I've been time traveling to my own past...and it's been lovely

The Summer City by the Sea: Cape May, New Jersey--An Illustrated HistoryThe Summer City by the Sea: Cape May, New Jersey--An Illustrated History by Emil R. Salvini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I lived in Cape May for about a year when I was much younger and have become very interested in its history, which makes me feel like I'm there again with the ocean breeze on my face and loud ocean sounds in my ears. It was so fun to learn the history of the building where I lived, which I'm happy to hear is now a beautiful bed and breakfast -- as well as the history of most of the other gorgeous buildings I would walk by every day on my way to work...

View all my reviews Voilà, where I lived, from their official site https://www.angelofthesea.com/ :

A useful but not fun time travel source

Women In Print: Writing Women And Women's Magazines From The Restoration To The Accession Of VictoriaWomen In Print: Writing Women And Women's Magazines From The Restoration To The Accession Of Victoria by Alison Adburgham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am extremely interested in the topic of this book, and very much enjoyed discovering periodicals I didn't know...but I didn't enjoy the weird sermonizing against sermonizers (perhaps to be expected in a book of this date).

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To get through the icky bits

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Had a good idea -- I'll double up on the French I do (anyway I'm behind) when I'm having to spend time with the gross ancient writings I described in the last post. The French doesn't usually take that long, and it will be a Beauty Break in the midst of horrors I need at least to skim. (Of course I'm sure there are horrors available in the French language as well, but what I read and study is either practical or beautiful.)
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

An unforeseen problem

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...Note it needs a * GROSS ALERT *



As I mentioned, I often find ancient writings difficult to get through because of how they recommend treating women, and because they're religious. However, I'm now running across even worse problems -- graphic descriptions of beating women, child abuse including incest, and unbelievable stories of religious "devouts" defacating on other humans. Totally unsurprisingly, it's coupled with an apparent hatred of beauty. I'm beginning to wonder if it was a group of completely uncultured ruffians who wrote these stories (earlier works I read were by highly educated -- for their time -- scholars). Oh, well; I'm getting lots of (other) information and it's yet one more goad (too literally for my taste) to speed toward the finish line.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

History sources

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Just wanted to mention (again?) that I'm fully aware that sources like the Jataka tales are not historically accurate by any means -- but they are very valuable for hints on what existed in its time, especially for someone such as I interested in day-to-day life as opposed to say political history. E.g., I'm running across interesting descriptions of the work of salespeople...
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Some thoughts on translation

As chronicled in your researcher's 2010 journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



Translation is a whole academic field, with whole journals as well as of course books devoted to it. But I just read some interesting thoughts also at the December 27, 2009, post at http://rickmarshall.blogspot.com/ . By the way, my 2nd volume of Jataka tales so far which is from a different translator (W.H.D. Rouse) is more enjoyable -- he says he made a real effort to reflect the feel of the original writing's sentence length etc. (from the Pali language).

Also, so far he as well as the 1st volume's translator (Robert Chalmers) point out any interesting parallel stories they know from other Buddhist writings as well as other culture's tales. Which is fun for anyone interested in folklore.

Though my Jataka tales translations are from the late 1800s, they are based on a critical edition. However, I need to re-check before I do much more work to make sure there isn't a newer and better translation out since I made my lists and choices years and years ago (and when I knew much less about South Asian literature).

Critical editions are marvelous, as they compare ancient manuscripts for the hopefully most authentic original text and also point out which are later additions or changes (which in itself is very interesting in my work). Critical editions are one reason I'm improving my French, as one good translation of an important work for my work is only available so far in French. Of course I also learned how to utilize such work when I did ancient Greek in grad school...
Current time travel apparatus location: Institut Français de Pondichéry, Pondicherry, India

That's a wonderful place, by the way, both intellectually and aesthetically -- I can still feel the cool breezes from the nearby ocean and see the shady rooms when I look at photos from there, and I treasure the books we got in their bookshop: http://www.ifpindia.org/ .

Musings on work

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...including 2010 musings on computers, sorry!



The purpose of this "diary" is not to complain about say a flu that slows me down, or to grovel with self-loathing on the days when I'm less productive; I try not to do that too much in "real life," and writing about those things only seems to make them worse. (I hope that I do not sound even more arrogant than I am as a result!)

So far this week I finished the 1st of 7 volumes of my copy of the Jataka tales! Though still have a few pages of notes to write up.

I also finished our South Asian history library reorg a few days ago. It's already been very helpful to know where all my sources are.

