in a perfect world of yancies: Pennyweight of Powder in a Skull

04 April 2011

Pennyweight of Powder in a Skull

As you may have heard from my Twitter feed, I had a great time in Minneapolis for the Central Division meeting of the APA.

Among many cool things was the session on Martha Nussbaum's The Fragility of Goodness. Great panel on its impact after 25 years.

And among the many cool things said there, I especially liked Prof. Nussbaum's comments about Kenneth Dover. His obituary in the Guardian claims that his "death marks the end of an era in classical scholarship," and the New York Times obituary is also a good read.

But I liked Prof. Nussbaum's tribute even better. She said that they'd wanted to read one of Dover's favorite passages from Ulysses at his funeral at the University of St. Andrews, but apparently it was deemed improper... So she read it out at the APA.

Pretty good. Take a look:

Mr Kernan said with solemnity:

—I am the resurrection and the life. That touches a man's inmost heart.

—It does, Mr Bloom said.

Your heart perhaps but what price the fellow in the six feet by two with his toes to the daisies? No touching that. Seat of the affections. Broken heart. A pump after all, pumping thousands of gallons of blood every day. One fine day it gets bunged up: and there you are. Lots of them lying around here: lungs, hearts, livers. Old rusty pumps: damn the thing else. The resurrection and the life. Once you are dead you are dead. That last day idea. Knocking them all up out of their graves. Come forth, Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job. Get up! Last day! Then every fellow mousing around for his liver and his lights and the rest of his traps. Find damn all of himself that morning. Pennyweight of powder in a skull. Twelve grammes one pennyweight. Troy measure.

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