BAFFLING ENCYCLOPEDIA.

A piece by Robert Woolsey of KCAW describes what Zackary Sholem Berger, who sent me the link, justly calls a “comic-tragic” story:

A new encyclopedia of the Tlingit language has teachers in Sitka scratching their heads. The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort.
The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers.

I won’t try to summarize the story, but I will say that if you produce a “Hlingit Word Encyclopedia” that is unintelligible to actual Tlingit speakers, you’ve gone seriously astray…. although the author’s “rationale for the huge investment in time and energy in the book may ultimately have little to do with whether or not it is accepted.” It’s a weird world, folks.

Comments

  1. This sounds like a Borges short story in the making.

  2. If her next project is a “Celtic” dictionary, I imagine people will find that baffling too.

  3. Given the description of her inspiration and methodology in that article, does the word “scholar” really belong there? Found her Maori Encyclopedia on Google books, and scanning through a few pages sets alarm bells ringing.

  4. And I guess I should’ve put this in my first comment, but comparing some words in her Maori encyclopedia with their entries in the Maori dictionary here (http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/) brings up a few disagreements.

  5. You can see Ms Lambert’s company’s homepage here: http://www.weintl.net/index.html
    Seems like a pretty interesting person (how many other female druids have you heard of?) but not a “scholar” in the conventional sense.

  6. Eimear Ní Mhéalóid says:

    It’s cargo cult “scholarship”.

  7. My favorite bit:

    I think often I’m led spiritually, and I don’t make my decisions with the full knowledge of the situation.

    And then there’s this, from her website:

    “I am an outsider, but I have the wisdom to know this. Partly because I’m coming at it from a more ancient viewpoint than anyone else. That’s my mode of operation.”

    We should count ourselves lucky, folks, that Ms. Lambert has not decided to channel her energies elsewhere for, as an apocryphal quote by Fidel Castro reminds us, an enterprising idiot is worse than a hundred thousand counter-revolutionaries. Ms. Lambert could have started a political movement or – God forbid – a religion and then we’d be in a heap of trouble.

  8. Yes, I have to agree with bulbul: better she should be producing baffling reference works than seductive cults!

  9. marie-lucie says:

    It is not clear if “scholar” is a self-designation. I think not. “One-woman show” is what comes to my mind. Whatever else one can say, she is certainly energetic and fearless.
    Her website has a number of sections (ranging from Maori to Gaulish, of all things!), but I was disappointed that about half of them could not be opened. In the parts that were accessible, bits and pieces of both common and arcane information from varied sources appeared to have been thoroughly recycled in a unique, highly original mix.

  10. I pride myself on being virulently anti-patriotic, yet I cringer to see a loon like this one dragging NZ’s name into the mire of derision. Sadly, it seems that anything more than half-baked is viewed as overcooked by many people, so I’m sure she will do well.

  11. She actually started out with real and useful but very difficult to interpret data. Swanton 1909 and 1911 are two publications on Tlingit that are widely available and out of copyright, so they are an alluring source to start from. Problem is, John R. Swanton had a tin ear. To take one small example, the plural suffix is -xʼ which is a velar ejective fricative. Swanton decided to transcribe this as -q!, meaning a *uvular* ejective *stop*; two points of error for a single sound. He messed up a lot of other sounds too, and basically missed tone though sometimes accurately transcribing stress.
    This phonological misinterpretation might not matter so much, but Swanton also suffered from the limited linguistic theory of non-Indo-European languages at the time. His morphological analyses are often quite wrong, generalized from either IE-centric categories or from excessive comparison to Haida which Swanton had worked on previously. Further, he was hampered by having to work via Chinook Jargon, which as a trade language was semantically and syntactically impoverished and which was nobody’s first language in the area. Some of his ideas about Tlingit are still useful, but often his segmentation and translation are deeply flawed and must be discarded. He did good work but it was very preliminary and not at all comparable with his still useful analysis of Haida.
    The result is that you have to know quite a bit about Tlingit to do meaningful things with Swanton’s data. But non-specialists, including professional linguists, don’t know this. So we repeatedly get weird things published about Tlingit which are taken from Swanton’s difficult materials and not checked against any other descriptions of the language. This is a simple fact that everyone working on Tlingit has to deal with, and we try to educate non-specialists as nicely as possible.
    This woman’s work is not only based on that flawed data that needs careful interpretation, but she’s also an enthusiastic and very unprincipled amateur with no corrective feedback in her labours. Her work is largely imagination built upon the occasional piece of reality. I seriously wonder if she has some sort of mental illness, or else she simply must not care about reality and other people. It’s really rather sad how badly she has deluded herself. The book itself is garbage and really only useful for lighting fires. Hopefully it won’t bring more crackpot attention to Tlingit, because we need less imaginative nonsense and more real linguistics.

