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!

Ice-choked rivers

A European would normally use ‘choked’ to describe a river full of algae or weeds or pollution. ‘Ice-choked’ gives a sense of a menacing jostling and mobbing of unready hulls,...

Swift-footed Achilleus

One of many stock Homeric epithets, apparently used as mnemonic and prosodic padding, to help with recital from memory and to meet the exigencies of the dactylic hexameter.  I like...

The jewel of learning

An original simile to describe the architecturally solid seat of learning in Dublin, set in and setting off the relative ignorance of the surrounding city - I liked this use...

Out into the world

Maxim Gorky's childhood was a bed of harshness softened by rays of light and kindness, principally from his long-suffering grandmother.  His grandfather, while having a few admirable qualities, also believed...

Machair

Machair refers to low-lying arable or grazing land formed near the coast by the deposit of sand and shell fragments by the wind, in Scotland, particularly in the Western Isles.

'......

An anatomy of anguish

This graphic and heart-rending typology of despair makes me conscious of having been mercifully spared much of anything that could be likened to despair.  Count your blessings, indeed.

'Abarchuk sighed. ...

The key to the core

Life and Fate is for me one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, chronicling unflinchingly the horrors it inflicted, and written by a journalist who reported from the...

Tiss

'When he noticed that it was looking at him. The look frightened him as he tissed at it.'

'He lay still, his heart throbbing, blowing and tissing and slavering.'

Another...

Cool-scrubbed tavern

And where else to flee from the sun that makes lilies fester, than a cool-scrubbed tavern?  I imagine a bright but cool white-wash combined with hyacinth blue paintwork that you...

Snow-bound lama

This caught my eye as it feels a little surprising as a follow on to someone's being described as a 'learned bigot' and 'ceremonious barbarian'.  Perhaps a shift in sensibility...

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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