Skip to content
Photo by Tom Hermans / Unsplash

A few choice passages from The Ideal of Culture (2018) and Gallimaufry (2020)

The perennial need to be on the cutting edge: "Orwell wrote that liberals fear few things more than being outflanked on the left."

Writing about his undergrad days at the University of Chicago, which was known for its academic rigor but not its women: "A joke of the day had it that a panty raid on Foster Hall, the women's dormitory, rendered a field jacket and a pair of combat boots."

Related: "Another saying had it that the University of Chicago was where fun went to die."

Pretty much sums it up: "To become an intellectual was, for Orwell, to become deeply out of it, hypocritical, stupid, inhumanly corrupted, spiritually bankrupt."

"Translations, like lovers, the old saw has it, are either beautiful or faithful, but they cannot be both." (Writing about C.K. Scott-Moncrieff's translation of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past)

"T.S. Eliot took the name Prufrock, Crawford informs us, from a St. Louis furniture manufacturer."

"At headquarters company, Fifth Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas, in 1959 we were offered something called a good-conduct holiday if the company could go a full month with no car accidents or reported cases of venereal disease. We never got the holiday."

Jewish curse–“May your bones be broken as often as the Ten Commandments."

"When someone called [Waugh's] attention to a typographical error in one of his books, he replied that one cannot get any decent proofreading now 'that they no longer defrock priests for sodomy.'"

Scott Moncrieff was often acerbic, and never more so than when writing about the Sitwells, Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell, whom T. S. Eliot, giving way to his bawdy side, referred to as “the Shitwells.”