Scholia Absurda represents the culmination of my misdirected academic attention(s). The blog will take many forms, among which the following well-established and often praised genres:
- Erratic & Erotic Marginalia
- Out-of-Touch Annotations
- Limerick-Haiku Fusions
- Forensic Invective
- Impersonal Essay
- Polemic Tweetstorms
- Epistolary Romance
The full range of human experience is not wide enough to encompass the lamentable quality of the writing that will be published here. But there is hope in the energy of misalignment, in the rough strokes of the pen that erase a day’s work only to see it become a legendary erasure. Thus Ezra Pound on T. S. Eliot’s drafts of The Wasteland — “Perhaps be damned.”
I’m not recommending we take the words of a Fascist poet too closely to heart. There’s even something worth disliking here–the arrogant self-confidence with which he gave shape to someone else’s poem, even though it became one of the iconic poems of its century.
But what we see here, and what I want to explore in this blog, is an attention to a whole variety of literary experiences that for one reason or another, occur in the margins–of a page, but also of a discipline. The people, real and living, deeply flawed and at times plain mistaken, working in and through poetry.
Later in the drafts of The Wasteland Eliot’s wife scrawled a note beneath some verses. “What you get married for if you don’t want to have children.”
I am not certain whether Eliot thought this was a critique of his marriage, a helpful suggested verse, or some ironic blend of both–but he included it in the final text, amidst other citation-as-echolalias.
These are the kinds of literary events that I hope Scholia Absurda can try to collect and make visible. My hope is to attest to a whole range of literary experiences that it is harder to discuss in more formal academic venues, and particularly those (unlike the above) that have kinds of political valences that are also underdiscussed–and lamentably so–in academic circles.
I’d like to end on a word of thank you. Scholia Absurda is a product of the Great Quarantine of 2020 and I’d like to thank Joel Christensen for helping out with some of the technical stuff. If you don’t know his site Sententiae Antiquae, do check it out!
My plan is to write relatively regular updates (so do subscribe below!). I am also open to guest posts if people have something neat lying around they’d like to work up into a 1000-word post!