  12. but an obvious and not very comic question arises: how that work of many years and many pages has been financed?
    and, sorry for an off-topic, but I’ve long wanted to ask, Mumbo-Jumbo, is it a real language or an invention of British imperialists?

  13. You’re all very rude about Sally-Ann Lambert (all except m-l). Who gets to say whether she’s a scholar? Certainly not you lot. And you don’t get to call her “mentally ill”, of all things, just because you don’t like her attitude to linguistics. Wait till you get around to writing your book. Shocking.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    I looked up “Sally-Anne Lambert” on Google. She is not to be confused with “Sally Anne Lambert”, a children’s book illustrator and author based in England, who gets many more hits, and whos name sometimes shows up with a hyphen in French editions of her works, while the NZ woman always uses the hyphen.
    I found a separate web page which gave a little info, including her picture (30ish, New Age style eg “angel hair”), and in which she said she was “pioneering new methods in linguistics”! I wonder how many linguists have heard of those pioneering methods, whatever they are. Given what she wrote on the various sections of her WE site, her ignorance, and ability to get things mixed up, is breathtaking.
    I sympathize with James C. about the wrong kind of publicity about Tlingit. On the other hand, maybe this will cause some people to be intrigued by the language and to try to follow up their interest in a more serious manner.

  15. marie-lucie says:

    AJP, my first comment was tongue-in-cheek. Try reading some of the sections on her website, which I was referring to.

  16. The result is that you have to know quite a bit about Tlingit to do meaningful things with Swanton’s data. But non-specialists, including professional linguists, don’t know this. So we repeatedly get weird things published about Tlingit which are taken from Swanton’s difficult materials and not checked against any other descriptions of the language. This is a simple fact that everyone working on Tlingit has to deal with, and we try to educate non-specialists as nicely as possible.
    Shouldn’t there be more up-to-date and reliable materials by now for the non-specialist to lean on?

  17. I’m often as rude as anyone, I suppose.

  18. Michelle,
    Who gets to say whether she’s a scholar?
    That depends. Like m-l says, it is a description that is conferred, not self-applied. As to who confers it and when, that’s an interesting question. Any thoughts?
    But when it comes to Tlingit, there are actual Tlingit scholars who are in the best position to judge the value of Ms. Lambert’s contribution to the study of Tlingit. And look, they have.

  19. bulbul, you’re a gentleman and a scholar.

  20. @AJP:
    I agree that the “mentally ill” jibe was totally uncalled for, but are you seriously contending that we should be unable to challenge the characterization of her as a “scholar”?
    I wrote that she “is not a ‘scholar’ in the conventional sense”. I think that we would agree that a scholar typically has several characteristics which Ms Lambert appears to lack, such as being employed at an institution of higher education, interaction with other recognized scholars in the field, and being published by a recognized academic press. Scholars do not typically promote investment opportunities in China on their websites, or offer their services in “Celtic numerology based on your childhood memories, yoga and postural advice, diagnosis of your health by [their] hand energy, … guardian angel wisdom, astrology, herbal and dietary advice”.

  21. marie-lucie says:

    Who gets to say whether she’s a scholar?
    A “scholar” is not absolutely required to have a degree in the relevant discipline, but should demonstrate familiarity with the generally accepted principles and techniques of the discipline. In researching a topic (here, a language) this also means becoming familiar with any work already done on the topic, so as not to “reinvent the wheel” or pursue a path already discarded by one’s predecessors. Ms Lambert gives no evidence of having looked for sources on the Tlingit language other than Swanton’s work, or tried to contact linguists familiar with the language. It does not look like she even tried to find out whether there were any actual native speakers of Tlingit: why else would she take it upon herself to record a traditional text read by herself and present it “as a gift” to the Tlingit population?
    As for her ignorance: she presents this work as “a gift from a Scottish cousin”. Why a cousin? because during the fur trade, many employees of the fur companies were Scottish. She is confusing the fur trade among the Tlingit, run by Russian companies, with the fur trade in Canada and the Northwestern US, originally run by companies whose upper echelons were mostly Scottish (the lower ones being Native and French-Canadian).
    One can certainly forgive the occasional error in an otherwise serious piece of work, but her comments on the various aspects of her language/culture/mysticism work are just a tissue of gross errors, delivered with astonishing assurance. Yes, sometimes words like “deluded” or even “mentally ill” do not seem overly strong.

