Brain Food

Virginia Woolf eats two big meals in the first chapter A Room of One’s Own (1929). The first is just big. The second is big in its impact.

On Pomposity

Hagiography is a lot easier when the saint has had the sense to shut up. William of Malmesbury’s book on the life and miracles of St Aldhelm was held back by two things: not enough written about the saint, and too much written by him. William’s problem wasn’t the quantity of Aldhelm’s writings so much as their style, although he made a valiant attempt to defend it.

Style or Substance?

In "Forest Architecture," Allison Carruth notes the possibilities of a new kind of sustainable architecture. But her conclusion is key, particularly, that the scale of these bulidings may be more transformative than their style. Perhaps the new sustainable design should have as its motto, "more style, less substance."

Huddling Together, Nervously Loquacious

Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change (1935): “[Men] build their cultures by huddling together, nervously loquacious, at the edge of an abyss" (272). What was behind the distinctive style of loquaciousness which was once so popular for actors — and most strikingly female ones — in the Hollywood comedies of the 1930s?