Tag Archives: Max Arnott.

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Acme is not a name used very much anymore, but as one goes around Toronto, one may see an Acme bar, or an Acme laundry, and imagine these as the last traces of the once powerful Acme Corporation, widely diversified, famous for supplying weapons, all useless, to the Coyote in his pursuit of the Roadrunner.
There are ghost corporations, and there are ghost languages…

Sometimes, a suggestion from the crowd, though of little merit in itself, may stir those who are wiser to correction and emendation, and so initiate the subsequent creation of something really worth while.
One might imagine a scene from the Paleolithic:
Younger tribesman:  Say chaps, I’ve got a smashing idea. Tonight, when we’re all sitting about, why don’t we sit around a…

Any largish institution, any home in fact, will find itself with odd accumulations of . . . stuff: old shipping documents, tax reports, Christmas decorations from the Mesolithic.  This happens a lot to public libraries.
Down in our workroom is a small metal truck, the kind used to transport files between offices, full, over full, of old phonograph records, mostly LP’s.…

Each of the seven deadly vices, Pride, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Lust, Envy and Gluttony, has had defenders. Wrath, or Rage is very chic. Even Sloth can get a pass if you rename it Spiritual Deadness. Add a good café and some Gauloises and you have modern continental philosophy.
Notice too, that five of these basic no-doubt-about-it sins have simple, one-syllable names.…

The change from scroll to codex (aka “Book”) must have been a bit by bit business.
At first, only Christians had codices for their “gospels.”  Then, as the Christians multiplied, this new format began to show up in the bookstalls, at first only Christian material, then Christian oriented material, then all sorts of regular topics, and finally even the dear poets…

Above the staff computers in the fourth floor workroom, which is on the 1st floor and has been for months and months – the library has contractors – are two shelves of old and rather drab books.
We often find ourselves reaching up for some of these and taking one down to examine. To say why is not easy.
What we have is…

Can it be that by looking very hard at something, we sometimes miss what we are staring at?
The prophet Isaiah comes into the gospels and the Christian tradition in a large way, but ordinary familiarity usually comes in snippets – bits of Handel, partial recollection of Michelangelo's painting and the story of the Ethiopian eunuch . . .
Dissatisfied with this, and having…

Your essayist has a new job on the fourth floor of Toronto’s reference library, working in languages and literature. Hence, the new title of this feature.  Also, in future columns, we will likely lean a little more on L&L, especially linguistics, though not forgetting Chesterton and his crowd.
Who could forget GKC?
A close friend has just read The Devil in the…

In what we have written here over the months about G.K. Chesterton, we have gone on and on about Chesterton the essayist and about Chesterton the newspaper man, and Chesterton the apologist, and it does seem to us that this is the valuable core-wood . . .
But to the world, Chesterton means the Father Brown detective stories.
Now, the world has its…

 .  . . the changes of this modern climate ever since the seventeenth century have become the subject of Basil Willey’s perceptive and extensive Background studies, beginning in 1934.

 – Eric Voegelin,  “On Classical Studies”


 
Who was Basil Willey, what were his Background studies, how good were they, and how, beyond pietas ad mortuos, can we profit by them?
Basil…