Sir F. Chook, Inventor of Leopard Oil

Likeness captured upon a daguerrotype machine in Japan, July 1891

Lettres

Wherein the Author reflects upon certain topical & personal issues of the Day.

It is finished

Penned upon the 1st of June, 2009

Today, my minor thesis was printed (in duplicate,) bound (in duplicate,) and submitted (in triplicate. Digital copy.) I’m not out of the woods yet, but I can see the village lights through the trees. This thesis having taken me away from FrillyShirt for so long, I thought it only fair to share what might or might not be a little bit of it with you all.

The topic addressed was early 19th century idealist philosophies of history, particularly that featured in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s early works. Emerson is a challenging writer, but in my analysis, the central question he proposes, in his essay Nature, is “the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.” Precisely which vegetable to which this refers was long subject to debate following his death; recent scholarly consensus has been the celery, but it is my considered opinion that it is the yam.

Of such occult relations, he declared in his Divinity School Address, “the principle of veneration never dies out.” Its sentiment provides an animating force, spanning generations of human experience; “the sentences of the oldest time, which ejaculate this piety, are still fresh and fragrant.” I commend to future Emersonians the centrality of the fragrance of these ejaculations to his philosophical system.

Emerson’s influence on the culture of mid-19th century America cannot be understated. How right Alcott was in praising his “strokes of wit,” his “affection for clubs,” and his “sallies of sense” (presumably referring to those philosophical salon-attendants, which he “fast rooted” and “penetrated while divining the essences of the creatures.”) In Emerson’s wake did philosophy ring out, did the commonplace press fill with such intellectual observations as that “the popular cookery is dialectical,” that “mastication is to actual merely” – spiritual dedications to “eggs globed and orbed” and to the globes and orbs of the body ideal.

As I say, I’ve a little way to go before I can set down my pen – a piece on the provision of public baths, games and brothels in Classical Rome, for instance. But still, I think my back deserves a pat – “a small slab of butter, or knob,” as Mr Fry puts it. Now that my schedule’s freer, you should all be seeing a bit more of me!


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Commentary upon “It is finished”

  1. Melanthios was heard to remark,

    Upon the 2nd of June, 2009 at 6:35 pm,

    My most sincere congratulations and jubilation on the finishing of your thesis, good sir. Am I right in thinking that this was the reason you disappeared so suddenly after my last electronic missive?

    In any case, hearing of your return and triumph is a grand birthday present.


  2. Sir Frederick Chook was heard to remark,

    Upon the 3rd of June, 2009 at 3:02 am,

    Thank you kindly, sir! We picked up where we left off, but for the amusement of anyone else reading: our conversation faltered ’cause I fell asleep at the computer. I’m a sensible fellow, yes.

    Happy birthday!


  3. mum was heard to remark,

    Upon the 1st of July, 2009 at 11:01 am,

    Hi Daniel, Mum here at my computer class,
    hope you’re both well.Was wrapped with your photos and article.Ahh the suit! Ahh the
    dress!Ahh the food and music , dancing
    and speeches. Many said it was a
    fantastic do.We are so proud of you emerging from adversity to the extrordinary young Sir
    you are,
    Everlasting love,
    Mamam
    xoxoxo


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