Posts in: Chance


The Face of New York by Andreas Feininger and Susan Lyman and The Tulip by Anna Pavord

45:5, 16:5 Tulips and New Amsterdam. (The NYC book was published in 1954. Absolutely amazing photos.)


The Vineland Papers edited by Green, Grenier, and McCaffery and Aion by CG Jung

22:13, 44:6

From a certain angle, this is so me. I could have carefully chosen seven important books for last week’s challenge. But 62 books (two a day all month), picked completely at random, seem to be working just as well at sketching an outline of my identity.


Mawrdew Czgowchwz by James McCourt and The Mathematical Sublime by Mark Scroggins

17:16 Pronounced Mardu Gorgeous. Such a fun book, and exactly the sort of eccentric thing NYRB is so good at rescuing from obscurity.
16:24 (Click here for a dispeptic divagation on one of the blurbs on the back cover.)

A blurb by Marjorie Perloff

Marjorie Perloff’s blurb on the back cover of The Mathematical Sublime is an inadvertant description of exactly what bothers me about too much contemporary poetics and criticism. Why shouldn’t a critic be able to handle both langpo and formalism? Why does such eclecticism strike Perloff as so remarkably rare? Everyone outside Academia is exuberantly, unapologetically, and often instinctively eclectic.

I agree with her that Mark Scroggins is “unpredictably brilliant and persuasive.” I’m just annoyed because her blurb reminds me that everything she praises him for shouldn’t be so damn unusual. If you’re a cultural critic, you have one job: to range as widely and deeply as possible through human culture and send back reports of your remarkable discoveries. Perloff is praising the window frame when she should be admiring the view. And her blurb implies she doesn’t look out very many windows.