Monthly Archives: August 2010

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm, Wallace Stevens


The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book. 
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be. 

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world, 
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

— Wallace Stevens

Somehow, along the way, I also found this Concordances and the Authors’ Horizon of Words’ Meaning, a way to start looking at how poets use words through tools that include “keyword in context”.


Nattering nabobs of negativism

Spiro Agnew's term of rebuke for the Democratic party in the 1970 elections.

The obits from September 1996 have the most recent coverage.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Remembering Agnew

SPIRO AGNEW: In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Time Magazine, 1996: Naysayer to the Nattering Nabobs

In a 1969 speech against war protesters, he said, "A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals." "In the United States today," Agnew told a 1970 audience in San Diego, "we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism." He went after "pusillanimous pussyfooters" and "vicars of vacillation" and "the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."

Read more:,9171,985217,00.html#ixzz0wY2gLHR5

The quote specifically from Bartleby, via the Congressional Record, pins it to the 1970 California Republication convention.

Vice President SPIRO T. AGNEW, address to the California Republican state convention, San Diego, California, September 11, 1970.—Congressional Record, September 16, 1970, vol. 116, p. 32017.

The original AP wire story is saved in Google News

Agnew's speech was prepared for a $125-a-plate Republican fund-raising dinner.