Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A little boîte à merveilles made its way to me on Valentine's Day. Meant for mon anniversaire, it arrived a couple weeks late (but in time to fete something else, obviously.) In it, I found a percheron and a mediterranean tortoise to add to my office menagerie. Found also an old, hand-colored map of the Loiret region - no rail lines included:

"Dites moi: où se trouve Ouzouer-sur-Loire?"

The most perplexing (and maybe niftiest) thing was the carnet: It was called "Denis Diderot's Notebook," but was blank. On the colophon, it said that the publisher took no responsibility for the contents of the book.

Calligraphie, from Diderot and D'Alembert's "L'Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers:" the first of its kind, and probably the main reason why this girl decided to switch specialties, add a couple years to her schooling and throw herself into a tête française. Who wouldn't if their school library had a facsimile copy and their favorite professor talked about building a camera obscura from the specs contained within?

I tried my best to be funny in my thanks, but apparently Gracie Allen doesn't translate so well...ended up receiving instructions as to what to put in the book (No hyperlinks. How about recipes, knitting patterns and translations? Though I may want to write in pencil, try not to as a journal should be, like the NYT Sunday Crossword, always done in ink.) I'm thinking of making up a lot of spicy stuff to fill the book with, then willing it to my friend in order to leave an odd, slightly scandalous history for his next of kin to deal with.

No comments: