It was a spider.
Some of you will, of course, recognize the adaptation of Virginia Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall" - very apt for today's participation (mine and Gramsci's) in the Virginia Woolf Society Conference. I was speaking - 10 minutes - on Jacob's Room, which is 100 this year: a talk that seemed ok before I gave it, but somehow didn't quite do the work that I hoped that it would - whatever that was. I ended up, in any case, wishing I'd said something different, although I have simply no idea that that would have been. (I also found myself wondering why there is so much yellow in the novel, and I absolutely don't have an answer to that). Perhaps being honest about how cautious my edition (of thirty years ago!) was might not have been the best way to boost my confidence ... but I did, all the same, want to convey what an extraordinary thrill it was to work on the original manuscript of JR in NYPL back in 1988, and feel that I was seeing a kind of shadow text that I had no idea was there.
Gramsci was, however, supremely well behaved: the spider-spotting came beforehand. There's rather too much wildlife in the house: Moth woke us up at 2 a.m. chasing a centipede.