Bibliotheca Abscondita, Title #5

The Universal Register of Personal Opinion (URPO).  This is a hardback volume with an erasable slate on the cover.  Write your question – any question – there, then open the book to find answers from various living and historical figures, listed alphabetically.  Close the book and write a different question on the cover and the contents are magically rearranged and updated.  No single answer is definitive and contradictions will abound.  Anachronism is more than half the fun since the book allows you to learn, for example, Cleopatra’s take on American health reform legislation, or Emily Dickinson’s opinion of Hammurabi’s personal hygiene.  As such, the URPO suggests that Eternity is the simultaneous presence of all time rather than a matter of infinite sequence.


Filed under Bibliotheca Abscondita

5 responses to “Bibliotheca Abscondita, Title #5

  1. This sounds like a textual labyrinth straight out of Borges’ ficciones. Is this your own fantastic invention? It’s lovely.

  2. Ian Wolcott

    It is a little Borgesian, isn’t it? Or (according to my brother) like something from Harry Potter.

    This is a series on books encountered in dreams. Explanation here:

  3. Question inscribed on the cover of the “URPO”: What’s up with The New Psalmanazar?

    On opening the URPO, I find this indirect but suggestive reply, from R.W. Emerson, via the pen of Elizabeth Peabody:

    “[Mr. Emerson] advised me to keep a manuscript book and write down every train of thought which arose on any interesting subject with the imagery in which it first came to mind. This manuscript was to be perfectly informal and allow of skipping from one subject to another with only a black line between. After it was written I could run a heading of subjects over the top––and when I wanted to make up an article, there were all my thoughts, ready.”

    ~Elizabeth Peabody, in a letter to her brother George after a conversation with Emerson, now relayed to TNP via the URPO.

  4. Ian Wolcott

    Sounds about right. Thanks, Mark. Glad to see you’re alive and well. Your own blog’s been quiet for a couple weeks now.

  5. Hi Ian,

    Things have been busy round here (visitors and a few spring debaucheries: cherry blossom time). But classes resume in three days, and I suppose I’ll re-engage quickly enough. That blog of mine tends to follow whatever it is I’m teaching.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s