The funky-literate blog Resplendant Reflections/Roving Revistas has returned from a season in the land of Hiatus freed of its dependency on Blogger and as full of pizzazz as ever—but now with added pictures! Check it out:

Like a dog out looking for a long-buried bone I emerge! Went and briefly connected with friends at the bustling and disorganized (French) cafe which I haunt, then meandered like a sleep-walker through the streets to the Strand bookstore. They now have 16 miles of books, not the much-vaunted pardon-the-pun-pedestrian 8! Thus it was an act of deep concentration not to continue my sonnambulist ways in the midst of such temptation; but I did well, I think: a better Spanish dictionary, several inexpensive calendars, The Unstrung Harp and The Willowdale Handcar—both by that Prince of Dark Humor, Edward Gorey—for the Consumerist High Holy Days, plus my own treasure, Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett.
Smollett? you ask, incredulous. A jazzophile reading 18th century pomposities? Nay, dear reader, check him out; this is English swift as rapier, imagination unchained, the beginnings of the English language novel before we became indentured to drab seriousness and grunt realism.

Welcome back, o Smollett-loving jazzbo!


  1. I agree with him about novels. I can’t stand serious social fiction any more. Smollett is on my list; he has a bad reputation in the best sense of the word.
    My rule now is that fiction should be stories that are in some way more interesting than the average person’s story, and about people who are in some way more interesting than the average person. Take that, John Updike! (Et al.)

  2. Smollett is great. I really must read Roderick Random again soon since I remember it being my favourite novel of his. The reference to “the beginnings of the English language novel before we became indentured to drab seriousness and grunt realism” reminds me of a radio programme I heard about Smollett’s great French forerunner Le Sage and his novel Gil Blas. The host of the programme was a British guy who had always loved Gil Blas in the translation by Smollett. He wanted to find out whether Le Sage still had any influence on French literature today and he interviewed a succession of sniffy critics and literati who turned their noses up at this ‘minor figure’. Finally he came across Michel Deon (an old novelist whose work I’m afraid I don’t know), who had loved Le Sage since he was a boy (his teacher had recommended Gil Blas by saying, “Go on, read this, you’ll love it”). When the interviewer told him that no one in fashionable circles read Le Sage any more, Deon paused for a moment -and even though this was radio, you could see the look of contempt on his face- then said: “Well, maybe that’s why they are all so boring nowadays.” Three cheers for Deon and long live Smollett and Le Sage!

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