Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir by Penelope Lively

By Penelope Lively

Amazing British novelist full of life (How all of it started, 2011) starts off her “not particularly a memoir” with bracing but swish reflections on previous age. the writer of 2 dozen keenly observant books, vigorous is intrigued via this part of existence and its “metamorphosis of the sensibilities.” Her grand topic has consistently been the workings of the brain, or even as she rues actual miseries, she celebrates age’s fostering of “an nearly sumptuous appreciation of the area that you're nonetheless in.”

Lucid and penetrating, vigorous appears to be like again to her Egyptian early life, her fleeing along with her mom in the course of WWII, and the surprise of chilly, bombed London and her parents’ divorce. As a historical past significant at Oxford, the Suez concern used to be for her a “baptism by way of fireplace, a political awakening.” Ever due to the fact then, she retains “one ear cocked to the clamor of events.” How nimble her episodic stride in the course of the many years, how astute and stirring her notion of reminiscence as “the mind’s overcome time,” how asserting her gratitude for books and libraries, historical artifacts and fossils––the ceaselessly illuminating, tangible prior.

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DlO. Yes, my word, I've lain before now 930 'sleepless the long night-watches through' and inwardly debating whatever kind of bird the phrase 'a brown horse-cock' denoted. AES. An emblem, that was, painted on the ships, you ignoramus. DlO. And all the time I thought it meant Phil6xenos' boy, Eryxis! EUR. But should one write in tragic verse of even a barn-door rooster? AES. And,,"y0u, you god-forsaken rogue, of what, I ask, did you write? DlO. I The greatest of Aeschylus' predecessors: cf. 1300.

Readers of my translation should not, in the act of reading, try to work out the metrical patterns. My hope is that if they go ahead, as naturally as they would in reading the morning paper, most of the metrical patterns will assert themselves. Some of the patterns are not foreign to English poetry; and among that number is one which is well worth reproducing both because of its recurrence n, ARISTOPHANES, FROGS 15 in the Frogs and because Euripides, at one point, is criticized for a fault in his use of it.

DIO. In the act of offering? What sneakthief pinched it from him? EUR. Let it pass, friend. ' DIO. (Interrupting to close the scene) You'll bore me stiff! 'Lost his litt'l old flask', he'll say. The flasket sprouts on your prologues like styes on the eye. For god's sake turn instead to his choral songs. EUR. Of course, for I've got the means of showing him up as a bad song-writer who makes all his songs the same. 1250 What is afoot? What is starting now? So I ponder, and ask myself what are his incriminations?

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