Take a lucky dip in this refreshing pool of posts, randomly selected like literary Russian roulette (but more fun and much safer). Or filter by category to take a deeper dive into specific themes.  Enjoy!

Grey-eyed Athena

An unusual hue for goddess eyes. With the habitually random intervention of a god, Athena appears before Achilles to tell him to cool his fury towards Agamemnon, assuring him he...

Rook-delighting heaven

Yeats looks up and is thrown by the sight of a wintry sky, suddenly overcome by an inpouring rush of memory, emotion, awareness of life's vitality and finiteness, and, despite...

A page per year

Taleb is an erudite and provocative writer, sometimes coming across as intellectually arrogant, though always interesting. Here he shows a healthy sign of self-deprecation which I found entertaining. He's published a...

How to write a paper

Heaney’s introduction to his translation of Beowulf praises Tolkien’s ‘epoch-making paper’, a lecture delivered in 1936 entitled ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics’.  I found several versions online and liked...

Brick-coloured sunsets

Something warming in this, until you see the context. I recall 'brick-coloured sunsets' tinted by a haze of pollution in Shanghai. And note the additional surprising triologism: water-melon emptiness.

'Nowhere,...

Hands and feet

Durrell captures the raw effects of hard physical labour on the hands and feet of the peasants he met in Greece in the 1930s.  We sometimes forget the physical hardship...

Far-away conches

Enticing, that 'rumour', a faint whisper from a distant conch, echoes of the sea rebounding around the ravine.  And those half-whittled arrows, who whittled them, and why were they left...

Slow-drifting years

Something memorable fresh and sharp in the mind even after many 'slow-drifting years'.

An unusual concept as for me, and many people I know, the years are anything but slow...

Appreciation is a better mode for the understanding of achievement than are all the analytical kinds of accounting for the emergence of exceptional individuals.  Appreciation may judge, but always with gratitude, and frequently with awe and wonder.  

By ‘appreciation’ I mean something more than ‘adequate esteem’.  Need also enters into it, in the particular sense of turning to the genius of others in order to redress a lack in oneself, or finding in genius a stimulus to one’s own powers, whatever these may emerge as being.

Source: Harold Bloom, Genius (London: Fourth Estate, 2002), p. 5

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