Thursday, August 18, 2011
You don't care what I checked out of the library today. Yet here we are. Intrigued by Lee Durkee's notes on John Aubrey's notes on John Dee, I checked out two versions of Aubrey's BRIEF LIVES. One is a two-volume set from 1898 and the other is a single volume put together in 1949. Then I picked up something from 1931 called THE SCANDAL AND CREDULITIES OF JOHN AUBREY, because how could I not? Sadly, it seems to be nothing but a whittled down version of the LIVES. The editor gives a very long introduction with some crazy turns of phrase ("The wry and knobbly spine of his days") and warnings of forthcoming sauciness ("Aubrey's grossnesses occur so frequently, and at such important points, that to suppress them is to destroy utterly the artistic value...") I haven't run across any grossnesses yet, but you will be the first to know. Aubrey talks to someone named goodwife Faldo whose mother took care of Dee "in his sicknesse." (This is from the 1898 edition.) Goodwife Faldo recalls that "The children dreaded him because he was accounted a conjurer." She lost a basket of clothes, if I am reading correctly, and John Dee recovered them, though it's unclear whether she's saying he did so by magic. After he died, "The children when they played in the church would runne to Dr. Dee's grave-stone."