Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dudely lulls

The literary critic, theorist and Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt’s new book, “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern,” is partly about an obsessive book collector, and it begins, appropriately enough, with a book purchase of the author’s own.

In the mid-1960s, when he was a student at Yale and searching for summer reading, Mr. Greenblatt came upon a prose translation of Lucretius’ 2,000-year-old poem “On the Nature of Things” (“De Rerum Natura”). He plucked it from a Yale Co-op bargain bin for 10 cents, partly because he liked its sexy cover, a pair of disembodied legs floating above the Earth in an apparent act of “celestial coition.” —Dwight Garner, NYT


There were other goodies in yesterday's art section. Ben Ratliff's review of the Foo Fighters show had a line that made me laugh: "Mr. Grohl and his tastes may be the only carbon-based link between the Boredoms and Tom Petty, whose 'Breakdown' the Foo Fighters played during a dudely lull." Dudely lull!

And Dave Itzkoff's piece on Dylan's Asia paintings, some of which appear to be based on famous photos, mentioned the Confessions of a Yakuza controversy...which reminded me of this lyric:

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine alive as you or me
Then in the year I turned 16, a man who came to recruit laborers for the Ashio copper mines asked me if I cared to work there.

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