Saturday, March 04, 2017

Dashed Off VI

Charity as grace completes the natural sense of compassion with mercy, the natural sense of shame with purity, the natural sense of responsibility or deference with service, and the natural sense of right and wrong with wisdom; it binds these all together with devotion, and still it goes beyond this.

To recover a tradition requires a greater ability than to preserve it.

Every argument for eliminativism can be tollensed into an argument for inadequacy.

the proper act of the papal office as solicitude for the whole Church

logical possibility as only pro tanto possibility

ruin as the central concept of horror (moral ruin, biological ruin, physical ruins, that which ruins, secret ruin)

Opposition to usury is a bulwark against ethics making consent the primary justification for acts.

description and division as potential parts of definition
causal & genus/species as subjective parts of definition

chemical notations as notations of relatives

Peirce's dynamic/immediate object distinction is a proximate/remote distinction, allowing for the fact that this relates to confusion and clarity when dealing with signs.
immediate object : intention of arrow :: dynamic object : target

Beatific Vision as final interpretant

qualisign, sinsign, & legisign as ways things are present to minds

To consider: A rock or speck of dust is an index of God's existence; a person an icon of it; a revelation a symbol of it. (Any difficulties with this?)

proper names as rhematic indexical legisigns

Wisdom 7:7 -- infused prudence and the gift of wisdom require prayer

Proverbs : being faithful in the world
Ecclesiastes : mortification
Song of Songs : devotion
Wisdom : union with God

Mencius's shoots as four needs of human life in light of which the pursuit of pleasure must be restraint.

Baptism and confirmation are more properly called sacraments of vocation than matrimony and orders are. (1) B & C, like M & O, set up a world of activities, a field of vocation. (2) B & C are such that all have a vocation to them; M & O are not. (3) M & O depend on the consent of others; they are vocationally mediated.

Arguments against various kinds of realism often err by taking realism to require flawless cognition rather than just cognition that is not pervasively flawed.

potential to be developed coherently as a sign of truth

(1) classical theism -> formation of man for beatitude -> fittingness of revelation in general -> fittingness of this revelation
(2) classical theism -> kinds of providence -> fittingness for God to guide human beings with special providence -> fittingness of revelation in general -> fittingness of this revelation
(3) (a) classical theism -> natural providence -> penalty as sign of fault; (b) classical theism -> moral providence; (a&b) -> fittingness of some remedy -> fittingness of this remedy

Even when poetry does not itself teach, it exercises the mind in ways helpful for learning.

Reform requires appeal to common good.

bù jìn zé tui: Not advancing is retreating.

analogies among successes -> methods
(classification of successes)

If truthlikeness is determined by counting truths, it is language-dependent (cp. Miller).

Salmon's mark transmission theory requires concepts of: process, overlap (for processes), mark, time intervals, transmission (understood as at-at), & counterfactual invariance.

Naturalism always requires normativity (it requires that what it considers natural explanations are normative for explanation). So does eliminativism. In general, you get normativity of some kind just by proposing an -ism.

"I suggest that this is a fundamental principle of common law systems: not that the courts make the law, nor even that they discover it, but that they provide a remedy to the person with a just grievance. The law is a kind of reflection on this process, and an attempt to translate specific decisions into universal rules. But it is the remedy that comes first, not the principle that may be derived from it." (Roger Scruton)

Drawing a clear line between public & private is much easier within a system of property than outside or across such systems.

Whitaker's arguments against the deuterocanonicals:
(1) All canonical books of the Old Testament were written by prophets; these are not written by prophets.
(2) The ancient church of the Hebrews received and approved all the books of the Old Testament, that church did not receive these.
(3) These books bear marks that they are not canonical.
(4) Testimonies of councils, fathers, writers (as extrinsic & human evidence).

Whitaker on the offices of the church with respect to Scripture:
(1) witness and guardian of the sacred writings (notary)
(2) to distinguish true, sincere, and genuine Scripture from spurious, false, and suppositious (champion)
(3) to publish, set forth, preach, and promulgate the Scriptures (herald)
(4) to expound and interpret the Scriptures (interpreter)
- in effect, Whitaker accepts all the prophetic office and none of the apostolic office.

