Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Snippet from My Recently Published Book: Wilson R. Bachelor on June 1898

In May, I published a snippet from the diary of Wilson Richard Bachelor, the whole of which has now appeared in print in my recent book Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Country Doctor and Philosopher (Fayetteville: Univ. of AR Press). What I shared in May was something he wrote about the month of May in 1898. Both as a scientist and a freethinker, Dr. Bachelor was keenly interested in the passing of time and the movement of the seasons, and from year to year, his diary documents the procession of the months.

Here's something he wrote in June 1898:

June the 17th 1898—8 P.M. 
We have had a rainy June so fare. Vegetation is exuberant. 
May is Sometimes compared to a young Maiden—then Surely June Symbolizes glorious mature womanhood. It is June that receives all the beauties of Spring untill She is almost Surfeited with plenary indulgence, and before She pays tribute to Autumn. The rich green foliage of mountain and glen, the green fields of growing corn and cotton, growing fruits and gardens. 
Dr. W. R. Bachelor

I like that phrase, "surfeited with plenary indulgence." Not sure that as he used the phrase to describe the start of summer in western Arkansas, Bachelor knew that "plenary indulgence" has a technical canonical meaning for Catholics--but it's entirely possible he did know this, since religious ideas interested him keenly, and as the title of the only monograph he published, his now-lost work Fiat Flux, indicates, he was perfectly capable of taking a traditional religious phrase and spinning its meaning in a new direction to meet his interests as a freethinker.

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