Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Family weekend and Anatomies galore

I'm quite looking forward to the next four days. We have a whole bunch of relatives flying in tomorrow night for the hubby's convocation on Friday: his mum, dad, brother, sister-in-law, two aunts, a cousin, and our nephew. It promises to be a weekend full of fun tourist activities (Peggy's Cove, Pier 21, downtown, the farmer's market), great food (dinner at Rocco's on Friday and The Shore Club on Saturday for lobster), and lots of company. That and the hubby graduating with his LLB; it's a big weekend! The one thing that I don't like about Halifax is being isolated from our families, so the chance to see everyone for a few days will be lovely. It's going to be tough to get any work done with so many activities planned, but I'll fit it in somehow.

I'm doing some fascinating work today on Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, which is a mish-mash of all sorts of things--quotations, recipes, medical advice--all relating to the causes and cures of melancholy. Frye claims that Burton's style is what he based that of the Anatomy of Criticism on; as well, Wilkinson's writes a poem called "Notes on Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy," all of which are useful connections between Wilkinson and Frye. I'm going through Wilkinson's poem and finding the places in Burton that Wilkinson is referring to so that I can figure out if she's simply restating what he's written, or satirizing it. Luckily, there are a number of online versions, so it's as easy as typing key phrases into the "Find" function.

There's one passage that I'm pretty sure Wilkinson thinks is total nonsense, in a section called "Consider The Excellencies of Virgins":

And although there be some inconveniences, irksomeness, solitariness, &c., incident to such persons [who choose to remain virgins], want of those comforts, quae, aegro assideat et curet aegrotum, fomentum paret, roget medium, &c., embracing, dalliance, kissing, colling, &c., those furious motives and wanton pleasures a new-married wife most part enjoys; yet they are but toys to be endured, if conferred to those frequent encumbrances of marriage. [Burton 5807-8]

Do you think Burton had some problems with sex? Or marriage? Putting his questionable opinions aside, the poetry is fantastic, and it is incredibly fun to be working with it like this. I find it sad that poetry isn't something that many people read for simple enjoyment anymore; Wilkinson's is well worth it, if you get the chance.