at the stud-farm
Spoke by phone yesterday with a grad student at Berkeley who wrote an environmental report on the Chixoy dam for the International Rivers Network. She kindly offered to copy and send to me multifarious documents (including anthropological reports in French, which I cannot read, but onward!), and also gave me the names of some places to visit, people to talk to. Apparently the offices of INDE (Guatemala's electricity company) are right out of Gilliam's Brazil: enormous rooms, functionaries scurrying everywhere, indoor waterfalls and trees.
The Golden Ass, well, kicks ass, especially in the Robert Graves translation: fluid English that goes down smooth. As one of the reviewers points out, there's transformation into a donkey, sex, illicit sex, illicit donkey sex, plus the mysteries of the goddess Isis; it's the original picaresque, and you can see its influence everywhere in the great tradition of Western silliness, from Fielding to Cervantes. Probably Chaucer too, at least in parts. T.E. Lawrence is supposed to have carried it, in the original Latin, throughout Arabia in his saddlebags.
They all sat down to table together, but the priests had eaten only a few mouthfuls of the first course before they jumped up, crowded around their guest's couch, pushed him down on his back, pulled off his clothes and made such loathsome suggestions that I could stand it no longer. I tried to shout: "Help, help! Rape! Rape! Arrest these he-whores!" But all that came out was "He-whore, he-whore," in fine ringing tones that would have done credit to any ass alive.
There's also a great interpolation of the Eros and Psyche myth, as sort of a bonus.