Hi everybody. Judging by the flood of complaints I'm not receiving, my reduced rate of blogging suits everybody just fine. The readerships stats imply that if I give up writing completely, my readership will expand exponentially. And yet I find the fortitude to carry on. Far better that I cast my Reckons on a sea of mute indifference than I expound them to my captive colleagues. What's that I hear? 'Just don't share your opinions with anyone in any format?' Preposterous!
What has mostly been detaining me today is teaching: several hours of Ben Jonson's Volpone (like Ben Johnson the athlete, Ben Jonson the playwright saw everybody as a cheat), followed by a long session on ethics and advertising. They worked very well: Volpone tries to 'gull' everyone, and so do advertisers. In fact there's a comic scene in which Volpone dresses up as Scoto the Mountebank to sell the gullible his cure-all Elixir. Most of them won't buy because they think he's a charlatan - but none of them realise that they've already fallen for his tricks.
I think the students came to enjoy Volpone. They found it hard to get into his frame of mind after studying Lear most recently, and the comic dialogue doesn't work too well on the page, but they rapidly got to grips with structure, allusion and the like. It's rare to have a seminar in which people interrupt each other, sadly, but today was one of them. The advertising session was good too - team teaching with a great colleague. The hours went far too quickly and it was harder to get the students to grasp the thematic and ethical concerns, but they're good at analysis.
The other thing that's kept me from blogging much is a severe shortage of opinions. By now, you could all pretty much construct my thoughts on anything from what I've written before. Newsnight, Savile, benefit cuts, Tories cheating in elections… you know how I feel. Need I make things explicit? Perhaps if the work ever slackens I'll widen the scope to provide ready-made opinions on a range of things. Like my friend Ben, who when challenged once had an opinion on the question 'sandstone or limestone'.
Anyway, I'm off fencing tonight for the first time in a couple of weeks, so that's bound to be painful and humiliating. Only two books in today: the Library of Wales edition of Dorothy Edwards' lost modernist masterpiece Rhapsody and Daniel Rodgers' provocative but interesting intellectual history Age of Fracture. It turns out that not only do I have four editions of Rhapsody, I already own this new edition, so if anyone wants it, say so in the comments box. First come, first served.