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!