It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
My lack of appropriate background knowledge makes the letters about botany much less tractable than ones about geology or evolution where I have a decent grounding.
Chaucer liked the new-fangled French iambic metre but he wasn't above a good old-fashioned dream vision! But first, a tale from Ovid's Metamorphoses...
No idea what I was expecting from my first venture into Classical Greek comedy, but it wasn't the crude, lewd, verbal and physical humour coupled with puns and political and personal satire that I got! The Introduction and notes were extremely useful for setting the historical and cultural scene, explaining how the Comedy of the day worked and elucidating obscure references and jokes. This made me wonder how well it would go on the modern stage, where one would surely expect most of the audience to be oblivious to everything explained in the apparatus. A lot of the humour would translate and the general message of peace vs. war might come through, but all the cultural and historical references would be lost, I think.
Tremendous fun from the page, though.
The Book of the Duchess: Almost certainly written in comemoration of Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster, who died of the Black Death, commisioned by her husband, John of Gaunt.
From geology to botany, which occupies the bulk of the remainder of the book. Despite appearances, that's only ~130p as the main text ends ~p300.
Lyell pre-deceased Darwin and was born later - hence I deduce he was not an old man when he died. :-(
Moving on from a collection of animal poems (ending brilliantly with Horrible Song, about not just a crow but the Crow from Life and Songs of the Crow, if you ask me) to Meet My Folks, a collection about a very odd family indeed, which I've read before and liked.
"...I've got to make a long speech to the Chorus very shortly..."
Meta-humour is at least thousands of years old! Also, note the long-short wordplay - this sort of thing is rife in the original, according to the translator.
The Canalettos, they seem to have been particularly good at painting - canals! Or rivers. Lined with architecture.