Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail

by Leslie Myrick

The electrifying news of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in the winter of 1848 compelled an estimated 80,000 adventurers to pack their bags for California in the following months. How they prepared for the journey—aided by the compilation of lists of provisions and outfitting equipment—depended on their intentions: whether to join the vast majority of travelers who went as itinerant gold hunters, leaving their families at home, or as settlers, picking up and moving with their families, in order to ply their own trade in the land of bonanza, e.g. as doctors or merchants. Continue reading “Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail”

Enlisting Allies

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery Alabama
photo by Soniakapedia

by Amanda Gerber

George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, James Scurlock, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery. These names are only an abbreviated list of Black lives brutally stolen by police or vigilantes during the past few weeks, a list that only includes names that rose to public attention and omits those routinely oppressed and over-policed. Continue reading “Enlisting Allies”

Catalogue of Serpents in Metham’s Amoryus and Cleopes

A jaculus in Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley MS 764, f. 98v
© Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

by Amanda Gerber

John Metham’s Amoryus and Cleopes is a fifteenth-century romance loosely based on Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe,” a tale perhaps better known as the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The romance bears few resemblances to its Ovidian source or Shakespearean counterpart, not least of all because Metham adds to the love story a battle with a dragon as well as a postmortem resurrection and Christian conversion. Continue reading “Catalogue of Serpents in Metham’s Amoryus and Cleopes”

James Joyce’s Refrigerator, or, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Lists (numbers 7-13)

by Jeremy Gavron

Seven. I know, too, that the list is involved in what I know.

Eight. So we have looked at a poetry list, a memoir list and now I want to look briefly at a fiction list: “An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried”, by Debbie Urbanski. Here are some lines from the beginning of the story, followed by some lines from the end.

Continue reading “James Joyce’s Refrigerator, or, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Lists (numbers 7-13)”

“There are three things…”: Introducing the Numerical Apothegm

by Martha Rust

A survey of Listology posts shows that the list form is often used to convey advice or wisdom, and when it does, the list’s items are limited to a certain number, which is then featured in its title: the Ten Essentials for Hiking, for instance, or Seven Lessons from Mister Rogers. In this post, we consider an ancient list-based genre of literature that elaborates on this kind of advisory list. Famed German literary scholar Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956) placed this list-based genre in the category of wisdom literature and gave it the name Zahlenspruch, or “numbered saying,” which Willard R. Trask translated as “numerical apothegm.”[1] As our examples will show, whether or not a numerical apothegm conveys wisdom, it gives a reader much to think about.[2]

Continue reading ““There are three things…”: Introducing the Numerical Apothegm”

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