In his third memoir, May Week Was In June, Clive James writes of his inability to stick to the syllabus:
Out of the three terms of my second and last year as an undergraduate, one and a half had gone by before I could bring myself even to sit down and assess the magnitude of what I had not yet done in the way of preparing to satisfy the examiners. When I finally faced the issue, I quickly realised that I would have a better chance of satisfying them if I offered them my body.
There is perhaps no greater comfort nor reward granted by reading than resonance. It is an indescribable liberation to have our feelings corroborated; to sift through the works of writers centuries past and happen upon an unassuming strand of words that instantly articulates the inarticulable, that echoes an acute emotion lying dormant within. These discoveries serve as whispers through time, as a consoling hand-squeeze in the ether. In my first year studying on the Strand, Virginia Woolf’s 1930 essay Street Haunting: A London Adventure offered me this solace.
After our first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in March 2018, we always had in the back of our minds that we wanted to host another wikithon. And while the pandemic has put paid to any in-person meet-ups for the past eight months, we thought we would make the most of this period of physical distancing to gather participants from across multiple time zones and engage in some collective, virtual editing! Thanks to the generous support of Temporal Communities at Freie Universität Berlin, 16 of us were able to get together on the 28th October for three hours of training, discussing, and editing, all done via Zoom. See below for our outcomes.
It’s been called one of the greatest literary discoveries of a generation: a hugely significant and previously unknown manuscript of John Donne’s poetry which was lost for years and found in a Suffolk country house in 2018 by Sotheby’s expert Gabriel Heaton. After disappearing from public view during all the confusion of 2020, the ‘Melford manuscript’ has now officially found a home at the British Library.
One of the loneliest things about life online, I’ve found, is that it denies us the full sensory range of human interaction. In lockdown I realised how much I missed not only seeing and hearing other people (sensory modes which Zoom can just about convey, even if unsatisfyingly) but how much I missed touching and even smelling other people.