Virginia Barton



In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . .A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. . .”

The “few and insignificant thoughts” are exactly what will be found here in Commonplaces.

14 February 2018: Lent

I have always wanted one of these mysterious and enviable spaces in the lives of my academical chums.

2 February 2018: The Katyn Mug

The Mug, now deserving of a capital “M,” was given to BH by his godfather in Cairo as the war was drawing to a close. It is an object that is very far from commonplace…

26 January 2018: Buddy

I gave BH as one of his Christmas presents this year the Sponsorship of a Guide dog puppy called Buddy.

15 December 2017: Odyssey

Not only soldiers escaped the grip of Stalin thanks to General Anders. As many civilians as could make their way to the muster points were included in the exodus.

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