Xmas Loot 2014.

I’m back from my sister-in-law’s, full of her excellent cannelloni; herewith for those interested the presents of LH relevance that I have received (there was also the traditional scotch and some good music):

The Extraordinary Decade: Literary Memoirs, by P. V Annenkov

Challenging the Bard: Dostoevsky and Pushkin, a Study of Literary Relationship, by Gary Rosenshield

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul, by Charles King

Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities, by James Turner

Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930, by Karen V. Hansen

I’m looking forward to all of them; my hearty thanks to the generous givers! Not a gift, but it feels like one because it was free (the author is giving it away at his site), is Изломанный аршин: трактат с примечаниями by Samuil A. Lurie; Anatoly raved about it so convincingly I downloaded it forthwith and am looking forward to plunging in. It’s a work of literary history and criticism focusing on the unjustly despised (at the time) and since forgotten Nikolai Polevoy, a true man of the people, and the decade of the 1830s; it will make an excellent companion to the Annenkov book about the 1840s, which I’ve been wanting to read for years and which my wonderful wife got me. Season’s greetings to all!

Comments

  1. Merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to what you have to say about “Philology” — I’ve had my eye on that one myself.

  2. Seconded! Merry Christmas, and thank you again for the gift of this blog– which yesterday’s chance need to dig up an old email made me realize I’ve been reading now for almost a decade.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    OK, in a hope to get the thread going. Is Polevoy with his background a “true man of the people”? Something very different from the aristocrats around him, granted, and an important contributor to the broadening of Russia’s intellectual horizon, quite likely, but his life must have been just as far removed from that of “the people”. And as I read Wikipedia’s short biography, his project was not about tearing down, or leveling out, or (at least not initially) opening up, but being let in.

  4. Well, not exactly Christmas loot, but something I bought for myself two weeks ago. At Powell’s (q.v. in an earlier post) I picked up some rarities for cheap. One, which I wasn’t sure if I should even have it in my house, proved irresistible for $10: Lanyon-Orgill’s Captain Cook’s South Sea Island Vocabularies (self-published, London 1979). What at first seems a very useful compilation of the various published and unpublished vocabularies from Cook’s voyages, takes a brow-raising turn with a discussion of the unpublished manuscripts of William Lanyon, a physician on Cook’s voyages and an ancestor to the compiler. What this turns out to be is a unique case of pathological scholarship, reviewed with detail and relish by Paul Geraghty (here; scroll about halfway down.)

  5. For Christmas my wife gave me John McWhorter’s “The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language,” and I’d finished it before nightfall. I’m surely preaching to the choir, but I think some readers of this blog will find it a fun elucidation of the limits of Whorfian fantasies.

  6. Is Polevoy with his background a “true man of the people”? Something very different from the aristocrats around him, granted, and an important contributor to the broadening of Russia’s intellectual horizon, quite likely, but his life must have been just as far removed from that of “the people”.

    Well, he wasn’t a serf, obviously, and that’s not what I meant to imply. But compared to the aristos who had been running Russian literature, he was a man of the people, and his History of the Russian People was an attempt to correct the top-down approach of Karamzin and take history away from the tsars and their minions, which for the time was downright heroic (and he paid the price).

    Incidentally, I notice that I created the Polevoy article back in 2008, which I had completely forgotten! Nobody’s done much with it since; maybe after I’ve read the Lurie book I’ll revise it.

Speak Your Mind

*