NABOKV-L post 0014401, Fri, 15 Dec 2006 20:13:26 EST

Re: Johnson, A-S, Fitzgerald, Hamlet

Stan Kelly-Bootle wrote:
I’ve just checked by kicking a nearby BRICK (but I’m mixing my
This was one of the highly annoying Johnsonian gestures I had in mind:
simultaneously right and wrong. Some minds think alike.

Stan Kelly-Bootle also wrote:
Re-Anglo-Saxon: Charles protests far too much and without due process,
methinks, against the use of the old term OLD ENGLISH to describe the vernacular
Germanic language[s] prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England between about 600 --1100
Quote: “my conclusion has been that Anglo-Saxon is not "Old English", any
more than Latin is "Old Italian", or "Old Spanish", or "Old Portuguese", or
"Old Roumanian". The use of "Old English" by modern lexicographers is tantamount
to the anticipated collective decision of future lexicographers, five
hundred years hence, to describe the language of Shakespeare and the Elizabethans
as "Old American".”
See here: _ (
Stan Kelly-Bootle also wrote:
Charles: worth knowing the history/controversy/texts of the Q1, Q2 and Folio
variants before making firm interpretations.
Many thanks for your solicitous advice. I was aware of the variant you
quote. Nothing I say is firm, but always prefaced by imho, implying a present,
most probably temporary opinion, and subject to amiable correction and
improvement. All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams the untravelled world. (A
poem, imho). As a chess-player, I was impressed by Einstein’s remark on the
mental flexibility of chess-players. The only exception is the chess-player who
rarely if ever loses, becomes undefeated champion, and who then tends to go
mad and think himself God. That’s my defence, anyway.
Carolyn wrote, re Fitzgerald’s Khayyam:
Isn't this one instance in which "profanation of the dead" might not apply?
Or does it? The Fitzgerald is certainly a metamorphosis of some sort. I am
rather fond of it and though it's hard to imagine, I wonder if I should prefer
the original?
At an early stage in my aimless, wondering life I taught EFL for a few
months at the National University of Iran, 1962-64. An Iranian (Jewish-Iranian)
student once told me that Fitzgerald’s poem (it’s a poem, imho) was “better”
than Khayyam’s quatrains. In fact, Fitzgerald made something else of his
material. I wouldn’t call it profanation in his case, but I would in most of Pound
’s cases.
A.Bouazza wrote:
The discussion of Hamlet by Stephen Dedalus where he "proves by algebra that
Shakespeare's ghost is Hamlet's grandfather" is of course in ULYSSES, the
famous library scene Chapter 9.
Of course! Many thanks. It can also be shown, by comparing folk-lores, that
William Tell was Hamlet’s father, although I can’t remember exactly how this
conclusion is reached. It is something to do with Horwendil, who was an
archer and a dab hand at apple-shooting, and how he then metamorphoses into
Hamlet pere. Anyway, it seems Updike had a handle on this theory, or something
akin to it. See here:

and/or here:
I have just been told, off-list, that one of my recent (too-frequent, and I
really must soon desist) posts "sounded rather snobby about American lit." I
hope someone in agreement with this charge will dilate on it, so that I may
mount whatever defence I can to whatever specific sins I am perceived to have
committed. And to the combat, Loo or Whist, lead on. Not poetry, imho.

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