Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Like a Spider

Mitzi Walbank, "Growing up with Polybius: A Daughter's Memoir," Polybius and his world. Essays in memory of F.W. Walbank, edd. Bruce Gibson and Thomas Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 353-358 (at 355):
Frank's study had always remained the same and survived many changes of rooms and moving of homes. It had its own smell, of books, of peace. He sat at its centre and knew where each book was, like a spider in its web's centre feeling down the strands for some vibration, his mind extended out onto the shelves. When in his late nineties he was unable to climb the stairs, he would send us off to fetch down a book with precise and accurate instructions. His grandson James Walbank was later to write of that study:
                                           This place
Smells of old paper and words, of the desk
And chair and of time and wonder.
Frank sat here to work.
Sometimes I crept secretly in and drank in its atmosphere, or read the words on the spines of books. What might a Pauly Wissowa be?
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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