Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

Dennis De Witt hopes someone can identify “a song or bit of doggerel last heard, I think, in the 1960s, suggesting that there was nothing left for the Modern Movement to discover because, in the approximation of the refrain that lingers in my mind, ‘It was all done in the Twenties in Berlin.’”



Harry Goldgar asks if any fan of the 1992 film School Ties can identify the French text which a sadistic teacher orders a student to memorize, thereby causing the victim’s nervous breakdown.



Bruce Hoff is curious about the meaning of a taunt uttered on at least one occasion by Zelda Fitzgerald: “I hope you die in the marble ring.” Sally Cline’s biography refers to a childhood game Zelda played in the marble rotunda of the Alabama state capitol; other writers refer to the ring used in a game of marbles. Does the reference ring any other bells?



“born of Lust unchained/And most vile Flux” (September-October). Daniel Rosenberg identified these lines by the fifth-century pagan epigrammatist Palladas of Alexandria, as translated by Dudley Fitts in his One Hundred Poems from the Palatine Anthology (1938). Palladas sets his “ruder Truth” against the claims that man is “divine” or even simply “dust.”

 

Send inquiries and answers to “Chapter and Verse,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138, or via e-mail to chapterandverse@harvardmag.com.

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