Friday, October 17, 2008

Innocue vivite: numen adest

I'm sure this doesn't interest anyone but me, but I am constantly trying to remember this phrase. I must have written in down at least three times (in the composite notebooks I sometimes like to keep), but then I forget it again and can't find where I jotted it down. Maybe I have some sort of mental block.

The phrase "innocue vivite: numen adest" comes from the Ars Amatoria (i.e. the Art of Love) a poem in three books written by the Romen poet Ovid (43 BC - 17 AD). Apparently, the poem was about how to find a guy/girl and how to hold onto him/her (sounds kind of like The Rules huh?).

Anyway, the phrase loosely translate to "live harmlessly: the spirit is at hand." The Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the guy who invented the system of binomial nomenclature, had it enscribed on the lintel over the bedroom doorway in his summer home (Hammarby) outside of Uppsala. The quote was actually mistakenly written as "innocue vivito."

I first learned of this phrase when I read A.S. Byatt's novel The Biographer's Tale which includes three memorable passages written by a fictional biographer: one about Linnaeus' travels in Norway, one about the Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), and one about Francis Galton (1822-1911) a Victorian Englishmen (and grandson of Erasmus Darwin) famous for his exploration of East Africa and his advocating eugenics. That book is also responsible for leading me to read Ibsen's play Peer Gynt which has trolls in it, and for convincing me I need to see the maelstrom someday.


Photo found on the blog A Lake County Point of View, it was originally taken by Flicker user The County Clerk.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Know Who's Movie...

...won a record-setting 8 Razzies!

Yet another reason you should watch I Know Who Killed Me (preferably with friends... and alcohol).

Check out my review here.