But I am having to adjust to my much more normal very varied routine. It's less efficient, though I think necessary, and really as I said more enjoyable. It was more predictable to sit down every single morning to zillions of archaeological reports and see what they had to say about the sites in which I was interested, with planned breaks for Sanskrit and French and German study. It's easy to get efficient at similar stuff you do over and over. Now there's still the language stuff, but the rest just depends on where I am in researching my current period in approximate chronological order.

I'm not only less efficient but much more easily distracted as a result of the variety. It doesn't help that I rarely really enjoy the religious ancient writings, which most is for ages here. So many are so abusive of women, for one thing. And it's so sad to think of the past humans who must have swallowed some of the nonsense. In the past I came up with all sorts of tricks to keep me focused (including a reward of x minutes of break for x minutes of work, though I hate having to keep such tedious notes); maybe I'll return to some.

But overall what I really think I prefer is simpler: Just do my best for that day, making allowances for feeling under the weather, and keeping in mind that one page can be packed full of fabulous information and implications for my projects whereas sometimes I can get through 50 pages with almost nothing -- so I either have the thrill of getting loads of new information, or getting through zillions of things on my to-do list, and rarely both on the same day.

I also need to budget not only my money but my time for pleasures like digital music, possibly my chief distraction! Though also my chief ally against distraction when I play certain playlists that help me focus.

Next week may also be easier not only because of getting used to my more varied routine but because I usually break up my physical activity ("exercise") over the week. Physical activity helps one's brain work so much better, but of course the effects wear away so it's better not to do it all in one day. But this week I did it all in one go on Monday, with several hours of carting heavy books all over the library, including up and down to the mezzanine.

I got distracted today with a very long presentation by Steve Jobs et al on the new iPad. I've decided that in its present version it won't be my next laptop. Though I adore its lightweight-ness for travel! But I need something that runs lots of software at once and that supports the trillions of digitized journals and archaeological reports I have and happily brings up loads of documents at once across as large a screen as I can afford so I can compare sources as well as my own notes, written chapters, whatever. I adore Macs and have always had one at home and in my most civilized jobs, and I love my iPods, but this doesn't fit my needs right now though I hope it will in the future because small is wonderful as long as I can still see the print or can make it larger...
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Class!!! Friends!!!!!!


A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Yesterday I actually attended a class!!! I too seldom get the chance here. Also met several really nice Indian ladies there -- one just back from like 20 years in Germany, another 20 years in Australia, another 20 years in Boston, USA, another who still lives in PARIS, ahhhh. Friends are hard to meet here for me, and I'm totally delighted.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Library work of a different nature


A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...





I've been more erratic in this journal lately due to illness, family time, and now because I realized my own Gupta sources were all over the library. I didn't even know how many Kalidasas I needed to source yet, can you believe it. : ) So I'm as quickly as possible putting things into order and even making a rudimentary catalog just for our South Asian sources -- all made easier by our getting yet another old glassed-in bookcase -- when windows are open here, the dust is unbelievable, and it's a shame for the nicely printed/bound books to get damaged as a result.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Using lots of primary sources

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...when I was able to do more than months on end of reading archaeological reports to use a wider variety of sources.


Let's see, yesterday and so far this morning I organized some old writings I hadn't yet, from some (translated) South Asian languages I hadn't used yet. Also did 10 Jataka tales including writing up some of the interesting social tidbits available in them (the only reason to read them for me); only like a million tales to go (it's one of my multi-volume writings to do; mine is 7 volumes). Also did Sanskrit and French.
Current time travel apparatus location: New Delhi, India

Joys not only of typos

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



It's not just old-fashioned typos for our amusement anymore. A journal from the 1700s and 1800s I'm reading just now has wonderful phrases as a result of its digitization. My favorite so far this morning: a "Kreat diBoovery" someone made. 
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

I feel like being a Kreat diBrooveryer today.

History, art thrown away

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



A site of potentially great help to me -- rumored to have been a capital for various governments, and at the very least an ancient city and therefore of great interest -- had not only its ancient buildings but its artworks (carvings, sculptures) destroyed and carted away to use as ballast! This was in the 1870s or so. (Read in the 1878 record of the comments of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.)
Current time travel apparatus location: Vancouver, Canada

Dating

No, not the fun type.

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Did 2 sites today, a busy day for travel. One site I had to move to a later chapter, as the excavators though they presented the scientific dating blithely placed the site in a significantly earlier period than it and other evidence signified. A scholar too pointed out how weird they were about not using the dating that was done at such pains. Of course this was all because the excavator was rather kooky and wanted the site for one of his favorite periods rather than a later one. Oh well, at least the real dating was right there.
Current time travel apparatus location: Tokyo, Japan