Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wheaton -- Day Three


Day Three: Wednesday April 6th

I was a little late getting in today, having a chore to take care of before showing up at the Wade. It took longer than I expected, but finally wrapped up my work on THE DARK TOWER Ms and started in on Warnie's diaries, separated by a little time for the Collins in-between. I was particularly struck, going over the final chapters of DT, by how many clues Lewis gives us of events in the unwritten part of the novel. I know of two attempts to hypothesis how the story wd have come out, the first by Jared Lobdell and the second by Jonathan Himes, neither of which I found persuasive; I'm tempted to go all Edwin Drood on it myself, since it's a harmless game and emphasises what the evidence shows: that the book was much more carefully planned than is generally thought.

During two separate breaks I thumbed through a Chesterton (WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD) and a Cecil Chesterton (A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES): the first includes GKC's argument against women getting the vote, which is essentially that some women don't want the vote, so the only fair thing to do is not let any of them have the right. Which I consider a distinctly peculiar argument (and, I might point out, the exact opposite of GKC's argument against Prohibition). The second characterizes the outbreak of World War I thusly: "Mr Wilson had been in office but a little over a year when Prussia, using Austria as an instrument and Serbia as an excuse, forced an agressive war on the whole of Europe." [p.262] You'd never know from this passage that it was England who declared war on Germany and not the other way around.

The two highlights of the day were both meals. The first was having lunch with Wade archivist Laura and visiting researcher Kaja, during which we talked of Germany and Rwanda and Marquette and non-denominational churches and many other topics. During this meal I found out the fate of the Perry Mastadon by the simple expedient of asking: it's been moved to the new science building, where it no longer rotates but can be seen from all three floors. So there's that mystery solved.

The second was getting together for dinner with my friends the Baurs,* during which we talked about politics and yarn and Germany and Tolkien and World War II (from the point-of-view of someone who witnessed it first-hand, and only avoided being drafted to serve in it by a year) and nuns and current events; Dr. Baur paid me the complement, as he put it, of saying that I was even more cynical than he on one point (relating to one of our former Secretaries of State). We talked so long that eventually we noticed the staff unobtrusively closing up the restaurant around us, whereupon we departed.

Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel, which I managed pretty well despite driving in the dark. Not being able to read road signs after sunset is more of a bother than you might expect when I'm staying in unfamiliar territory -- which is why my driving under such conditions is more like card-counting than standard navigation: counting the number of streets between turns, scouting out routes during daytime so as to string together likely landmarks, and the like.

In-between leaving the Wade and meeting up with the Baurs I'd stopped off at the nearest Borders, which I'd spotted two nights before, and bought two maps (St. Louis and Missouri) to add to the collection for a future trip we're planning, as well as relaxing for a bit and enjoying a cup of chai.


current audiobook: THE MOONSTONE

current reading: WILKIE COLLINS (by Sayers), FINGAL (by 'Ossian'), THE TURN OF THE SCREW (by James), "The Eye of Apollo" (by GCK), LETTERS TO A DIMINISHED CHURCH (by DLS), WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WORLD (by GKC)


*the Western Springs Baurs, not the Kirkland Baurs

Postscript: I'm happy to report that once Sayers gets past her testy prologue and into the actual discussion "Creed or Chaos" improves quite a bit -- she's better at discussing dogma than in railing against people who don't prize it the way she does.

1 comment:

David Bratman said...

Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, too. The U.S. declared war on Japan in 1941. I don't think that affects who the aggressor was.