In the Holy Spirit, but only in the Holy Spirit does Scripture become perspicuous.

To orbit in an ellipse is like orbiting in a circle that dilates and contracts.

No account of belief based wholly on probabilities can adequately handle the distinctions among possibility, actuality, and necessity.
the problem of converting probabilities to modal operators (epistemic, doxastic, etc.)

All beliefs are at least partly maintained by factors insensitive to the truth of the matter -- things like not having had time to inquire further, the existence of oxygen in the room, pigheadedness, and so forth.

integration of communities by similarity, territorial contiguity, hisotrical connection and instruction

Avoiding the vice of contentiousness requires cultivating respect for evidence.

the sacramental economy as a trellis for devotions

analogy of validity as modality to conditionals: material validity, strict validity, relevant validity, etc.?

NB: von Wright, An Essay in Modal Logic, recognizes existential modalities: universal, existing, and empty

cultural goods as an expression of historical memory, as an essential link in the chain of tradition, as the visible memory of evangelization

archival and curatorial aspects of tradition

The value of a Bessarion, a Canisius, or a Borromeo to the Church is infinitely greater than the value of most men filling the papacy -- but for the Church to receive the full value of a Bessarion, a Canisius, or a Borromeo requires the active leverage of the papacy, and thus requires someone filling it who can at least recognize a portion of their value.

A man may rationally and reasonably take a medicine without knowing its chemistry.

Frequentist interpretations seem directly to imply that the proper number system for probability is rational. Subjective interpretation seems to require an even coarser grain (based on subjective limitations), while some objective interpretations allow real numbers. (Are there interpretations allowing complex numbers? Perhaps with probability amplitudes.) But there are peculiarities created by choice of number system in the context of probability theories.

the difficulty Bayesian epistemologies seem to have with giving a clear account of suspension of judgment
Bayesians cannot generally distinguish among belief, suspicion, and acting-as-if.

Tobit 13:21-22 //Rv 21:18-21; cp also Is 54:11-12

The pursuit of self-interest, if the phrase does not mean 'anything whatsoever, however absurd and detrimental', already presupposes moral principles.

minimizing compromises in favor of solutions without compromise as a goal of negotiation

Hume's argument for moral sense
(1) Judgments concerning moral rectitude and depravity are perceptions.
(2) All perceptions are either impressions or ideas.
(3) Such moral judgments are not ideas.
(4) Therefore they are impressions.

Every virtue informed by prudence cultivates minor skills that assist the virtue but are not in themselves virtues.

1 Macc & preserving the work of the prophets (cf., e.g., 9:54-57)

the impedance interpretation of complex numbers

A hypothesis: It takes 200 to 300 years for the problematic consequences and disputes following an ecumenical council to work themselves out into an appropriate equilibrium solution.

Every sacrament teaches an aspect of true prayer.

Baptism: Liberation from Egypt :: Confirmation : Sinai :: Reconciliation : Mercy in Wilderness :: Unction : Drawing near the Promised Land

Love must rise above fear of loss.

causes of trend failure in technology: game-changing innovation, saturation of technology, exhaustion of resource

hard vs. soft analytic philosophy

Covering law models of explanation require at least four modalities (existential, spatial, temporal, alethic).

- a moral sense theory of logic (Hume's general point of view and the appropriate impression of agreeableness; allows an account of biased reasoning); it seems like this would start looking a lot like a pragmatist account of logic (act-focused, broadly social character)

Locke's design arguments in ECHU:
2.2.3; 2.7; 2.9.12; 2.21.34; 2.23.12-13; 2.32.14; 3.1.1; [3.6.12;] 3.9.23; 4.4.4

Reliability principles turn phenomena into evidence.

truth > verisimilitude > mimetic persuasiveness

Intuitive assessment is ordered to inquiry, not inquiry to intuitive assessment.

the soul in St. Teresa's Interior Castle // Church

Analects 5.27 & confession

All synodality is an integration through a primacy. Primacy is the enduring potential for synodality.

To recognize a primacy of honor is to recognize a duty of deference. (It does not mean that there might not be other deferences, of course, or that the primate should not as a matter of prudence defer at times to those who owe him deference.)

