The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 9, 2013

November 9, 1923

James Schuyler (November 9, 1923 to April 12, 1991) won a Pulitzer (1981) for his book of poetry: The Morning of the Poem. He worked as a secretary for W. H. Auden, in Italy. His peers considered him a genius.  

Schuyler and his friend, John Ashbery, wrote a novel, together, as a lark. They took turns writing the sentences. We include an excerpt from the result: A Nest Of Ninnies (1969):

As soon as Fluffy was settled on Victor's lap he began to purr loudly. "Ow," Victor said. "Stop that kitty."

"He wants you to scratch him behind the ears." Mrs. Kelso explained. "Either ear."

"Oh Victor, your dark blue suit," Mrs. Bridgewater said.

"I'm scratching, but the more I scratch, the deeper in he digs, " Victor complained.

"He certainly has taken to you," Mrs. Kelso said."And his highness is very choosy about his friends."

Fluffy suddenly released Victor and began to walk along the back of the sofa. When he came to where Claire was sitting he placed a tentative paw on her shoulder, as if to test its firmeness. With a practised movement Claire lifted Fluffy from the back of the sofa to the floor. "A hair of the dog, sometimes, perhaps; a hair of the cat, never."

"I thought the French were a nation of cat lovers, " Victor said. "Anyway that's what you'd think to hear Colette tell it."

Mr. Turpin frowned. "One could scarcely say that Colette, whatever her talents, is typiquement francaise."

"I can well believe that," Dr. Bridgewater said.

"Colette had a faithful old servant who kept her clothes brushed," Claire said to Victor."I have no such luck."

"Dr. Bridgewater, who had been fumbling ceremoniously in his clothes, produced a small red book. "Might I trouble you, Miss Tosti," he said, "for your French address?"

Claire wrote down a number with a small gold pen."This is my office number," she explained."My secretary always knows where I can be reached. You see, usually I am, comme le oiseau sur la branche - like the bird on a branch."

"What does that mean?" Alice asked.

"I think it is self-explanatory, Dr. Bridgewater said." In any case Mother, we ought to be thinking about returning chez nous."

"Anybody like to adopt a cat?" Irving asked.

W. H. Auden said A Nest of Ninnies, is "Destined to become a minor classic." It does grow on you. The lack of afflatus so conspicuous in the novel form is refreshing.

No comments: