category, but he's a pretty unique voice, so I'd be loathe to do so.

One feature of the Yale library website which I love is that I can create and store a list of the books I intend to read, just like the Amazon wish list. I look for books and then tag them, without having to check them out. I am now planning a lot of my future Spanish reading by this method. Next up: Adolfo Bioy Casares.

A the library today I am going to pick up Duncan's H.D. Book. I have been waiting for this to go on sale for a reasonable price at Amazon, but it's still north of $25, even for a used copy, and I don't feel like paying that, so I'll just read it and return it to the library. (I did manage to find a copy of Silliman's Alphabet online the other day for $8.99. That's my kind of price! I think I am getting cheap in middle age). I also put Lisa Jarnot's Duncan biography on hold. I'll be the first person to check it out once they get a copy processed.

I'll probably return to buying most of my books again once we move into a place of our own, but for now, we are pretty much out of space, which makes the option of borrowing books extra appealing.

from The Sentimental Journey

They order, said I, this matter better in France. - You have been in France? said my gentleman, turning quick upon me, with the most civil triumph in the world. - Strange! quoth I, debating the matter with myself, That one and twenty miles sailing, for ’tis absolutely no further from Dover to Calais, should give a man these rights: - I’ll look into them: so, giving up the argument, - I went straight to my lodgings, put up half a dozen shirts and a black pair of silk breeches, - “the coat I have on,” said I, looking at the sleeve, “will do;” - took a place in the Dover stage; and the packet sailing at nine the next morning, - by three I had got sat down to my dinner upon a fricaseed chicken, so incontestably in France, that had I died that night of an indigestion, the whole world could not have suspended the effects of the droits d’aubaine; - my shirts, and black pair of silk breeches, - portmanteau and all, must have gone to the King of France; - even the little picture which I have so long worn, and so often have told thee, Eliza, I would carry with me into my grave, would have been torn from my neck! - Ungenerous! to seize upon the wreck of an unwary passenger, whom your subjects had beckoned to their coast! - By heaven!  Sire, it is not well done; and much does it grieve me, ’tis the monarch of a people so civilized and courteous, and so renowned for sentiment and fine feelings, that I have to reason with!

But I have scarce set a foot in your dominions.


rdeming said...

I just recalled all these books! Even the ones I own...BWA-HA-HA-HA! (twirls moustache).

Michael Kelleher, New Haven, CT said...