A true primacy must affirm the catholicity of each and every church, and re-affirm it by validating it.

Epikeia or equity is based on the fact that law expresses reason.

confirmation, orders, and matrimony as conferring special grace and responsibility for teaching

Virtue transfigures health by giving it higher ends.

Anchoringevidential supportpragmatic vindication
Appropriatenessconceptual plausibilityanalogical appropriateness

modal analysis // dimensional analysis

scale measurements as relative to nominal measurements

Modalities in the conclusion must not be stronger than the modal reach of the premises. (That is, than the modalities of the premises or the construction of a modal domain by their combination, e.g., in summation of possibilities.)

Kantian-like approaches to evidence (sub evidence for duty)

character utilitarianism

the aesthetic, policy, and deontic aspects of each virtue

discovery by playful toying with ideas

Lent IV

Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence. But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

In the first and second verses the Prophet teaches that happiness, as far as it is attainable in this world, is only to be had in conjunction with true justice. As the apostle teaches (Rom. 14), "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." For the truly just are alone the friends of God, nay more, his children, and thus heirs of the kingdom, happy in the hope that belongs to the most perfect happiness, meanwhile, here below enjoying that solid joy and peace "that surpasseth all understanding." In this first verse he gives a negative description of the just man; in the second an affirmative, briefly stating here that he is just and thence happy who declines form evil and doth good.

[Saint Robert Bellarmine, A Commentary on the Book of Psalms, O'Sullivan, tr., Loreto Publicans (Fitzwilliam, NH: 2003), p. 1.]

Friday, March 03, 2017

Two Poem Drafts, Two Re-Drafts


The stars are breaking
through storm and cloud;
the light is dropping
like lightest rainfall.
The heavens are grumbling,
they hail the ear;
my heart is free,
my hope is rising.


Fighting faith,
finds favor;

feckless faith,

Ayesha in the Fire

A life beyond life no life can now bear,
nor fair beyond fair and yet still more fair,
for fire and light beyond all desire
will quicken the heart to nothing but fire.
Not gods are we, nor burning with grace,
but apes of the gods, of mortal race,
and though we ascend, as we think, to high throne,
yet still in the darkness we all end alone.

Though shade be deferred by an imminent light,
yet stunted are those who flee from the night,
though long eons stretch, we snap and we die,
and dimness will fall on the brightest of eye,
as darkness will drag us to ash and to dust;
in this fate alone can we mortal men trust.
In ash you will end, leave nothing but name,
life quickened and slain by one glorious flame.


I saw the plan of providence
in but a swift and glancing glimpse.
Without an end it hung with grace,
endless time through endless space
it hung; threads fine like fairy-wire
held galaxies and worlds entire
like little droplets, shining dew --
my mind could hardly grasp the view.
Into a drop I, trembling, fell,
a fall more years than I can tell;
it yet was there, and finer still
its threads than thought of heart or will,
and on each strand bright droplets stood,
single atoms of the good.
I saw one whisper of one wind;
I saw the glimmer of a friend
when friends first meet, the subtle shift,
the instant's instant of heart's lift;
I saw one photon of the dawn
kiss blade of grass upon the lawn.
A million million things I saw,
but further still I fell in awe,
and past the quarks in interlink,
the bits of grace we barely think,
I fell, down to where reason's point
is worlds too coarse to cut the joint,
such subtle goods their brightest glints
are only known through hints of hints,
and still I saw, like frost arrayed
in finest line, God's plan displayed.

Lent III

And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power.... (Acts 1:4-7)

What wonder then that He does not signify the day of the final consummation, when this day which was so near He did not choose to reveal? And with good reason; to the end they may be ever wakeful, and in a state of expectation and earnest heed....

As if then we were banquetting with Christ Himself, and partaking of His table, let us do nothing at random, but let us pass our time in fastings, and prayers, and much sobriety of mind. For if a man who is destined to enter upon some temporal government, prepares himself all his life long, and that he may obtain some dignity, lays out his money, spends his time, and submits to endless troubles; what shall we deserve, who draw near to the kingdom of heaven with such negligence, and both show no earnestness before we have received, and after having received are again negligent? Nay, this is the very reason why we are negligent after having received, that we did not watch before we had received. Therefore many, after they have received, immediately have returned to their former vomit, and have become more wicked, and drawn upon themselves a more severe punishment....

