LibriVox and the Cornucopia of the Commons

Or why “Have Fun!” is the most important thing you’ll ever hear in the LibriVox fora. From a classic discussion of self-interest as applied to shared grazing-land: Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin… Read more »

Wharton’s The Valley of Childish Things, and Other Emblems

I recorded this collection of short parables by Edith Wharton a few months ago, as a sound test for my latest recording booth. It’s just been catalogued and is now available for general listening: [audio:] (13:48) In the introduction to another of her short story collections, she wrote: “To a generation for whom everything which… Read more »

“Levelling up” in 1873

I was reading “The Intellectual Life” by P.G. Hamerton the other day, as you do. It’s a book of hypothetical letters to some imaginary friends around the theme of being a proper Victorian intellectual (it was published in 1873.) And in one essay, I was much amused to find an unexpectedly-modern usage of the term… Read more »

The Pirate Library

My original idea for this website was to create an Encyclopedia Piratica, hence the domain name. However, I never found the time and energy to do the vast amount of work required; too much time spent proof-reading and recording audiobooks. However, this weekend I’ve sat down and used a few different resources to pull together… Read more »

A Belated Happy New Year 2009

My New Year Revolutions didn’t really get made this year, but I have some ideas in my head about numbers that I’d like to hit this year, including 100hrs of LibriVox recordings, something about posts, something about podcasts, something about blog posts. I’m signed up to the One-Book-a-Week challenge again, but knowing the pace I… Read more »

English History, Dickens-style

Ah, it’s lovely to have behaving again … all sorts of long-ago recordings of mine are finding their way home, finally.  Like my contribution to A Child’s History of England by Charles Dickens … I read the chapters England Under Richard the Second and England Under Henry the Fourth, Called Bolingbroke last June.  Most of… Read more »

In which I confess being a cake muncher muncher

Ah, lovely Gertrude Stein! From By departing from conventional meaning, grammar and syntax, she attempted to capture “moments of consciousness,” independent of time and memory. Or to put it another way, in Stein’s own words: A steady cake, any steady cake is perfect and not plain, any steady cake has a mounting reason and… Read more »

Kafka, anorexia and the sadism of the audience

My reading of the short story A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka, translated by Ian Johnston, has just been catalogued.  Hunger artists are, of course, people who starve publically — in a performance sense, not a documentary-on-countries-with-famine sense.  Linking getting thinner with getting the public’s attention has media-anorexia overtones, though masochism and traditional views of… Read more »

A Sailor’s What?

In the Articles of War established for the government of the English Navy, in Art. 32, after providing with respect to this offence [sodomy] and other species of impurity that they “shall be punished with death” it is added without mercy. […] Of all the offences of which a man in the maritime service can be guilty,… Read more »

Damned bloudie oaths!

From a Nineteenth C. book on the life and times of Shakespeare … “The diminutive oaths, mentioned at the close of [a previous quote], were, unfortunately, considered as ornaments of conversation, and adopted by both sexes, in order to give spirit and vivacity to their language; a shocking practice, which seems to have been rendered fashionable… Read more »