Saturday, 13 July 2013

4 - Cross/Blake/Swift

Short story
The Jury Case by Eric Cross (1905-??) in Classic Irish Short Stories. Narrated in first person and very Irish and funny, this is the story of a jury of 12 ‘ignorant menas ignorant as any twelve men you would find in this parish’. They convene in the local pub to act as a jury to decide if a man who has been found dead died from misadventure or something else. The jury members have wonderful nicknames like Dan Bedam (who says bedam in every sentence), Cork Echo, Ball o’ Wax, and the Sheep. It doesn’t really go anywhere and reads like a long joke rather than a short story. I didn’t think it was resolved well because nothing really happened. A fun read though.

Poem
Read two today, both from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence: The Lamb and The Shepherd. The Lamb is a famous poem that starts off:
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

This is told by a child narrator. The repetition works really well, I think. The Shepherd follows on with the religious theme of the Lamb as Jesus, and the Shepherd tending sheep. These are both happy poems, and very fitting inclusions in the Songs of Innocence. These would be terrific poems to use to introduce children to poetry, which I think was the original intention of them.

Essay
A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding, by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). This is a witty essay, and says a lot about the class system in Britain and its three levels: your superiors, your equals, and those beneath you. ‘...good sense is the principle foundation of good manners; but because the former is a gift which very few among mankind are possessed of, therefore all the civilised nations of the world have agreed upon fixing some rules for common behaviour...’
He also thinks duels are a great thing because he can see no reason why ‘bullies, sharpers, and rakes’ shouldn’t be allowed to rid the world of each other by methods of their own choosing. Maybe we should bring back duels!

Writing

A busy work day today so not much done, but did a bit on the ebook of short stories I’m putting together.

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