  22. @dw
    I think that we would agree that a scholar typically has several characteristics which Ms Lambert appears to lack, such as being employed at an institution of higher education, interaction with other recognized scholars in the field, and being published by a recognized academic press.

  23. “Deluded” is too kind an assumption — arrogance would explain this lady’s behavior just as well. She sounds the kind of “spiritual” dilettante who assumes she has access to “ancient wisdom”, and to actually talk to Tlingit people somehow isn’t necessary in order to know all about them; her offering her work as a “gift” is just breathtaking.

  24. Hat: Doubtless there are, but they’ve fallen into the copyright black hole that blocks access to post-1922 scholarship (and everything else).

  25. bulbul: As to who confers it and when, that’s an interesting question. Any thoughts?
    dw: are you seriously contending that we should be unable to challenge the characterization of her as a “scholar”? I wrote that she “is not a ‘scholar’ in the conventional sense”.
    I can see several ways in which Sally-Ann Lambert might be considered, or consider herself to be, ‘a scholar’ that don’t coincide with the narrow meaning that people here have inferred. I’ve bolded them in the following OED definitions.
    OED, scholar:

    1. a.1.a One who is taught in a school; esp. a boy or girl attending an elementary school. Often qualified by prefixed word, as Sunday, infant scholar, day-scholar. Now somewhat arch.
    b.1.b One who is receiving, or has received, his instruction or training from a particular master; a pupil (of a master). Now arch. or rhetorical.
    c.1.c transf. One who acknowledges another as his master or teacher; a disciple.
    d.1.d With qualifying adj.: One who is quick (or the reverse) at learning.
       
    2. a.2.a One who studies in the ‘schools’ at a university; a member of a university, esp. a junior or undergraduate member. Now only Hist. and in official use.
       
    †b.2.b In the Elizabethan period, often applied to one who had studied at the university, and who, not having entered any of the learned professions or obtained any fixed employment, sought to gain a living by literary work. Obs.
      
    3. a.3.a One who has acquired learning in the ‘Schools’; a learned or erudite person; esp. one who is learned in the classical (i.e. Greek and Latin) languages and their literature.
      
    b.3.b with qualifying word indicating the degree of one’s attainment.
       
    c.3.c In illiterate use, one whom the speaker regards as exceptionally learned. Often merely, one who is able to read and write. Freq. in vulgar or dial. form scholard, schollard, etc.
       
    4.4 A student who receives emoluments, during a fixed period, from the funds of a school, college, or university, towards defraying the cost of his education or studies, and as a reward of merit.
       At the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and in the University of Durham such students wear a distinctive academic dress, and have special seats in hall and chapel.
       
    5.5 attrib. and Comb., as scholar-craft, scholar-part, scholar phrase; appositive, as scholar-official, scholar-performer, scholar-poet, scholar-printer, scholar publisher, scholar-saint; †scholar-respecting adj.

      

  26. AJP,
    you’re too kind.
    hat,
    there’s for example stuff written by James A. Crippen (himself a Tlingit) and a textbook of Tlingit published by the Sealaska Heritage Institute.

  27. Knut,
    One who acknowledges another as his master or teacher; a disciple.
    But Ms. Lambert clearly does not acknowledge anyone as her teacher. Quite the contrary, she has the *wisdom* and, out of the goodness of her heart, she is willing to gift it unto the Tlingit people.
    with qualifying word indicating the degree of one’s attainment.
    Which qualifying word would you use? Incompetent? Misinformed?
    In illiterate use, one whom the speaker regards as exceptionally learned.
    I trust no one here is illiterate and Ms. Lambert appears to have mastered reading and writing well, so I don’t see how it applies.

