On our way to a Heath Ceramics spring overstock sale this morning, I cajoled the Lesser Half — who was curious about the artist responsible for some beautiful drawings of which we had recently, mysteriously, come into possession — to listen to Terry Castle’s 2010 podcast interview on The Seventh Avenue Project.
“Ah, right, this is the author of your MI-6 code book,” she said, referring to my rubric for Castle’s collection of essays from that same year called The Professor: A Sentimental Education.
(On request, the Lesser Half — a librarian, conveniently — lugs this book home for me every three or four months. Not having read it herself, she knows Castle only by my constantly citing this collection as the finest in English since The Spirit of the Age.)
“Exactly,” I said, “Terry Castle.”
“But, Elmo, what does she have to do with those drawings?” (Elmo is my nickname.)
“Terry Castle drew them.”
“Okay, okay, right,” said the Lesser Half. “Wow, she’s fab. And I love her laugh too! This is the gal who hung with Sontag for a while?”
“Yes, and she also wrote The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology From Ariosto To Stonewall, as well as a number of other very highly regarded critical and expository works that you’ve carried home for me so often as to account for your well-developed biceps.”
We arrived at Heath Ceramics and parked. I switched off the podcast. The Lesser Half paused silently for a moment, obviously contemplating some further puzzlement.
“But the accent — she’s sounds American, not British.”
“Yeah, she’s American. So what?”
“Well, I don’t get why she’d be spying for MI-6.”