I’ve reached a milestone in my blogging: I’ve accidentally deleted a post! Here’s a recreation of that post, as best as I can recall it’s content. I’ve also added a little that clearly wasn’t there before, just because I can.

When I first decided to start a blog, I sought the advice of one of my friends, mistersquid. When we discussed a name for my blog, he suggested I use something from my work that also had some special meaning for me. Shortly after our conversation, I knew that I wanted to use the opening line from my favorite poem by John Wilmot, earl of Rochester (pictured right, placing a laurel on a monkey, a comment on the quality of his rival poets):

Leave this gaudy gilded stage,

From custom more than use frequented,

Where fools of either sex and age

Crowd to see themselves presented.

To love’s theater, the bed,

Youth and beauty fly together,

And act so well it may be said

The laurel there was due to either.

‘Twixt strifes of love and war, the difference lies in this:

When neither overcomes, love’s triumph greater is.

As I write in the introduction to my book, this poem encapsulates a key element of Restoration libertinism: the impulse to retreat from and mistrust the “gaudy gilded stage” of public life expressed in a poem written for some level of public consumption.

This tension between public and private strikes me as particularly apropos to writing a blog. I’m asking what will probably turn out to be a relatively small number of people to retreat into a kind of private space, my blog, while publishing that blog on the internet for all and any to read. Like the libertine performing for his would-be lover and the members of the court who will read this particular performance, I exist in a space between my private thoughts, ideas, and interests and the public, mostly anonymous readers who might stumble across my blog.

Since I’m recreating this entry retrospectively, I can add here that I already feel the tension between creating a public persona for anyone to read and trying to be “myself,” whoever that is. I will be interested to see how this plays out in posts to come.

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