Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Things I Didn't Know Till This Week

1. Audrey Hepburn was a ballerina for the Resistance in Nazi-occupied Holland. DUDE. J and I watched Roman Holiday the other night, after Una mentioned it on her blog (it's awesome: I'm going to have to add Princess Anne to my ever-evolving list of Great Boys of Literature, which means I'm going to have to rethink what I mean by a boy, but there you go), and then we decided to google Audrey Hepburn, and dude, her reputation as a style icon sells her pretty short. (AH's Wikipedia entry)

2. There's an extended metaphor about archaeology in Freud's essay 'The Aetiology of Hysteria' , which ends with him suddenly going into Latin to say Saxa loquuntur! ('Stones speak!') There's also a few volumes of collections of epigraphic inscriptions entitled Saxa loquuntur, and I've been wondering where the quotation comes from, because of how I'm linking boundary stones to telephone networks in the ill-fated Chapter Three. It took a bit of tracking down - I kept finding references where people said things like 'the old saying, saxa loquuntur', which to my sharpened eye looked like someone else who hadn't succeeded in tracing the quotation - but yesterday in the library I discovered that... it doesn't really come from anywhere, as far as I can see. Freud's use of it has been traced to a German book of quotations, Gehflugelte Werte, which connects the idea of speaking stones to Habakkuk, Luke, and a thirteenth-century Lives of the Saints, Legenda Aurea by Jacobus de Voragine - but saxa loquuntur doesn't appear in the index to Geflugelte Werte (online here), so I'm going to have to do a bit more digging. Anyway, there doesn't seem to be a single authoritative source for it. HOWEVER, I RANDOMLY came across the phrase saxa loquentur (stones will speak) in one of the key passages of Lucan's Civil War that I'm using in the book. Isn't that exciting? It looks like the Universe is finally on my side now that I've managed to get my head into the right groove for the book.

3. In sharp contrast, file this one under 'rage and headsick': in 1932, the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male began. It continued to study untreated syphilis in 300 black men until 1972. In order to do this, their subjects were prevented from getting medical treatment. For forty years. (Penicillin was adopted as an effective treatment for syphilis in 1945, incidentally.)


Una said...

So glad you enjoyed Roman Holiday! AH was pretty damn amazing, IMHO.

gaylourdes said...

hey yo, will you still be in town for camp betty? ( you wanna co-host a slash reading and writing workshop for the weekend?
i have a few ideas and i'd really like to talk to someone about them.

ps:i can't remember if i've posted on your blog before, so i don't know if you remember me, but i met you in sydney at the queer conferences, and am friends with az and jonathan. (oh name dropping delerium!)

Ika said...

una: loved it! J became very soppy and cried because she said they were JUST LIKE US except that we got to stay together.

gaylourdes: OO. would love to. ironically there is a chance I will be in sydney though - let me get back to you soon.

(Hello! Yes of course I remember you.)

Nico said...

On "saxa loquuntur" cfr. "Steine schreien" (Register, p.698 of Georg Büchmann's Geflügelte Worte)...

"Luk. 19, 40 (s. Habakuk 2, 11) spricht Jesus von den

Wo diese (werden) schweigen, (so) werden die Steine schreien.

In der "Legenda aurea" des Jacobus a Voragine
(2. Hälfte des 13. Jahrh.), Cap. 181 "De sancto Pelagio
papa" (S. 833, Graesses Ausg.) wird von Beda Venerabilis
(† 735) erzählt, er habe sich im hohen Alter, als er blind
geworden, führen lassen, und sein Führer habe ihm in
einem steinigen Thale vorgeredet, es harre dort eine grosse
Menschenmenge seiner Predigt. Am Ende derselben hätten
die Steine Amen gerufen. Diese Legende erzählt L. Th.
Kosegarten unter dem Titel: "Das Amen der Steine"
("Legenden", neue Aufl., Berl. 1810, 1. Bd., 1. Bch., XVII),
darinnen es heisst:

Wenn Menschen schweigen, werden Steine schrei'n.--