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A miscellany of recent more or less literary links:

  • More on the July 4 passing of Thomas M. Disch (see below):

[H]e proclaimed himself God, and encouraged readers to set up shrines in their back gardens, so that their gardening tools would be tax-deductible.

  • John Clute in a long appreciation/memorial in The Independent declares Disch "one of the very best second-rank poets of the later 20th century in America." 
  • The McKie and Clute links both come via the recently reactivated m john harrison blog.  Harrison, who knew Disch from the "New Wave"/New Worlds era of the late '60s, provides his own view as well:

He was the best of us.

  • Speaking of M. John Harrison, whose splendid Viriconium I just finished rereading: he reports that he has an essay/review on H.P. Lovecraft forthcoming in the Guardian, which should be worth a look.  Meanwhile he helpfully provides a link to a 1933 newsreel interview with Lovecraft.  It bears itself with an air of verisimilitude, but . . . .
  • John Lanchester, in the London Review of Books, declares himself an "abject fan" of the Library of America, which is now up to its 177th volume:

I own, I find, ten of its volumes: three of Parkman, one each of Henry James, Adams, Baldwin, Frost and Stevens, the new [Edmund] Wilson, and an anthology of writing about baseball.  The books are lovely, lovely objects.  They are about the nicest books I have.  American books are in general printed to much higher standards than British books.  (Ask publishers about that, and they always say that it’s to do with economies of scale: five times as big an audience equals higher print runs equals lower costs equals the possibility to make nicer books.  So they say.)  The Library takes that tendency about as far as it will go: it’s hard not to take the volumes down from the shelves and stroke them, like a Bond villain fondling a cat.

Purrrrr.  I have maintained a subscription to the Library for years now.  Under Lanchester's influence, I counted my own LOA holdings up the other evening, and discovered that I have just recently topped 100 of them.  Oh, dear.  (And that is without even counting the dozen or so volumes I have accumulated from the Library's little sibling, the American Poets Project.)   If Lanchester is "abject," I've no idea what epithet is sufficient to convey my pathetic devotion to the series. 

  • Strict grammarian and law firm disciplinarian Dan Hull of What About Clients? reports that he has been

busy debriefing and then terminating summer help that can't or won't proofread drafts of court documents and check cites because they 'didn't really believe' all along that that was their job, and that we were just joshing.

*Sigh*   While Dan is preoccupied with sacking summer associates and proffering proofreading advice, we caution him to beware the inexorable workings of . . . Muphry's Law:

Muphry's Law dictates that (a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written; (b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book; (c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; (d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

[Via Radley Balko.]


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