John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily I

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Lent II

My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

We ought therefore to be saddened not if we are tempted but if we have been overcome by temptations.

Knowing that the testing of your faith works patience. For this reason, he says, you are being tempted by adversities, that you may learn the virtue of patience and that through this you may be able to show and test that you have in your heart a firm faith in the future reward. What Paul says, Knowing that tribulation works patience, patience proof, ought not to be considered contradictory to this passage but rather in agreement. For patience works proof, because he whose patience cannot be overcome is proven perfect. This also is taught here thoroughly in what follows, when it is said:

Let patience have a perfect work. And again, the testing of faith works patience, because that love of reasoning causes the faithful to be trained through patience, that through it the degree of the perfection of their faith may be tested.

(Bede, Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles, Hurst, tr., Cistercian Publications (Kalamazoo: 1985), pp. 8-9.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Like Taking the Light from the Eye

The solitary man is not the man of nature....Nature has bestowed on man no particular instinct, but she has given him reason as the foundation of arts, which make up for the want of instinct. By his reason man subdues the other animals and makes the whole earth serve his needs. But reason cannot effect any of this without the help of society; the civil state only adds the necessary order to natural society. If man is made for society, it follows that he cannot be raised well for himself unless he is also raised for others....To take a man from society and require him to exercise his natural faculties is like taking the light from the eye and then requiring it to exercise its functions.

Hyacinthe Sigismond Gerdil, The Anti-Emile, Frank, tr. St. Augustine's Press (South Bend, IN: 2011), p. 12.

Gerdil (1718-1802) published this work on education originally in 1763 (its original title was Reflection on the Theory and Practice of Education against the Principles of Rousseau; the title it is usually given, The Anti-Emile, is a popular designation that attached to the book). He had just recently finished a stint as tutor of the young Prince of Piedmont, and before that had taught at university. He would later go on to become a bishop and cardinal, and narrowly avoided becoming Pope in 1800 -- he might have received enough votes, but it was common practice at that time to let the Catholic nations have a veto, and Austria thought he was too old. His writings are very extensive and diverse; he was a major defender of Malebranchean philosophy, so I've been intending to get around to looking more closely at his oeuvre for a while.

Lent I

And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou has heard me. I knew that thou hear me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." (John 11:41-42)

Christ's way of praying is appropriate, because Jesus lifted up his eyes, that is, he lifted up his understanding, directing it in prayer to the Father above. As for us, if we wish to pray according to the example of Christ's prayer, we have to raise the eyes of our mind to him by turning them from the memories, thoughts and desires of present things. We also lift our eyes to God when we do not rely on our own merits, but hope in his mercy alone....

[Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 6-12, Larcher & Weisheipl, trs., Catholic University Press of America (Washington, D.C.: 2010) p. 246.]

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparing for Lent

* So I usually do a quotation series for Lent; I think I will be doing passages from biblical commentaries by Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church. They tend to be overlooked. They are often not very easy to quote, but I have quite a few lined up; besides those available online, of which there are quite a few, I have a significant portion of Thomas Aquinas's biblical commentaries, commentaries by Bede on Revelation and on the Catholic Epistles, Bonaventure on John (if I can find it), Bellarmine on the Psalms, and perhaps a couple of others, so it should get me all the way through.

* If you want to stir up some heated arguments, ask the question: How many days are in Lent? We talk about the forty days, but there is no actual definite answer -- the Church has more than one calendar, and Lent is not one of the constant features. Latins on the Roman Rite, of course, start on Ash Wednesday, which is a Latin custom; Eastern Rites have already started their Lent; I believe Latins on the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites start theirs next week. And in all these cases 'forty days' is a round number. The Roman count, for instance, has (just short of) forty-four days in Lent -- Ash Wednesday to the Mass of the Lord's Supper exclusive. I have literally counted them through with people who then refuse to believe it. And there are all sorts of elaborate hypotheses about how the count ended up the way that it did, or make it so that there are really forty days in some special sense. (E.g., counting backwards from Easter while skipping Sundays, despite the fact that Triduum is not part of Lent and Sundays are, or counting forward only to Palm Sunday, despite the fact that most of Holy Week we are still in Lent). None of it matters. 'Forty days' is not important for literal count but for what it symbolizes in Scripture -- trial and preparation.

