Thursday, May 24, 2007


I cannot completely ignore the news this week that +Cantuar has sent out invitations to Lambeth and that Bp. Robinson is not invited, (although he may be invited as a guest) nor is Bp. Martyn Minns. I have said elsewhere (I forget where) that I thought the best course would be for both of them to be invited. (I am ignoring the boundary crossing issue.)

Tobias Haller has a characteristically wise post In a Godward direction: Invitations Sent and Withheld on the subject and I commented there, saying, in part:

The rebuke to +Abuja is palpable. But the snub to +New Hampshire is basically an unchristian act of scapegoating and wanton cruelty. If there was an offense to the wider communion, it was committed corporately by TEC and is not embodied in the person of V. Gene Robinson. (To be perfectly clear, in my not so humble opinion, the fact that many took offense does not mean that TEC gave offense, except insofar as prophetic actions may be said to give offense.)

Rick said It seems a sensible approach, in the absence of the will to call an assembly to simply decide the substantive issue.

It isn't a matter of will -- there is as yet no mechanism in the Anglican Communion to call an assembly that can decide any substantive issue except within a single province. The communion has been grappling with the question of authority for a long time now -- there have been lots of proposals but no resolution.
(I wish Blogger let me correct my typos in comments on other people's blogs. I corrected a typo when I quoted the comment here.)

And that's all I'll say for now on the "endgame. "

In the course of preparing my paper, I typed the complete 1728 text of the Dunciad in the summer of 1982 to use as a markup copy. Since I promised to post that text, I scanned the 35 pages yesterday, and began correcting the OCR interpretation of the scan. I have now finished correcting the scan of the 250 lines of Book I. I still need to make some formatting changes and it may be Tuesday before I can actually post the text of Book I. I expect I shall be posting it not on Blogger but at my Geocities site.

Why Tuesday
Well, tomorrow (that is, Friday) morning, Liz and I are going to our cottage at Heart Lake for the Memorial Day weekend and we will not have broadband until we come back on Tuesday. But since I can upload on dial up, anything is possible.l

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 21, 2007

So, what is this Dunciad and where can I find it?

Alexander Pope, according to Wikipedia the third most quoted author in the English language, was born May 21, 1688.

Last week I announced that I was returning to a project I have been engaged in for almost half a century – my paper on Alexander Pope’s Dunciad. I have not yet figured out exactly how to publish my paper on the web, but for a start I have made a separate blog – The Dunciad. This post is an extract of a post I have made there.

A blog is not the ideal medium for this kind of publication – primarily because, to quote Wikipedia, a blog is a website where entries are written in chronological order and displayed in reverse chronological order. But a blog provides an easy way for readers to give feedback, so for now that’s what I will use.

Many manuscripts of Pope’s poetry have survived, but there is no surviving manuscript of The Dunciad. We do have, however, what scholar Maynard Mack has called “collations” of manuscripts against the published text that a friend made for Pope in copies of two editions of The Dunciad. My Master’s Essay is about these "collations." At the time I wrote it my essay no complete transcription of the “collations” had been published.

In order to understand my essay, the reader should have at hand a copy of the text of The Dunciad as 1728. Since this is not readily at hand, one of the things I am going to do is publish this text on the web, along with my essay.

To read more, see my blog The Dunciad.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Dunciad

On May 18, 1728, “The Dunciad. An Heroic Poem. In Three Books.” appeared. It bore the name of no author and contained misleading (that is, false) publication data: “Dublin, printed, London, reprinted for A. Dodd. 1728.” (The 1728 was true.)

Oddly enough, when I decided to post this today, I did not recall that the Dunciad appeared on May 18 (if I ever really knew) and this post is not inspired by the approaching anniversary. I’m getting tired of trying to say intelligent things about what Mark Harris refers to as the ”End Game” in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. I also find that I am spending far too much time reading blogs and especially too much time reading the comments on blogs.

For the past couple of years I have been returning to the topic of my Master’s Essay in English Literature at Columbia University. I began the essay in 1959 when I was a graduate student at Columbia and then left graduate school for twenty years working in the pension business (which did not give me a very good pension.) After I left the pension business to become a high school math teacher, I realized that the fastest way to hit the top salary level in the New York City schools was for me to finish that master’s degree at Columbia, so I returned to the essay and submitted it in April, 1983 and got the degree later that year. The title of the essay is “An Early Draft of The Dunciad” I got the top mark for it and it was suggested that I might wish to contact a journal about publication. Well, the piece is too long for the journal suggested, and I didn’t follow up then. I have recently decided to publish it on my own on the web. I did not pursue an academic career in English literature and I do not want to compete with scholars who are trying to make their own way. But this work is my own and I think it deserves the light of day.

I haven’t yet worked out exactly where I will post it – certainly not on this blog, but I may choose to blog here about my progress.

FWIW, my paper (as it stands) is a work of textual criticism and not of literary criticism.

I know I shall also continue to frequent the same blogs I do now and will continue to comment occasionally and to post here on Episcopal and Anglican topics. But I expect to be devoting a good deal of my attention to The Dunciad.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Black Waters

Last night we went to benefit concert held at St. Mary’s to Stop Mountain Top Removal, a form of “strip mining on steroids” that has devastated West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky and is now spreading into other parts of Appalachia . Most people who don’t live there have no idea that it is going on. We heard live mountain music and moving testimony from several people and the evening concluded with a stirring talk by Bobby Kennedy, Jr.

The musical star of the evening was Jean Ritchie , who is still going strong at 85. She played the dulcimer and sang, accompanied by hers sons, Jon and Peter Pickow. The first song she sang was Black Waters which she wrote in 1954, the year I graduated from high school. It was wonderful to hear her.

Cinco de Mayo (and beyond)

On Saturday, May 5, 2007, several important things happened but I want to focus on two church services.

In Woodbridge, Virginia, at a non-denominational “Christian Event Center” called Hylton Memorial Chapel, the Nigerian Anglican Primate installed the missionary bishop for CANA, the pretentiously named Convocation of Anglicans in North America. I find it odd that this schismatic service took place in a venue whose website proclaims “Dedicated to Reconciliation” (and in lighter, less prominent letters, ‘Unity, Reconciliation.” By all accounts it was a joyous service.

In Chenango Bridge, New York, at an Episcopal Church named St. Mark’s, a Celebration of the Life of Laura Louise Brink Mellen took place. It was a joyous Rite Two Burial Office and Eucharist, attended by about 60 persons, including all but four of her two dozen descendants and their spouses.
We sang “For All the Saints,” “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God,” and “The Strife is O’er,” and we heard scripture from Isaiah 61, 2 Corinthians, and John 11. The homily was given by my mother’s brother in law who is a retired Presbyterian minister. It was a fitting goodbye to my mother.

Liz and I came home (stopping briefly at our cottage at Heart Lake) after the funeral and it has taken me this long to get organized enough to post again. It's good to be back.