Friday, April 15, 2011

Burgo and Blond.

I remember reading a few years back a list of the bedside reading of Jack Spicer, and I was happy to see one of my favorite books, though Spicer only had the paper edition, and I have the original hardback. The book isn't a mystery or sci-fi novel like most of the rest, but a monograph called A History of Orgies by Burgo Partridge.

Burgo's full name was Lytton Burgo Partridge (1935-1963) (wikipedia entry) and he was an English author and member of the Bloomsbury Group. He was the son of Ralph Partridge and Frances Partridge, and named after Lytton Strachey. In 1962, Burgo married his cousin Henrietta Garnett, daughter of Angelica Garnett and David Garnett,[1] with Henrietta already pregnant with their daughter. He died suddenly of heart failure on 7 September 1963, only three weeks after the birth of their baby, Sophie Vanessa. He had already been noticed for his writing ability, and had published one well-received book, A History of Orgies (1958)[2] which was a financial success for himself and his publisher Anthony Blond.[3]

Anthony Blond was a writer himself, and has a wonderful memoir called Jew Made in England. Check out this section called The Odd Hoax. The writing is great and adds something to the hologram of data that is wont to be our recorded history. I wish they would just let google get on with this book thing. We can't buy them all.

Blond also wrote, A Brief History of the Private Lives of the Roman Emperors, and A Scandalous history of the Roman emperors. If you read down from the page where I have linked, there is a recording of a hoax poem written by Blond which was supposedly written by Constantine P. Cavafy, but it's really
not that interesting. Burgo's book was probably the most interesting thing that ever came out of the Bloomsbury group for that matter, except for the hilarious detail that they all loved hanging about this place called

Ham Spray.

I could say I bought A History of Orgies because of a years long interest in the phenomenon known as
The Hellfire Clubs, but I think I bought this when I was a teen-ager, and still believed people might have them for some other reason than money. I always loved the negative or parodic transubstantiation of the host mentioned by Burgo in the section of the feast of fools, where Black Pudding is tossed about and is meant to be shit, but isn't. And the exasperated request of the clergy in the 1440's.. Please copulate outside the Church!