* If you are looking for a place to donate to for Lent, consider the Africa Windmill Project.

* From the Hoosoyo (Prayer of Forgiveness) of the Maronite liturgy for the First Weekday Cycle of Lent (and thus celebrated on Ash Monday and, when liturgies are celebrated on Ash Wednesday in Maronite Churches, for Ash Wednesday as well):

O Christ, Lover of all people, you gave the Church the holy season of Lent as a shield of protection and a healing remedy. Your fasting and sacrifices taught us to fast, and to understand the purpose and essence of life, the meaning of the world and its existence, and the greatness of your love and compassion. Shower your mercy on all people that they may repent, and soften their hearts that they may return to you, know you, and love you.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Preserving Civilization

It's what Benedictines do. This is splendid: The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts from ISIS.

As ISIS militants have destroyed countless artifacts, Stewart has attempted to counter them by working with Christian and Muslim communities in hotspots such as Iraq and Syria. He has trained local teams to photograph centuries-old books with the help of the non-profit organization he directs, the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML). Based out of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, HMML is dedicated to preserving endangered manuscripts on microfilm and in digital format. So far, it has managed to photograph more than 140,000 complete manuscripts, for a total of more than 50,000,000 handwritten pages, according to the organization’s website.

I especially like that they set things up so that the local communities are trained to do the actual handling of their own manuscripts.

Music on My Mind

Rajaton, "Onni". 'Onni' usually means 'luck' or 'good luck', but I think here it perhaps means something closer to 'happiness'. The primary image is of spring bursting through the melting snow; and the last lines mean something like, "Who fears happiness will leave has already lost it." But that comment would work with 'good fortune' as well.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fortnightly Book, February 26

The old saws are wrong, said the philosopher, which tell man to be forever humble before his own mortality. Rather he should strain his being to put on immortality, never to fall below the highest thing he knows.

Eileen Mary Challans, better known as Mary Renault, wrote a number of historical novels set in ancient Greece, but by far her favorite topic from ancient Greece seems to have been Alexander the Great; she wrote several novels in which he appears and a biography of him. She was well known for being very accurate about background, but critics have often thought that she was more partisan than accurate about Alexander. He is for her a sort of full representation of magnanimous man. And it is also the case that even when being more historical, she sometimes writes on the basis of the interesting controversial theory rather than the sure consensus. These are, I think, inevitably the kinds of choices you must make when dealing with historical novels.

Fire from Heaven, published in 1969, follows Alexander from infancy to the death of his father Philip, which, of course, leaves young Alexander on the verge of the course of action by which he will become 'the Great'. The Alexander here is a very Greek Alexander; Xenophontic, one might say, and thus my suspicion is that the novel can be read as a sort of Alexandropaedia. We shall see.

If you need a refresher on the overall life of Alexander, here is Iron Maiden condensing the highlights:

Iron Maiden, "Alexander the Great"

Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone


Opening Passage: From the prologue, giving the backstory of the diamond:
I address these lines--written in India-- to my relatives in England.

My object is to explain the motive which has induced me to refuse the right hand of friendship to my cousin, John Herncastle.

Summary: In 1798, Napoleon landed in Egypt, and one of his goals was to disrupt the British possessions in India. He found a very willing ally to this end in Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Msyore right in the heart of South India, who had been engaging in an ongoing struggle with the East India Company, and wanted to reclaim territory previously lost after a humiliating defeat in the Third Anglo-Mysore War. The result of Tipu's willingness to ally with France was inevitable, given British worries about the French: another war. And the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War was a brutal one. The British, allied with the Marathas Confederacy and the Hyderabad State, marched into Mysore and rolled over everything Mysore had; Tipu Sultan was besieged in his fortress of Srirangaptna, also known by its Anglicized name of Seringapatam. British artillery smashed through the walls, and Tipu Sultan himself was killed.

