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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

William Empson

Hoisted from a comment by Crispinella, here's a picture of William Empson.

Wow, look at that beard...or at least I think it's a beard. For reasons I can't explain, I'm finding myself increasingly fascinated by Empson, so much so that I'm considering buying Volume I of John Haffenden's biography of him (Volume II will be out in January). I don't guess anyone out there has read these, have they?

  • At 11/29/2006 11:50:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    I could see a bio of Empson being thoroughly enjoyable--he was an interesting guy. Maybe I'll read it too. I've taught Empson occasionally and it always strikes grad students just how contemporary he still seems.


  • At 11/29/2006 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    From the Publishers Weekly blurb on Amazon:

    ...his academic career, fostered by I.A. Richards, was derailed by scandal after a housekeeper's discovery of prophylactics in his possession clinched suspicions that Empson had a female visitor in his rooms ...

    I knew he was interesting.

    Ordered and on its way.


  • At 11/30/2006 12:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    where did the housekeeper discover the prophs? under all that neck hair?


  • At 11/30/2006 03:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    It's kind of a sub-beard, isn't it? Perhaps an under-beard? What I like about it is the consideration that's obviously gone into it: "I will grow a beard, but it will not be on my chin. No, it will be just under my chin." Even the most baroque facial hair of my undergrads doesn't measure up to this.

    He's fascinating, and his criticism is genuinely funny in places (he's entertainly catty about J. Dover Wilson in the Shakespeare collection I've been reading, for instance). A colleague has been devouring vol. 1 of Haffenden and says that it's excellent.


  • At 11/30/2006 08:31:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Yeah, it kind of looks like a Santa costume gone bad. And thanks for the info on Haffenden, which I'm clearly going to have to buy.


  • At 11/30/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    It's like neck hair out of control. Maybe he doesn't think he has a beard. He just doesn't understand that he's got to shave past his chin.


  • At 11/30/2006 08:21:00 PM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    It might also be a ruff made out of My Little Pony mane.


  • At 12/01/2006 07:25:00 PM, Blogger dhawhee wrote…

    mercy, those last four comments are HILARIOUS.


 Scribble some marginalia

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