Sunday, June 14, 2009


Whilst trawling the seabed of the great internet ocean down a deep sea trench named google books looking for information on Horace Poussard or any Poussard connected with him, I found a published history of the Paris Conservatoire of Music. It had a list in 1849 of the prize winners and there was Horace's name, as I expected in tie for First Place for le Prix du Violon with Victor Cheri. But my eye caught the left column of the page  to see Gougenheim, Sophie receiving an accesit (certificate of merit for singing). I searched Musicsack to see if she ever became a person of interest and she was listed in the Conservatoires LaurĂ©ates and having been born in London. She did move to New York and married a minor singing teacher named Mariano Manzocchi of Naples whose claim to fame in these times was to have taught Adelina Patti for all of five minutes when she was a girl. I think it was three lessons, but whose quibbling? Mme. Manzocchi quibbled of course. She sued Patti in 1883 for the money that her parents owned her deceased husband (he died in 1860 and had kept scrupulous books). Poor Sophie must have been desperate for the cash to run her finger down Mariano's musty old ledgers.

It explains too, why Augustus and Theresa, the parents of the three Gougenheim girls did not leave New York. And all this was revealed by accident just a few days after I had lost an auction on the Gougs to a faceless nemesis who must know a little of them but not as much as is squirrelled away in my dossiers. See my earlier emblogation (enblogation must be now spelled emblogation. The n has to change to an m before  b or p word-pioneering is a messy business).

Karmic compensation or just the karmic credit limit on the matter of my interest in the Gougs. The cosmic abacus has pistoned it's beads thus and has calculated my allotment. I do have good information and learning karma. What one studies in one life becomes instinct in the next.

A small complaint about google books and the institutions that apportion small snippets accessible to certain zones: What the **** is the point of a snippet? Do you want to be deluged by annoying e-mails pleading to have copies of the rest of the thing made that may not even contain anything important? Do you hope to make a small fortune from the rivers of money pouring like molten gold into the coffers of your Document Delivery Service? Why the tease? Is the great God of Copyright such a vengeful deity that you grip to items containing all of humanity's intellectual family silver that is way out of date for the long dead authors whose work you did not publish, pay for or sponsor, but merely own? What happened to the uni in University and the latin root to read in library? When things no longer universal you cannot call yourself a University, but an Emporium, store or shop, and when we are unable to read them you are no longer a library but a frozen brick bonfire. The snippets on google books quite appropriately remind me of floating portions of burning books.

Google books recognize the importance of unifying through accessibility but public edifices do not. Top praise to Google Books and their triumphant vision and boo to the neuro-parochial neo-luddites.

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