Thursday, July 16, 2020

“I rarely follow a straight line”

Xavier de Maistre, A Journey Around My Room. 1794. Trans. from the French by Andrew Brown (Richmond, UK: Alma Classics, 2013).

Sentenced to a forty-two-day house arrest for dueling, aristocrat and military officer Xavier de Maistre (1763–1852) made a grand tour of his room, with his dog, his servant, and his imagination to sustain him. A Journey Around My Room is an amusing, unpredictable travelogue, especially appropriate to this time of life indoors. A Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room was to follow in 1825. If you like Laurence Sterne, who, too, refused to follow “a strait line,” you’ll like de Maistre.

The Alma Classics paperback includes both works, as does the beautifully designed New Directions volume Voyage Around My Room (trans. Stephen Sartarelli). For instant gratification, both works are available in an 1829 translation, free from Google Books.

comments: 9

Fresca said...

Love it!

"A nice ...[pen]... [a resource] against boredom".
Hey--that sounds like you!

What a funny overlap---about the same time you posted this, I had posted Dante's "the straight road had been lost sight of"--adding it was never straight anyway.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, I thought of that yesterday. And it was curious too that the OED put out staycation on the same day that I posted something from de Maistre. Maybe Bill Gates is controlling our minds!

Fresca said...

Bill Gates is the Mushroom Master, pulling all the underground filaments!

Did you listen to the Reply/All podcast about if FB is listening to our phones?
The expert explains how thorougly FB spies on you across the nets, and how they just connect the dots:
"your mother is visiting you. your mother likes perfume. we shall advertise perfume on your page."
But people would not believe FB isn't actually listening in.
I think listening is much more cumbersome (deciphering actual speech, etc.) than tracking what you click on, etc.

Still, "the straight road"---I think you and I met on the Road to Serendip.

Matt Thomas said...

Love this so much I quoted a portion of it on my blog, crediting you of course. Wasn't familiar with this book, or author, but now I want to read it.

Michael Leddy said...

Fresca, let me ask Mark Z. He’s at the window, taking notes.

Matt, I’m happy you’ve made de M’s acquaintance. I wish I knew how I became aware of this book. I bought it years ago and never thought I’d be reading it during stay-at-home days.

Frex said...

I just now won the auction for a copy on eBay---
with tax & shipping, it came to $6.91.

Frex said...

P.S. Marz Z. says to say hi.

Frex said...

*Mark* not Marz

Michael Leddy said...

Enjoy the book!

Also, I’m glad you did as Mark asked. He’s watching.