The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I'm off to the library at Carleton University tomorrow (there is a free shuttle 
service between UOttawa and Carleton).  I plan on consulting an edition of a 
very obscure play I am to present on in about a month (Thomas Middleton's 
"Game at Chess," 1624).  It's odd enough that Carleton has a copy of the said
edition and UOttawa doesn't, but it's even stranger that UofT doesn't have it.  
Institutional libraries are strange.

As fate would have it, a Turkish diplomat (whose name I forget) is planning 
on speaking about the "Armenian Controversy" at Carleton tomorrow.  
Needless to say I will attend and, if given the opportunity, ask tricky questions.  
I'll let you know how it goes.  If the organizers are smart, there will be no
question period.  


Blogger Dr J said...

A Game At Chess is considered obscure? Its famous referencing in The Waste Land, to say nothing of a modest resurgence of interest in Middleton in general, would have me thinking otherwise. If memory serves-- and it often does not, so take this with a grain of salt slightly larger than Wyoming-- Chess had the longest run of any single play of the pre-Restoration period. Matters not; get pressing those lidless eyes. ;-)

2:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you are definitely living it up in Ottawa. Finding obscure titles like "A Game At Chess" and attacking Turkish diplomats all in one day with your legendary stealth and wit...

So how did your encounter with the Turkish diplomats end?

5:24 p.m.  
Anonymous zelda said...

sounds like things are going very well for you at UofO!

6:39 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

Jeremy, of course I don't mean obscure to you: I mean obscure to readers in general. How many people with MAs in English have ever read Middleton?

Yes, the play did have the longest run of any pre-restoration one (9 days, which would've gone on longer had it not been shut down). But just because it was popular in its time doesn't mean it is so today (not that I need to tell you that).

Haven't read the WasteLand in a while. How is it alluded to?

7:36 p.m.  
Blogger Dr J said...

Mentioned the allusion already (lidless eyes, etc.); it comes at the end of the second section, appropriately titled--- wait for it--- A Game Of Chess. T.O.Ilets includes TM in the notes on the poem which now, of course, are as famous as the poem itself.

TM has been the subject of a notably increased interest, esp. in re The Changeling and Women Beware Women. The first, in fact, is now quite commonly taught in undergradling courses.

12:23 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

Didn't know that.
To be honest, I never read Middleton before this year, so there! :)

But seriously, if you go to the MLA database and type in "Middleton and chess," you'll get a mere fifty hits, including "non-essay" articles such as "dating Middleton's Game at Chess," etc.
By contrast, if you typed in Hamlet and your computer doesn't explode, you'll receive over 1000 hits, if not more.
Changeling and Women beware women are, if I'm not mistaken, both tragedies. We're only reading his comedies (so far they suck, but game at chess, as difficult as it is, is proving interesting).

2:43 p.m.  

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