[lit-ideas] A 'hermeneutic' circle

  • From: cblists@xxxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2012 10:48:23 +0200

"The company was founded in 1783, by James Man, a barrel maker. The following year the company secured the contract to supply the Royal Navy with the rum for its daily ?rum tot?, a tradition under which all sailors were allocated a daily ration of rum. (This tradition continued until 1970, with Man holding the contract throughout the entire period."


All very interesting (especially the - no doubt - extremely lucrative 183-year-long contract), but how did I get to THIS from a discussion of whom the portrait of Iris Murdoch (as featured on the back of my paper-back copy of THE SEA, THE SEA) reminded my dinner partner?

The route was more circuitous than necessary. It ranged through Boticelli, Titian, and Holbein - who led us (I'll reveal how if interest is shown) to Hilary Mantel's acceptance speech on reception of the Man Booker Prize. The question as to just who this 'Man' ('surely not the construction vehicle company!') was, led to the 'item of interest' above.

More circuitous than necessary - because Murdoch herself won the Booker Prize for THE SEA, THE SEA. But at that time it was officially the Booker-McConnell Prize (Man took over sponsorship in 2002).

I've just noticed the vaguely nautical connection (Royal Navy - THE SEA, THE SEA). The only Booker Prize-winning novel I can speak of for certain in which the Royal Navy's 'daily rum tot' would appear (and there perhaps only 'behind the scenes') is William Golding's RITES OF PASSAGE (and this was also before Man 'took over').

Can any list member report a less tenuous connexion - i.e., the aforementioned 'daily rum tot' appearing (perhaps prominently) in a (post 2002) Man Booker Prize-winning novel?

Chris Bruce,
believe it or not after reading this
'drunkenly meandering' posting,
abstemious, in
Kiel, Germany
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