And, according to our story, in the looting of Seringapatam that followed a young and ruthless John Herncastle seized one of Tipu Sultan's treasures, the Moonstone, a fabulous yellow diamond, very large with a small flaw in the center. How Tipu Sultan had come to it, we do not know exactly, but it was after a long line of thefts and lootings already. The Moonstone had originally belonged to the people of Somnauth, which had been destroyed centuries before, and had been part of their religious devotion to the moon god; but generation after generation three priests charged with guarding the stone had followed it, unable to retrieve it because of the force of arms around it, and yet always watching. With the death of John Herncastle, who wills it to a relative, Rachel Verinder, India comes to England. But the thefts of the precious stone are not yet done.

The structure of The Moonstone is in many ways an odd one; the actual strict puzzle-story at its center is not essential to the broader context, nor is the broader context essential to the (fairly interesting) puzzle-story beyond providing some obfuscation throughout and some partial resolution toward the end. The puzzle is not solved by any one person; the solution is not integral to the plot but episodic, so that the key to its solution within the story itself is getting the views of the right people at the right time. This actually fits very nicely with its multiperspectival approach to narrative -- we get eleven different narrators through different parts of the tale -- so there's nothing to complain about, but it very definitely is a novel structured by characters more than by the actual detective-puzzle at its heart, which mostly serves just to create miscommunication among the characters.

The real detective of The Moonstone is, in a sense, the reader; it is the reader who is the one person who is constantly throughout the story piecing together what must have happened and why on the basis of the different documents provided. This is done quite well, and, I suspect, is one of the reasons for the high praise for the novel throughout the years. No one character solves this detective story; no one character manages to put it all together. But the reader is in the position to do so, through the many twists of the story, and it is the fact that we ourselves are participants in trying to piece together the story that makes it work, even despite the fact that a few of the twists are a little strained and implausible in themselves.

Given the novel's setting, it inevitably touches on issues of both British imperialism and the class system. The class system causes one death and a lot of drama by the end of the story; the lower classes are very definitely not invisible or mere background in this tale. And Collins plays carefully off the exotic character of the Indian priests while at the same time conveying the general sense that their claim to the Moonstone is in some sense the right claim, despite the long centuries since their actual possession of it. When one considers that this was written ten years after the Sepoy Mutiny, the sympathy of the tale for the people of India is notable.

I also listened to both the Suspense and The Weird Circle adaptations of the tale. The two-part Suspense version (35 and 36 here) was less good than I was expecting; I think Peter Lawford was perhaps not the best casting choice for Franklin Blake here, particularly given that cutting The Moonstone down requires that Blake have a much larger role, in terms of proportion, than he does in the novel. The first part was thus slow-moving, although the second went much more swiftly. The Weird Circle single-episode version (67 here) was certainly much swifter. Unsurprisingly, Weird Circle plays up the supernatural legend of the Moonstone considerably more than either the novel or the Suspense version, to the point of committing to the truth of it, which Collins very carefully does not do. As such it turns the story, while still recognizable into a tale of Westerners messing with ancient powers they do not understand, which is a twist.

Both radio series end up cutting out the multiperspectival storytelling almost completely; this makes the stories easier to follow, but also much less rich. All in all, while the Weird Circle version was good and the Suspense version OK, this is not a story easily adaptable to radio. One reason I often do the radio adaptations when I can is that they bring out features of the original by their shifts. (The most dramatic so far has been Dracula, in which the radio adaptation, by cutting down on the communal character of the victory, made clear just how important to the original that communal character was, because tampering with it changes the tenor of the story considerably.) And I think what's brought out here is that the multiperspectival storytelling is not a mere means of structuring the novel; in some sense it is the novel, and the plot is just a way to thread it together. Take out the divergent perspectives and you have something very different. The story also becomes less funny; Betteredge and Miss Clack are humorous narrative voices whose absence is felt.

Favorite Passage:

I felt another pull at my coattails. Gooseberry had not done with me yet.

"Robbery!" whispered the boy, pointing, in high delight, to the empty box."

"You were told to wait downstairs," I said. "Go away!"

"And Murder!" added Gooseberry, pointing, with a keener relish still, to the man on the bed.

Recommendation: Recommended.