Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I have to finish the section of my dissertation on the history of philology, this week or the next, and I've been writing it for about three years. When I began this blog actually, I was writing about, reading about, dreaming about Philology, the maiden in the De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii.  

I think I wrote this poem last year, almost complete. I was wishing I was more like Philology I think, seeing her as a model for myself.


The days are longer and
I sit in bed and read and dream
about Philology who
finally found her mate.

She was younger than me,
a virgin and she didn't have
experience, but she valued the word
and her knowledge was great.

Philosophy played to the dinner plate.
Harmony composed lines
more beautiful than
anyone could understand.

Hail the new dawn!

A marriage to the letter
is all I ever wanted and
the body of the book is
kinder than that of man.
I stopped and prayed.
I didn't think. I tried to find
the beginning of this questioning
which always was, which never began.

I'll take it home tonight
and meet it there.
I'll take it to bed.
We'll stay there.

I've had trouble, well, trouble, it's taken me a long time to finish this part of my dissertation because I couldn't really figure out why I was writing it. I mean, I knew I had to write it, that it was a part of my work, but I couldn't articulate why. Now I think I know. Those men, philologists, I'm trained by, I come after, they had all the science of the letter right, but they had lost the love. They had the logos of philology but they had lost the philia, which comes first, really. Or they had lost, in any case, their connection to it, their ability to let it help them create meaning. I saw that in earlier representations of philology, love was still there (Philology was a maiden, a princess, a wife, a mistress) and somewhere along the line, we stopped understanding medieval texts because we stopped loving learning as they did. So that's my argument really. I think I can finish it now that I know. I'm not entirely sure what the implications are if a female personification of philology helps us love writing and reading more, and understand old texts better, but I think it does. It helps me understand myself actually, and be more loving towards my own striving, as well as to my own resistance to learning. The very laziness of my grasping brain.

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