  28. Knut, my little dove, I’m not sure why you’re so tenaciously defending this nutcase, but bolding irrelevant definitions from the OED (which of course includes all manner of obscure and obsolete senses) is not a very fruitful procedure. Surely you are aware that the world is full to bursting with people who enthusiastically promote ideas they have not bothered to verify because their Inner Light tells them they are Right; if this woman is a scholar, so is the guy who thinks aliens built the pyramids or the one who has reams of documents proving pi is exactly equal to 3. I’m the last person to defend the ivied walls of Certified Expertise, and I think all of us who hang around the Hattery are well aware that people with active minds and an awareness of how to seek knowledge can be as worth listening to as Professor Mossback regardless of credentials, but come on. This person is a crackpot with enough money to publish material which in the case of your average crackpot languishes in desk drawers because no one but the author has any interest in it.

  29. Michael Ventris was an amateur scholar, Sally-Anne Lambert ain’t.

  30. J.W. Brewer says:

    With this sort of insight, I think she ought to skip Celtic and make her next project the definitive work on Basque and the numerous other languages to which it is definitely related.

  31. marie-lucie says:

    I think dw’s definition of a scholar would fit an “established scholar”, anointed by the profession. You can be a scholar without fitting all those criteria.
    The word “scholar” was used in the article about Ms Lambert, where it seemed to correspond with OED definition c.3.c. In illiterate use, one whom the speaker regards as exceptionally learned (the illiterate here being the author of the article, impressed by the publication of the book). I would agree with calling Ms Lambert a “pseudo-scholar”, someone who might impress the uninitiated but whose work does not stand up to further examination. Another example of a pseudo-scholar was the late Barry Fell, a marine biologist who turned to “deciphering” (alleged) ancient inscriptions.
    Another criterion I should have added to my list is “willingness to recognize when one is on the wrong track and to consider other options”. Here we have indeed the example of Michael Ventris, an architect, and also a scholar, although not a professional one. He had first thought the unknown language of the Cretan inscriptions was probably Etruscan, but was willing to abandon that hypothesis when it led nowhere. Instead, when some features of the language started to look like Greek (something he did not expect), he teamed up with John Chadwick, a scholar of the earliest forms of Ancient Greek, and together they succeeded in deciphering the script to other scholars’ satisfaction.

  32. I’m not qualified to judge Sally-Ann Lambert’s work, but I was disconcerted by the unanimous (and, I felt, supercilious) rudeness of your reactions. It’s not as if she’s making trouble: neither academically, nor to Tlingit speakers, except perhaps marginally. If some guy’s walking up and down holding a The end is nigh sign, despite what you might think you’re not going to tell him he’s mentally ill. You’re not going to tell him he’s “not a scholar” – that his opinion’s not of any value, in other words – because he’s “not employed at an institution of higher education, not interacting with other recognized scholars in the field, and not being published by a recognized academic press”, because it would be a disproportionate reaction. So ease up on Sally-Ann, that’s all I’m saying really. She’s no threat.

  33. Everyone: I said she’s not a scholar IN THE CONVENTIONAL SENSE.
    OK. I’ll shut up now.

  34. J.W. Brewer says:

    Her extralinguistic interests in “Celtic numerology” and “guardian angel wisdom” seem no more crackpottish than the extralinguistic interests of, say, the well-known Prof. N. Chomsky, while being perhaps less misanthropic. This is not, of course, to assert that Chomsky is necessarily a good scholar (whatever the prestige of the presses that have published him), but simply to note that the case for the value vel non of his scholarship can be made on the basis of that scholarship itself, and pointing out his (other?) crackpot tendencies may be an unnecessary distraction. So I would give Ms. Lambert (Dr. Lambert, perhaps? even if only from some esoteric institution we have never heard of?) the same courtesy.

  35. I feel no need to extend Lambert (or Chomsky, for that matter) any courtesy whatever. Talking about books on a website is not like meeting their authors in person; of course I would not shake Lambert’s hand and say “Hi, you’re a crackpot!” But if we have to say only nice things in public about people’s publicly proclaimed ideas, useful discourse disappears.

