25 April 2020

04.25—Day 176—Forbidden Knowledge

Not my image...

When I was in Paris in September and October last year I started writing a mémoire I called Forbidden Knowledge. It is the story of my reading of the full text of A Thousand and One Nights as translated by the explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton. I was eleven years old when I saw the 16 gilded volumes at my local library and I became enchanted. I was a precocious reader and was given access to the adult collection but unbeknownst to the librarians the edition on the shelves was published before Burton’s zealous Christian widow expurgated his work. This edition had all the naughty bits including an essay in the appendix that detailed homosexuality in Arab and Muslim  cultures (written in 1886); it blew my twelve year old mind when I read it. At the time—1960-1961—I kept the sexual content of the texts secret, but I detailed and copied all of it into my commonplace books. It led me to read all of Burton's adventures and then Havlock Ellis and his work on human sexuality and then in 1963 Kinsey. The writing of my essay was interrupted, of course, by Henry’s accident on 1 November when I began the work on a much different mémoire I call Beware The Thin Ice about our life since and now. This weblog makes up part of Beware The Thin Ice. I hope one day soon to return to the other essay. 

Meanwhile Henry is progressing. Like all of us he has good days and not-so-good days but his good days are beginning to outnumber...

Be fierce and thrive

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous27/4/20 16:03

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