Monthly Archives

August 31, 2003

Fictional Criticism

In Chapter 4 ('The Zinc-Lined Trunk') of his delightful novel, Antigua, Penny, Puce (1936), Robert Graves puts the following words in the mouth of an anonymous form-master:

"What I like about Lucretius is that the substance of his writing is, to all intents and purposes, negligible. Read him in search of knowledge or good sense and you are misinformed and misdirected at every turn. But ah, what noble nonsense! Concentrate on the manner, gentlemen, and forget the matter."

I do not know to what extent Graves endorsed the opinion of his character.

Posted by Michael Hendry at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2003

A Culinary Puzzle

A few years ago, I ate dinner at a Greek restaurant near University College, London. I ordered the mixed platter of various meats, one of which was a sausage called Loukanika. The name must come from ancient Roman Lucanica, a sausage mentioned by various authors, including Martial (13.35.1):

Filia Picenae uenio Lucanica porcae

What struck me was that Loukanika seem to be an only slightly tastier version of the Slim-Jims sold in 7-11s and other inelegant venues. I was very surprised to run across such a thing in a respectable restaurant. Did the ancient Romans eat Slim-Jims? Has the sausage remained essentially the same over two millennia? Was the restaurant passing off some shoddy substitute for the true Loukanika? Or is the resemblance coincidental?

Posted by Michael Hendry at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)