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In Lieu of an Introduction

. . . he recommended to all those who might be impressed with a sense of their importance to bury a copy or copies of each work properly secured from damp, &c. at a depth of seven or eight feet below the surface of the earth; and on their death-beds to communicate the knowledge of this fact to some confidential friends, who in their turn were to send down the tradition to some discreet persons of the next generation; and thus . . . the knowledge that here and there the truth lay buried . . . and was to rise again in some distant age . . . —this knowledge at least was to be whispered down from generation to generation.

—Thomas De Quincey, “Walking Stewart”

Livius Andronicus: An Odyssey is peregrinatory, and an Iliad, no doubt, genocidal, but an Idyssey is gestational as regards idiosyncrasy--or oddness.

Dr Johnson: Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not last.

Mrs Thatcher: There is no such thing as a womb with a view.

Ben Jonson: By G—, ’tis good, and if you like’t, you may!

—Petrus Tornarius, Imaginary Conversations


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