Friday, 19 December 2014
A big quiz and a little one
Here is this year’s TLS Christmas quiz – compiled, as it has been for many years, ‘by Tony Lurcock of Oxford’, who happens to be a CBe author. A while back he sent me a manuscript whose preface hooked me with this sentence: ‘It is by no means necessary to read the introduction to enjoy the contents of the book, nor need the book be read chronologically, in full, or indeed at all.’ And so we embarked on a series of compilations of writing by British travellers in Finland, introduced and with linking commentary by Tony Lurcock: Not So Barren or Uncultivated, 1760–1830 (‘Impeccably researched, written in an accessible, lively and lucid style, with useful appendices, notes, and bibliography, this is a gem of a book which will delight the scholar and the general reader alike’: Mara Kalnins, Notes and Queries), No Particular Hurry, 1830–1917 (‘[Lurcock’s] occasional rather caustic observations make his commentary at least as entertaining as the travellers he quotes’: Yvonne Hoffmann, Vasabladet), and a 1917–1941 book to follow.
Among the answers to the TLS quiz is one CBe book. No further clues.
I read last week that Wallace Stevens’s notebooks contain around 350 titles (‘Still Life with Aspirin’, ‘All about the Bride’s Grandparents’, ‘The Alp at the End of the Street’ …) for poems that he never got round to writing. Here are the titles of three books that fictional characters consider writing but don’t. Name the character, the the title of the actual book/story they are in, and author of that book.
1) History of the Suburbs
2) A Short Wait for the Butcher
3) This Is Piccadilly
And (relatively easy one) which dog declared: ‘I simply have to knock off that essay on Sassoon’?