The Combinations Week Day 5: Commonplace Book: One Hell of a Footnote

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.


*Taken at first glance, those Feydite figures resembled nothing as much as doodlings of the Voynich Manuscript – presumably why the Prof went to the trouble of, etc. Did the Old Man therefor suspect the Manuscript came from somewhere in that dream-like region between East & West, where the sun neither rises nor sets but is continually born like a myth – Roman-Persian, Zoroastrian Greek – long before the Turks & the Crusades, the plunder of libraries, the market of relics, the forgery of sacred texts, Knights Templar, Antioch, the fall of Byzantium, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, exotic enchanments, toxic plagiarisms, the shrinking out of dark ages towards enlightenment, rejoicing in the Word anewed, renascent, returning Caesar what was Caesar’s (some bitch’s brew of Hebrewed hagiography, Egyptianed epiphenomenality, Margravial maladroit artifistry of the holiest mediocrity, et seq. & in amalgamation thereof, giving rise to Pontius pictorials, Hermaphroditic heresies, & Caligulaed calligraphies coupled head-to-toe like a duckbilled platypus?) – the Letter’s literal typogenesis from Mesopotamia to Mycenae, a Trojan trope (greetings to Aeneas, you cad!), a Parthian passé-partout, an Avestan avatar, moulded from Mesrob Mashtot’s missionary mottage – Čanač’el zimastut’iwn ew zxrat, imanal zbans hančaroy (“to know wisdom & instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,” amen) – & thence, by monkish Cyril & conjugatory Methode, brought north to illiterate barbarian Sklavs, masters to-come of historical fakery, anno domini Rudolphus Regis Romanorum, passing off a rube for a Rubinstein on that pair of anachronistical make-a-buck-fast mystagogues – John D & Eadweard K, both – touring the moneybags of Mitteleuropa, from England’s Rose to the roe of Rožmberk, thinking they’d stumbled on a veritable gem this time, not some pastparticipled must tome out of headloose Harry’s monastic middenheaps, but das Ding an sich, papyrus scraps out of Byblos, provenance a little shaky admittedly, plundered in Alexandria, turning up in a mummy case in Cairo, sold in Sicily to some Pseudo-Theophrastus concocting potions for wealthy matrons to smooth out their wrinkles – scribbled over in some sort of demotic, partially masticated (rat or dog), bleached by the sun, stained with what can be best described as embalming fluids, blood of the ancients, giving it just the right stink of authenticity, & wanting only to be pasted back together Humptydum-like, transcribed in clean copy & (as per the fashion of the times) illustrated in a naïve style (triangles, squares, magic symbols, Pythagorean nonsense dressed in herbage & the occasional bit of allegorical smut), bound in vellum & flogged off to the highest bidder – Done for a ducket! – like dancing around the proverbial Caucasian chalk circle babbling in tongues – bogus Sumerian, crypto-Pharaonic, ein Schwindel in any language, faultlessly foisted on our dynamic duo of plumb-bobbers! (Now try saying that all in one breath.)

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