Wish my Latin was a bit more up to the mark.
Trouble was I moved schools when I was 13 and the new school was a full year ahead on the syllabus, ie moving on from textbook one, Principia, to textbook two, Pseudolus Noster.I'd missed out a whole load of conjugating and I never quite caught up eventually fielding a miserable F grade at O Level.
There are advantages, I can spell 'necessary' and the school motto, Qui Cessat Esse Melior Cessat Esse Bonus has proved a useful quote at many a stressful moment.Oliver Cromwell apparently found it so handy he wrote it in his Bible.You can bring a staff meeting to a grinding halt with such wisdom, ah yes that's all very well but but he who ceases to be better ceases to be good.
Arriving at the new school I felt a bit undersold with Serve God and Be Cheerful.
So I was stumped and grateful to Hesperus Press for a little help with their motto, Hesperus et remotissima prope, to bring near what is far. This both in space and time making little known or unjustly neglected works accessible through new translation or a refreshing editorial approach, great care taken in production from cover to paper, printing to binding.
I can vouch for that because the widest selection of books has arrived and plenty of uncharted reading territory for me.Colette's Claudine's House, Rosamond Lehmann's The Gipsy's Baby, Prosper Merimee's Carmen, a lesser known Edith Wharton The Touchstone and even a Jonathan Swift Polite Conversation. This latter forcing me voluntarily onto a road most certainly less travelled.
Why has 18th century literature always seemed like the literary equivalent of pulling teeth without anaesthetic? It has just never interested me so I'm relying on you all to step in and berate me heartily telling me how much I'm missing and where to start because of course my dislike is based on nothing at all really.
All the Hesperus forewords are by the names of the moment, Salley Vickers, Philip Pullman, Toby Litt thus bridging the time gap and placing these books firmly in a 21st century setting.
However you can doubtless see the little treasure in that stack,The Platform of Time : Memoirs of Family and Friends by Virginia Woolf. This one a hardback and containing some unfamiliar and previously unpublished material including a memoir of Julian Bell, Virginia Woolf's nephew. Unfinished but written in the days immediately after news of Julian's death in 1937 whilst fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
It's written with Virginia's particular eye for the ordinary which she has a way of making sound quite unique and unusual, creating as clear a picture with her painterly words as Vanessa, Julian's mother, would have surely created with her brushes.
"He had a peculiar way of standing:his gestures were, as they say characteristic.He made sharp quick movements, very sudden considering how large and big he was,& oddly graceful. The reminded one of a sharp winged bird...I remember his intent expression..he had a very serious look"
Even more poignant some of Vanessa's own memories of her son written at about the same time
"When I first held him in my arms - the softness of his dark brown silky hair. All pain had become worthwhile.
Confused overwhelming feelings one did not understand.
Pain.Distress. Invasion of one's life.
Then danger to him and Knowledge of what I felt"
This is altogether a varied and wonderful collection of Virginia Woolf's writing on friends and family and no Bloomsbury shelf should really be without it so I'm glad I've got it on mine.