...and speaking of random tangents
2007.03.10 17:09

"Thus the book is a puzzled book, just as it deals with a puzzling character in a changing and puzzling world."

I'm growing more and more fond of Hamlin's architectural writing. I even hope to tackle his two volumes of Forms and Functions of Twentieth-Century Architecture some day.

The book is Characteristic Anecdotes . . . to illustrate the Character of Frederick the Great, the translation into English by the young, pre-architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

Latrobe and the King of Prussia, go figure.
Latrobe and his uncle the Pasha in Constantinople visited by Casanova, go figure.
Latrobe's French Moravian father and Pennsylvania Deutsch Moravian mother, go figure.
Latrobe and the Baron Karl von Schachmann, go figure.

Every time my own father ran off his Silesian 'language' witticisms the whole room of company burst out laughing.

"...Latrobe explains in a footnote, "The King of Prussia pronounced what the old man said in the broad provincial dialect of that country [Silesia]. I attempted to imitate it..."

And here's my attempt:

"I was have gone to the train. Was there the station gone."

"Little Miss Mary had scrambled herself with the yellow of the egg."

"Hey, pass me the flag."
"What kind of flag?"
"You know, the frying flag."

"Strasse rechts. Strasse links. Kaserne wo bist du?" --that's exactly what it's like when you're lost at the King of Prussia Mall.

Yet today's task was to find the exact locations of the stops (and sketches) of Charles Willson Peale's "Blackberry Ramble". I know, "Blackberry Ramble" conjures up all kinds of imaginings these days, but 180 years ago it meant the mid-August three day walking tour of a very accomplished 83-year-old man along the blackberry grown lanes of Oxford Township into Lower Dublin Township. Peale started at Frankford, and went as far as Ury, and then went back to Frankford. It turns out that when I leave my house and go the Historical Society of Frankford and then come back home, I (almost exactly) virtually reenact "The Blackberry Ramble", albeit in reverse.

"I think this room holds a portal to the fourth dimension."
I had very good reason for saying so, and the strangers I said it to agreed.

Today I'd call this show Random Tangents.




Quondam © 2007.04.09