The Silver Eel

"A gape-jawed serpentine shape of pale metal crested with soot hung high for a sign."

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Part of the introduction to William Painter's Palace of Pleasure, (1575):
[These tales are] pleasaunt so well abroade as at home, to avoid the griefe of Winter's night and length of Sommer's day...Delectable they be for al sortes of men, for the sad, the angry, the cholericke, the pleasaunt, the whole and sicke.
From Italian Tales from the Age of Shakespeare, ed. Pamela Benson.


I find Painter's promise to the reader charming, and indeed accurate, but it's nonetheless a bit of a shtick. Surely someone in the 16th century must have replied to Painter along these lines:
"Verily I say to you, if thou dost travail in the fields of advertisement, thou art a scurvy knave, and thou shouldst kill thyself. Nay, I speke troth."

In addition to the pleasure of the stories themselves, there's another benefit. Because they're written in 16th century English, they've set me up nicely for a serious attempt at Riddley Walker. In fact I'm finding it a doddle, and I honestly can't see why people have trouble with it. Smug git orl rite ent I.

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