Tonight the two Yale art galleries had a block party; I wandered into Yale British Art Center to see the "Searching for Shakespeare" exhibit. Not a whole lot, but I liked seeing the books from his day and of course that famous will with "the second best bed." Seems only one image claiming to be Shakespeare indisputably is -- the engraving Ben Jonson commented on.
While there I paused to drink non-alcoholic sangria in a room lined with paintings by George Stubbs. I've never really admired that era of painting (even though I copied one of his horse paintings once upon a time), but I thought how it must have tickled some rich dude of the day to find his image emblazoned in a painting of two men out on a hunt. "By George, George, if it's not myself to the quick!" Then I gazed awhile at a painting of a zebra, the first ever brought to England. Set against the facile English park it looked almost surreal. What would it be like to live your whole life not knowing of the zebra's existence, secure in your knowledge of the equine family, and then suddenly to be confronted with such a bizarre creature?
The zebra reminded me of my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book--On Beyond Zebra--in which a precocious young man refuses to believe the alphabet stops with "Z" or zed, or zebra. "That's fine for those who stop with Z, but not me!" is his cry. I loved it in my pre-school days; perhaps that was the origin of my inordinate demands upon language.