Wednesday, November 18, 2020
A Holy Text
When I was first a student at Sydney University in the late 1950s, my teacher George Russell, himelf a scholar of the Middle Ages, placed his copy of Curtius's masterpiece on a lectern, opened it as if it were a holy text and said: 'This is a great book.'Si parvum (Gilleland) licet componere magno (James), in the early 1970s, when I was a student at the University of Maine, my teacher Renate Delphendahl let me borrow her copy of Curtius' book. One day, when I was reading it over breakfast, I spilled grape juice on it, staining the fore edge. I tried to scrape off the stain with a razor blade, but it didn't work, and eventually I returned the damaged book with an abject apology. I have my own copy of the holy text now, a paperback, falling apart from constant consultation.
Thanks to my dear and faithful friend Jim K., who gave me a copy of Clive James' book.