Monday, October 23, 2006


Reason #1 for the Pseudonym: Of course, as many of you know, Horace, or at least the popular gloss on Horace, provides the title for the blog--that the purpose of poetry is "to delight and to instruct" . . . or some such thing. I don't do the Latin so well...

Of course, Horace is not only talking about poetry, but more specifically about dramatic poetry. On the front page of my introduction to drama syllabus (which hasn't been dusted off in some years now, to my chagrin), I have several quotes detailing the purpose of the dramatic arts, and Horace's pithy doctrine has always struck me as both elegantly balanced and comprehensive.

Reason #2: In my second year of college, I lived on a honors floor in a dorm that featured all sorts of silly dorm events, where one floor hosted another for a theme party or what have you--the theme revolved around a mocktail, created and named by the floor. In this particular year, our theme was something vaguely mobster oriented, and since there was an inordinate number of Jewish students on the floor, we hooked onto the idea of a Jewish mob. We were the Goldstein crime family, and we each had our family name. I was in a "celebrate childhood" phase, all coloring books and Winnie-the-pooh and Disney movies, and so when Asked to pick a crime family henchman name, of course I gravitated to the henchmen of one of the best Disney villains available, Cruella De Vil. Her goons, Horace and Jasper became my source, and, confused about which was the skinny one (I was 5'11" and 127 lbs at the time, so I wanted the skinny one), I chose Horace. I am even sadderto find out that the live-action Jasper was played by the unparalleled Hugh Laurie of House, M.D. and formerly Blackadder fame. Nonetheless, my friend Sue, whom I met on that on that dorm hall way, still calls me Horace to this day.

Reason #3: Horace is of course the cognate of Horatio, the name of perhaps the most overlooked, and to me, fascinating character of that Danish play...In fact, I have a theory, or perhaps just a production idea for that play which features Horatio as the play's unreliable narrator. My version of play opens on the final scene, with Horatio surveying the carnage, just as Fortinbras and his army arrive. Fortinbras asks what the hell happened, to which Horatio replies:
Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
But let this same be presently perform'd,
Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
On plots and errors, happen.

It's the "presently perform'd" that I always latch onto, and which has me imagining Horatio removing the crowns and rapiers from the dead bodies, and casting the soldiers as his actors (with Fortinbras as Claudius, of course). The lights go down, and quickly come up again on 1.1, with Horatio essentially directing the action throughout...he would never leave the stage, then, becoming Hamlet's unreliable narrator. Someday I'll write up a little article on this, my pet theory.

So...Call me Horace. I'll see you around the internets, dear reader.


Bardiac said...

Hey Horace, I found you! (It took me awhile, though. So much for MY savvy reading!)

Welcome to your new (temporary?) home.

Horace said...

Maybe not so temporary...we'll see.