Despite the obstacles of him coming down sick and now me too, again, and why yes, the classic raw days of classic February NYC winter -- currently we are after noon and the temperature stands at 27º.
I'm gonna go back to bed where I shall curl up with Henry Adam's novel set in D.C., the delicious Democracy (published anonymously in 1880) until it's time to go to the theater for Chico and Rita. This is a screening that includes a Q&A with the creative and production team, and the students are going. I promised I'd go with el V, so I shall. Beside the film is so lucious, graphically and musically. If it plays in your area you really should check it out.
The more I read in Democracy, the more I think I'm reading one of Gore Vidal's Chronicles of Empire novels. There's Senator Gore, who plays a role -- an actual senator, who was one of Vidal's family. Democracy is filled with the names of contemporaries in D.C. at the time it's set as well as barely disguised other names, for this is also a roman à clef. As well, it's a comedy of manners and an exposé of contemporary D.C. corruption. The wit and observations sparkle still. I'm deeply impressed. Surely Edith Wharton read this.
I'm reading this in a Library of America volume that collects Democracy, his other novel, Esther, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, and The Education of Henry Adams. None of his historical work is collected in anything, much less the wonderful Library of America series. Keep in mind his Mont Saint Michel and Chartres are presented as belles lettres at best, in a lit course, or art history. This confirms my sense of why Henry Adams has so dropped from sight in the last decades. I must thank Gore Vidal for returning him to my consciousness as an historian.