  36. This conversation reminds me of the first question posed in my philosophy of science course: how do we distinguish astrology (generally accepted to be a pseudoscience) from “real” sciences? It turns out to be pretty difficult. The criteria you’d first reach for just don’t establish the distinctions you’d like them to.
    Now, as Professor Kasser is always quick to point out, this doesn’t mean that astrology isn’t a pseudoscience; it just means philosophy is hard. And obviously that’s what ya’ll have been doing in this thread — philosophy — trying define the term “scholar.”
    For my part, since I’m not up to the philosophy, I’m happy to accept the arguments from authority alone — i.e., the dismissals AJP objected to in this thread — because I do consider LH himself, as well as many of his blog’s denizens, to be authorities; and, much as I like AJP, I didn’t find his protestations persuasive.

  37. seem no more crackpottish than the extralinguistic interests of, say, the well-known Prof. N. Chomsky
    Care to be a little more specific? As far as I know, the extracurricular activities of prof. Chomsky seem to be confined to analysis and criticism of politics – especially US foreign policy – and media. Surely you are not suggesting those rank the same on the crackpottery scale as numerology and consulting with angels.

  38. AJP,
    It’s not as if she’s making trouble: neither academically, nor to Tlingit speakers, except perhaps marginally.
    Check the comments underneath the KCAW piece: some Tlingit speakers do feel like what she did was inappropriate, for a number of reasons. Besides, nobody is accusing Ms. Lambert of malice (which your use of the word ‘trouble’ implies), she is being criticised for being ignorant and arrogant in her ignorance.
    If some guy’s walking up and down holding a The end is nigh sign
    Oh come on, apples and hand grenades.
    You’re not going to tell him he’s “not a scholar” – that his opinion’s not of any value
    Because he is not trying act as one, whereas Ms. Lambert is. And her opinion is of no value not because I say so or hat says so, but because people with actual knowledge of the subject she writes on say so.

  39. J.W. Brewer says:

    Wrong level of generality. Study of the great pyramids, for example, is not inherently crackpottish (although for whatever reasons it’s a subject that attracts lots of crackpots). Spouting overarching theories about the conduct of U.S. foreign policy is ditto and ditto.

  40. J.W. Brewer says:

    But to pick a different and less-current example, Ezra Pound might have been very scholarly in his approach to the Provencal troubadour tradition yet a wee bit more crackpottish in his approach to monetary theory. Freedom from crackpottery in other areas is not a consistent characteristic of people who do worthwhile scholarship in a single area.

  41. Spouting overarching theories about the conduct of U.S. foreign policy is ditto and ditto.
    In the past few months, I have publicly defended
    - journalists (my hate for them burns with the heat of a thousand suns);
    - capitalism (Bandiera rossa la trionferà!); and
    - Microsoft (and I spend my days working with VBA).
    I never thought it would come to this, but here it is: I am actually defending Noam Chomsky. Not his work in linguistics, mind you, I still think is unholy nonsense. But there is nothing in his works on, say, US foreign policy that even approaches crackpottery. He may be overgeneralizing here and ignoring stuff there, but unlike his works on linguistics, his analysis is most of the time firmly grounded in reality. In fact, even if he were to spout overarching theories about the conduct of US foreign policy (which he bloody well isn’t), nothing short of arguing that the upper echalons of US government have been replaced by Goa’uld agents equals the crackpottery of conferring with angels and numerology.
    Seriously, me, defending Chomsky? I need a drink…

  42. Guys, can we steer away from the politics, please? It’ll only end in tears. One of the reasons I like this site is because it successfully avoids most threads ending in a political brawl. Unlike 99.99999% of the blogosphere.

  43. I’ve actually seen politics discussed here rather civilly — and, come to think of it, arcane linguistic topics (like, say, word aversion) battled over as if by 3-year-old brothers. Of course, the battles are the exceptions. Mostly we stick to our indoor voices, and I think that has more to do with the people than the topics.
    However, as far as I’m concerned, JCass, as you wish.

  44. marie-lucie says:

    Whatever one might think of Chomsky’s contributions to either linguistics or political discourse, he keeps these two lines of enquiry quite separate and does not mix up the two, let alone argue from one to the other.
    Ms Lambert’s interests in yoga, numerology, angels, etc could indeed be as irrelevant to the quality of her language work as another person’s interest in bicycling or pottery or playing the guitar, but channeling the wisdom of her Celtic ancestors seems to play an important role in her various activities, including her language research (as she mentions on her WE website).
    The Tlingit book is only one of her many projects. Among others, she is also planning to rewrite the history of English, and to prove that French is a direct descendant of Gaulish (a Celtic language), as well as being the future lingua franca. She had been planning to do something to preserve the “endangered” Korean language, and was somewhat surprised to find out in Korea that the language was alive and well.
    Do such projects sound like those of a serious linguistic scholar with suitable qualifications (however acquired)?

