||[Jun. 9th, 2010|10:48 am]
I dreamed I was moving house- and the removal men were at the door and I'd forgotten to pack my books- so there I was- with my female assistant- tumbling them off the shelves into bags, sacks, pillowcases- whatever was available.
I'm reading Citizens- Simon Schama's history of the French Revolution. It's awfully good. If a fictional narrative starts to cough and splutter all the writer has to do- according to Raymond Chandler- is have a man come through the door with a gun- but an historian doesn't have that resource. He can't invent a thing. It amazes me how such a very big book, with a cast of thousands, which has to be constructed entirely out of facts- many of them to do with economics and dull stuff like that- can still be so gripping.
I'm waiting- impatiently- for the delivery of a copy of Walter de la Mare's Winged Chariot- a long, meditative poem about the nature of time. I used to own one- a first edition no less- but I sold it when money was tight and have regretted it ever since. De La Mare's stock has fallen- and this copy- in good nick according to the seller- cost me a mere £2.80 on Amazon. It's a late work- written when de la Mare was around 80. I like de la Mare's later poetry: it's twistier, more metaphysical than the earlier, chiming, fairyland lyrics he's best remembered for- but no less beautiful.