The Lamb and the Woolf

In the middle of Thomas Karshan and Kathryn Murphy’s edited collection On Essays is a typo so felicitous, so pleasurable, that it must have been intentional—if not by the author, then by the editors or the proofreaders. Petrarch once described one of his miscellanies as a text in which “multa familiariter deque rebus familiaribus scripta erant”: there […]

A Journal of Keeping Up

This year I hope to learn diligence. Often, at the start of a semester, I transcribe a line by Samuel Johnson. More aptly, I appropriate one of his goals. According to his friend, James Boswell, during the year that Johnson wrote a popular series of essays (The Idler), “in his private memorandums…we find ‘This year […]

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