  45. Guys, can we steer away from the politics, please?
    No problem. But, for the record, he started it!
    *runs away to hide in the corner with his wroom-wroom*

  46. J.W. Brewer says:

    I do apologize for putting bulbul in such an embarrassing predicament, especially coming as it does on the heels of my posting a url which made grumbly stu melancholy and ashamed in another thread . . . Consider the particular, perhaps ill-chosen, example of the broader point I was hoping to make withdrawn.
    Would a less controversial example be Jack Parsons, who himself reportedly viewed his scientific-technical life’s work (as a brilliant aeronautical engineer associated with Cal Tech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and his crackpot life’s work (as a disciple of Aleister Crowley and a key vector introducing the Crowleyan style of ceremonial “magick” into the U.S.) as fully integrated with each other?

  47. No apologies necessary, J.W., it is, after all, a recurring theme.
    Jack Parsons is a great example, but did his mystical side really influence his scientific work that much?

  48. Jamessalmuch as I like AJP, I didn’t find his protestations persuasive.
    Booo, maybe my heart’s not in it. I’ll leave it to JW, he’s very persuasive.

  49. JW: fully integrated with each other
    So did Newton, with his alchemy. Did his mystical side really influence his scientific work that much? I bet it did with Newton.

  50. I’ll leave it to JW, he’s very persuasive.
    Yes, he is, indeed — I’m still nursing a few bruises from our last head-to-head (over inclusions in the AHD5, I think). But I missed it if he had defended the quack in question, in particular, as opposed to arguing the issue more generally.
    Re Newton, my dad still defends alchemy on the grounds that it intrigued the Great Man. (Now, I assume it goes without saying that I’m the only one allowed to tease my daddy.)

  51. Yes, I agree with dad. If it’s good enough for Newton it’s good enough for me. Even if he’s wrong, better to be mad like Newton than sane like the rest.
    I was thinking of JW’s comment at February 6, 2012 10:38 AM, which I took to be a more articulate version of what I was trying to say.

  52. Ah, I missed that one! But I’ll agree with (read: hide behind) Hat’s immediate response.
    My dad will be glad to hear you’re in his camp.

  53. LH, belated thanks for the link and the resultant welcome Hatalanche in my bloghits.

  54. marie-lucie says:

    Before the thread gets closed because of spam: googling “Hlingit” leads to (among other things) a review on Google books (with an extended quotation) and also sample pages of the book.
    The title “Hlingit word encyclopedia” is quite misleading, since the book deals with far more than Tlingit “etymology, grammar and vocabulary”. The author has very little idea of what “etymology” would entail, but constantly compares Tlingit words to Scottish Gaelic ones which are vaguely similar, since she thinks that the two languages are related. There are also sudden digressions on all sorts of topics, for instance considerations on the anatomy of Neanderthal voice production (she thinks “Celtic-Neanderthal” was an early language, if not quite the equivalent of Proto-World). The book is unclassifiable, as well as incoherent, and only people who have only glanced at it without knowing anything about language, let alone the Tlingit language, could imagine that it is worthy of serious consideration. If there are nuggets of useful information here and there, they are few and far between. Booksellers list the book as suitable for the “secondary level”. I can’t imagine foisting this book on high school students and expecting them to learn anything!
    In comments on the thread about the Chinese book from the sky, Vanya makes a comparison between the two works. Unfortunately, while the Chinese artist is a consummate craftsman who knows exactly what he is doing, Lambert just gives the impression of jumping up and down all over the place, picking up and throwing stuff around at random.

  55. Yes, Marie-lucie, based on your description of Lambert’s book I agree the comparison isn’t particularly apt.

  56. marie-lucie says:

    Actually, Vanya, while I was writing this the word “surrealist” came to my mind before I remembered you had suggested it applied to both works. The Surrealists liked to pretend they were crazy, but Lambert is not pretending.

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