Friday, July 27, 2007

In lieu of a postcard

"And the city is situated on hills; you are hurrying along somewhere and all at once beneath your feet you have a deep green chasm with a fine river below; you are taking a walk and all of a sudden there is another street located on a bridge above your head, as at Genoa; you are taking a walk, and you reach a perfectly circular open space, as at Paris. The whole time there is something for you to be surprised at." - Karel Capek on the wonders of wandering around Edinburgh, in Letters from England.

[Letters from England, by Karel Capek, translated by Paul Selver, London, 1925. The Czech satirist holidays, sending home faux-naive doodles and matching comic prose. The first few chapters, in which he is beaten about the head by London, are much the best; they show a near-Swiftian skill with lists.]

Additional note, in the event of this blog having a Scottish reader: Yes, he is aware that your country is not part of England; no, I don't know why he chooses not to reflect this in his overall title. The translator sounds potentially English; why don't you blame him?

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