Controlled Revelations (April 16, 2013)

At last, the day has arrived that I have promised.  At last the day has arrived that you have been waiting for.  At last, the day has arrived when I …

But wait!  Such heightened anticipation requires a drum roll!

Surely, we can do better than that.  Let’s have a real drum roll:

Much, much better!  Now, as I was saying, the day has arrived when I reveal …… not the identify of the Humourist but rather my PLAN for sharing with you the extensive clues that have allowed me to solve this Colonial American “Literary Whodunit”.

My plan is, as Dr. Watson might have said (but, in fact, did not say, except in the movies), “Elementary, dear Watson.”

I have shared with you the Humourist’s essays, week by week without fail, since last November 26.  As I shared them with you, I kept copious and extensive notes of my own reactions, insights, and investigative excursions. I have given his essays a carefully controlled and disciplined “close reading”.  This is an ancient method, going all the way back to Roman rhetorician and literary critic Quintilian (Institutio Oratoria, composed about 92-96). (The Humourist himself would be delighted because he, too, was familiar with Quintilian, quoted him on at least one occasion, and knew the value of paying attention to every detail!)

It goes without saying (I should hope) that while the controlled revelation of the clues will be important, of equal (or, perhaps, greater importance) will be the candid disclosure of my process:  what clues led me to particular revelations and what clues came together, ultimately, to allow me solve this literary mystery.

Starting next week, I will make my posts available on Monday.  Thus, on Monday, April 22, I will share with you my close reading of the Humourist’s first essay from November 26, 1753 (Go ahead:  click on the link and re-read that essay now.  See what clues YOU find.  Start with the obvious ones and see where they lead. I welcome your comments sharing your own observations and insights!)

The following week (Monday, April 29), I’ll provide a close reading of the Humourist’s second essay.  I will continue that week-by-week strategy until we have come full circle to the Humourist’s last essay.

Then, dear followers, my controlled revelations will have ended.  Then I will reveal the Humourist’s identity.  The revelation will be stupendous!

10 thoughts on “Controlled Revelations (April 16, 2013)

    • Work for it! Absolutely! I want you to discover, up close and personal, the joys that can be had when you give a literary text…any literary text…a close reading. More, I want you to discover that a close reading can indeed solve literary mysteries. Hopefully, for my followers, it will be a labor of love!


  1. I have been looking forward to this day for months and then weeks. The birthing! And so now we will be in labour how long? The same agonizing months and months? I am wondering if you will start asking us for input along the way, to assist in the scholarly research, push, push! And perhaps then we will all vote on our choice of a name for the baby, from the top ten possibilities, including of course a range of names, Kings, Dukes, Duchesses, stonemasons, scullery waifs, beggars, gypsies and vagabonds? Now this is getting really exciting! (The professor does not know yet?)


    • Do I sense a Doubting Thomas in our midst? Have the last months been agonizing ones? Have you not enjoyed the Humourist essays that I have made available here. Further, Doubting Thomas, let me hasten to add, I have made the essays available to the public at large–the international public at large–here, in this blog, for the first time ever. Until now, the essays have not been available. Thus, the beauty of the Internet. So, Doubting Thomas, if that be agony then let us all forever agonize!

      Naming of a baby? Surely you jest. The birthing of the Humourist’s identity will require no naming. He has a well-known name already.

      Finally, Doubting Thomas, of course the professor knows the Humourist’s identity and could reveal it this very moment. But such a hasty disclosure–without showing my followers my close-reading method–would defeat the purpose: anyone one of you can give these essays the same close reading that I have given them and do as I have done: identify the author. I want to show you how. Am I helping you overcome your disbelief? I hope so.

      Asking for your input? Well, of course! I welcome conversations. As I go through the essays–yes, one by one–and as I disclose the clues that I have discovered, nothing would please me more than to have my followers provide their input and insights! I love multiple perspectives!

      Doubting Thomas, let me close my reply with this: mark August 26 on your calendar. I have just done a quick crosswalk of that which has been–the “publication” of these essays in this blog–with that which is to come: the timeframe required to analyze the essays, week by week, disclosing the clues that I have found. On August 26 I will be looking at the Humourist’s final farewell notice, and on that day–August 26–and not one day sooner, I make known in all provinces and in all parts of the world the Humourist’s identity!

      Until then, thank you for being one of my followers and for continuing your agonizing journey with me. Between now and August 26, you will overcome your unbelief!


      • Doubting Thomas. Agonizing Doubting Thomas, a clue? Repeated too many times. Agonizing, pain… Pain. Paine? Doubting it’s Thomas Paine?


      • I love it! I absolutely love it! I just re-read my reply to you, and I can see readily how you thought I might have hidden Thomas Paine in what I had to say. It pains me to say that the author is not Paine.


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