Elder Dr. Faustus

On the trail of Mormon qabbalism (this, not this), or perhaps on the edge of it’s abyss. Either way, it is an occulted thing (MORMON QABBALISM = 299 = ABYSMAL DARKNESS) that rarely emerges from the brume. But sometimes it does:

I am profoundly grateful for the law of tithing. … It is so simple and straightforward. It consists of 35 words set forth in section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants. What a contrast with the cumbersome, complex, and difficult tax codes with which we live as citizens.
—Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” General Conference, October 1995, Priesthood Session. (my emphasis)

In case you, gentle reader, think I’m making more of this than there is, consider two injunctions from Doctor Faustus, to whom Mormon qabbalism is joined (MORMON QABBALISM = 299 = DOCTOR FAUSTUS): “These are but shadows, not substantial” & “Be silent then, for danger is in words.”

Serviceable sentences, 31/10,000

I remember his telling me, with sly satisfaction, about a visiting French professor, who had asked, when it was explained to him that someone was an authority on Chaucer, “Il est intelligent tout de même?”
—Edmund Wilson, “Christian Gauss as a Teacher of Literature” (1952)

(Cf. Peter Elbow, from the “Introduction to the Second Edition” [1998] of Writing Without Teachers [1973]: “I spent a year trying to write a dissertation about metaphor—and language and thinking and learning and truth and reality. … But this topic was too large a swamp for a dissertation and so I turned to Chaucer whom I loved.”)


Serviceable sentences, 29/10,000

Contemporary US academia is today effectively a child exploitation ring, transforming crippling debts for students into billion dollar endowments for the institutions, while never ceasing to produce more Leftist discourse.
—dc cooper, “Notes on the Alt-Right,” medium.com/@dctvbot (7 February 2017)

(Add this, this, or this, et. al., and the Right could turn the hyperbole of the above into a Brahmin blood libel.)


Christensen on Hollander’s qabbalistic poetics

Many of [John] Hollander’s unique lyric structures are based on prime numbers and their factorials. Among others, Hollander’s partiality for prime numbers is evident in spy-master Cupcake’s “eleven-phase transposition grid,” in Reflections on Espionage, and in the thirteen-syllable line throughout Powers of Thirteen. Moreover, two of the major sequences, Spectral Emanations and Powers of Thirteen are built on factorials of prime numbers (7 and 13 respectively). … At three moments in this half-century of publication, Hollander has marked out the scope of his achievement with Selected Poems (1972, 1978, and 1993), with only thirteen poems common to all three editions.*
*Thirteen is a number significant to Hollander, who discovered, in the course of writing Powers of Thirteen, that the initial letters of his name, first and last, add up to thirteen. The thirteen poems are “For Both of You”; “The Great Bear”; “Movie-Going”; “Digging It Out”; “Off Marblehead”; “The Ninth of July”; “Sunday Evenings”: “From the Ramble”; “The Night Mirror”; “Under Cancer”; “Granny Smith”; “Adam’s Task”; and “The Head of the Bed.”
—Philip H. Christensen, “John Hollander’s Selected Poems (1972, 1978, and 1993) and the Necessity of ‘Preparing a Perpetual Calendar,’” in Hélène Aji & Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec (eds.), Selected Poems: From Modernism to Now (2012; my emphasis).

Serviceable sentences, 27/10,000

If, as you say, we are destroying number by affirming the strict infinite, why then I concede that number also is swallowable, & that one of these days we shall eat it like custard.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Journal Z [A] (1842-1843), in Selected Journals 1841-1877 (ed. Lawrence Rosenwald)

(Cf. Of all the numbers swallowed in adherence to the edible Emersonian qabbala, the best digested will be 2, 3, 4 & 5.. [H/t timespiralpress.])


Serviceable sentences, 25/10,000

To insist in all particulars were an Herculean task, to reckon up insanas substructiones, insanos labores, insanum luxum, mad labours, mad books, endeavours, carriages, gross ignorance, ridiculous actions, absurd gestures; insanam gulam, insana jurgia [mad gluttony, mad disputes], insaniam villarum, as Tully terms them, madness of villages, stupend structures; as those Egyptian pyramids, labyrinths, and sphinxes, which a company of crowned asses, ad ostentationem opum [to show off their wealth], vainly built, when neither the architect nor king that made them, or to what use and purpose, are yet known: in insist in their hypocrisy, in constancy, blindness, rashness, dementem temeritatem, fraud, cozenage, malice, anger, impudence, ingratitude, ambition, gross superstition, tempora infecta et adulatione sordida, as in Tiberius’ times, such base flattery, stupend, parasitical fawning and colloguing, etc., brawls, conflicts, desires, contentions, it would ask an expert Vesalius to anatomize every member.
—Robert Burton, “Democritus Junior to the Reader,” The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)

(Cf. Beckett, three hundred years later: “For if you set out to mention everything you would never be done, and that’s what counts, to be done, to have done.”)