Sunday, July 4, 2010


I guess Jude was always packing up his things - at least, it's the most physically restless of novels, yet not, now I think of it, remotely connected to the picaresque tradition, despite Hardy's insistence that the novel owed more to Fielding than to Zola. I'm not so sure... I managed to be peripatetic even within the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill: I simply could not see myself spending six nights in the first room that I was placed in, despite its luxurious bathroom. Now I have something bigger, longer, more garret-like, more conducive to thinking.

And I found (reading onwards) the perfect quotation to go with yesterday's expiring kale. When Jude and Sue talk in the market hall at Melchester, "they walked up and down over a floor littered with rotten cabbage-leaves, and amid all the usual squalors of decayed vegetable matter and unsaleable refuse." I'm deeply glad to be spending a week with an elusive text, but need some sleep, first. It's strange to start off the day at one end, more or less, of I-40, and then find oneself driving along it at the other,

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