I learned a new word today: “cormorant.”
Eileen recognized it as the name of a bird but in her book The Birth-mark, that I started today, Susan Howe uses the word in reference to John Cotton, the historian Cotton Mather’s maternal grandfather calling him a “library cormorant.” The OED gives a second figurative meaning of cormorant as “An insatiably greedy or rapacious person. Also with qualification, as money-cormorant.” Howe says that John Cotton was one of the “vivid” lives in the “Lives of Sixty Famous Divines,” in Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana.
Not only was John Cotton a “library cormorant” but “Mr. Cotton was indeed a most universal scholar, and a living system of the liberal arts, and a walking library…. Twelve hours in a day he commonly studied, and would call that a scholar’s day; resolving to wear out with using than with rusting.” (from the Magnalia as quoted by Howe)
I like the idea of wearing out from use rather than rust. I think this is something I aspire to as well and reminds me of Eileen and her Mom.
Later Howe refers to Nathaniel Hawthorne as a “library cormorant.” I think this is a useful word for me since I and so m any others I know are library cormorants.
I picked up on Howe because she gave a joint reading with Ben Lerner which is on YouTube. I was just curious about her work. She’s a bit older than Lerner (b. 1937). I’m not sure what the book is about yet but decided I was interested because it deals with Emily Dickinson, Emerson, and others.
I’m on the road to recovery from being phished thanks especially the expertise of my daughter, Sarah, and brother, Mark. I upgraded my Internet Security software and ran some diagnostics. I changed a few passwords and will be working on that more. Eileen and I both have some work to do on securing our devices. Now we have motivation!
Eileen is working on her Mom’s famous cinnamon rolls today. They look great so far. I have volunteered to eat any failures if she is not satisfied and starts over.
Rhonda just stopped by with a Christmas gift. I was not only able to give her her Christmas gift but these days I can give a whirlwind tour of my study, my music room, and Eileen’s loom room. As Eileen just remarked, we are getting somewhere!
I made one last trip to Readers World before Christmas Day today. I did some research on some books for Eileen and me and then went and picked out some stuff. Eileen always finds it difficult to choose something to give me. Usually if we’re alone for Christmas we don’t really do much, but since we will be celebrating here on Christmas day and have lots of presents for Elizabeth, Jeremy and Alex it seems that Santa should bring both Eileen and me stuff. So I did the Santa thing for both of us today. I think I was pretty successful.
Eileen also is making chili today, one pot vegetarian and one pot carnivore. The house is smelling excellent!