Commonplace book

by Henry Farrell on April 7, 2004

From Steven Brust, _The Lord of Castle Black_, p.128.

bq.. “It is sad,” observed Grassfog, “that our friend here is dead, and we have no wine.”

“It is your custom,” inquired Piro, “to become drunk when a friend dies?”

“Not in the least,” said Grassfog. “I was merely making an observation about two conditions that are both true, and both regrettable.”

A Sense of the Passed

by John Holbo on April 7, 2004

Our first text for tonight comes from Lionel Trilling’s “Manners, Morals, and the Novel”, delivered in 1947 at Kenyon College and available in your local copy of The Liberal Imagination. The great man had been instructed to inform about ‘manners in relation to the novel’. Here he indicates the proportions of his subject, making points that have all been made before, no doubt, but making them exceedingly well and elegantly:

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Shelf Life

by Kieran Healy on April 7, 2004

Some comments to “this post”: by Ted raised the question of the public face of academic disciplines, as seen at Barnes and Noble or Borders. The shelf-test isn’t perfect, of course, because not every field needs to have a public face, even chain bookstores vary quite widely, and Borders and Barnes and Noble are not really meant for academics. But they _are_ meant for everyone, and academics must form part of that category. (This reminds me, by the by, of an example from the late, great “Dick Jeffrey”: “Everybody loves my baby, but my baby don’t love nobody but me” goes the song. Who is my baby?) So, what can we learn about the social sciences and humanities from a visit to the local book barn?

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Lucus a non lucendo

by Daniel on April 7, 2004

In Latin, a lucus is a “dark grove”. In the eighteenth century, British etymologists decided that the word lucus came from the root verb lucere, meaning “to shine”. The idea was that a lucus was called a lucus because there was no lucendo going on there. The fact that this explanation achieved currency among schoolmasters gives you some sort of idea of the desperate state of Classical scholarship in Britain in the eighteenth century[1], by way of an introductory toccata to a short but ill-tempered discussion on another field in which truly terrible explanations are par for the course; Evolutionary Psychology. People who have read Henry’s comments in the same area are excused this one.

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I had a piece on the BBC News site yesterday. A few people have kindly sent me notes letting me know about this so I thought I should blog it so people know that I am aware of my article on the BBC site. ;-)

I should clarify that my motivation for writing this piece – or any other that mentions Google for that matter – is not a reflection of any personal love or hate relationship I may have with Google.. or any other search engine for that matter. My thoughts on the topic are a result of studying how average Internet users (as in not just me, or just some of my friends and colleagues) find information online. I have tried to make this increasingly explicit in my writing in order to avoid people sending me emotionally charged notes about how I am misunderstanding that one particular company. This part seems to be getting better as no one this time sent me messages explaining to me how to use Google to make the most of it. (Believe me, I know how to use search engines, learning those skills was the least I could do while writing a dissertation on how people find content online.:)