Thursday, December 13, 2007

"A final touch of unpleasantness"

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Obviously we're all gearing up for the end-of-year ETC Oscars. I nominate Hugh Evelyn-White for "Most endearing text-critico-autobiographical footnote". He's describing the room in which he transcribed the St Macarius Monastery texts. I particularly like the end.

"If another should ever have the opportunity of exploring this 'waste-paper room', he should be forewarned that it is entirely lightless and airless and that every movement raises choking clouds of fine dust which cannot be dispersed. Furthermore, the ancient timbers overhead swarm with voracious vermin which are roused to activity by the light or warmth of candles, and the proximity of a latrine adds a final touch of unpleasantness." (H.E.-W., Intro. to New Coptic Texts from the Monastery of St Macarius, xlii n. 3).

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