NauenThen

The pleasures of inefficiency

October 4, 2013

Tags: Ann Rupel, Encylopædia Britannica, Tennyson, Auden, Byron

Someone was giving away a complete, almost unopened set of the 1957 Encyclopædia Britannica, in 24 volumes. What a score! Several friends wondered why I would take up so much space when all that information is online and up to date. (I have the online version on my iPod Touch.) The difference is that the books send me the long and serendipitous way.

I may have gone to Volume 21 (Sord to Texas) to bone up on Terrellas (sadly, not there) but I got, or didn't get, there by way of Tapeworms (yuk), the Stamp Act (George Grenville, 1765), and Tennyson: "He became the victim of a certain 'earnest-frothy' speculator, who induced him to ... invest in a 'Patent Decorative Carving Company'; in a few months, the whole scheme collapsed, and Tennyson was left penniless." Which reminded me of Auden calling Tennyson "undoubtedly the stupidest" English poet, which in turn reminded me of Byron's savage "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," which made me wonder why poets today all get along.