(the first entry in a list of brief notes and short essays on stuff I’m reading)
I’ve been reading Richard Wright’s collection of “five long stories,” Uncle Tom’s Children (1938, 1940). I’ve not encountered this work before, but it’s stunning. Brutal and heartbreaking, Wright makes no apologies in exposing the tragic, and violent, conditions African-Americans battled in life under Jim Crow.
I’ve also been revisiting Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. This is one of those texts where you can just dive in at any point and enjoy yourself. It’s fairly wild and, despite my impatience with some of Burton’s tangents, entertaining. Way fun: Burton’s explication of “sublunary devils,” “fiery, aerial, terrestrial, watery, and subterranean devils, besides those fairies, satyrs, nymphs, &c.” (Burton).
If you’re Burton-inclined, you can get a feel for The Anatomy at the University of Adelaide’s swell online edition. Enjoy!