Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ancient Text Unearthed

Want to know what John Kinsella's reading up at Lake Forest was like? Talk to Josh.

Want to know the qualities of the ideal critic? Ask Mark.

Mark's reflections had me thinking about a never-performed musical I wrote with some of my pals back in grad school, in between episodes of not quite writing my dissertation and thinking about drinking more coffee. The musical, a mish-mash of Gilbert and Sullivan tunes, was about our professors and various academic stars of the day, each annoucing his or her scholarly/critical ethos in song. This may be the only surviving fragment, sung by a caricature of a prominent Shakespeare scholar to the tune of "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General":

I am the very model of an early modern pedagogue —
I'm versed in Milton, Chaucer and most parts of the old decalogue.
My lexicon is latinate, you see I'm quite the philologue:
I quote the ancient texts in both their sources and their an-a-logues...

My methods are archaic, my young colleagues call me "trilobite,"
So rarely am I out of doors I'm taken for a troglodyte
I annotated Cymbelene well into my own wedding night —
I know that it is all worthwhile, for lo! how I wax er-u-dite...

Yeah. Well, you asked for it, so I suppose you shouldn't really complain. (I'm hoping, by the way, that Ron Silliman will find a grad student to comb through it for quotations from Quine).