I'm not sure if it's a good or bad sign that certain of the volumes I am examining for my next book, Wagnerism, give scant evidence of having been cracked open since the end of the silent-movie era. Having no realistic alternative, I am forced to assume that it augurs well. The above is from a gently disintegrating library copy of Joies, a collection of poems by the American-born French poet Francis Vielé-Griffin, author of Swanhilde and Wieland le forgeron, earnest disciple of Verlaine and Mallarmé. "Je suis l'ombre et l'écho d'un soir d'épitalame," etc. Alas, Vielé-Griffin was fated to be overshadowed in the eyes of posterity by his formidable father, Egbert Ludovicus Viele, who served as a brigadier general in the Civil War — his memories of Lincoln are not without interest — and who exerted considerable influence as a civil engineer and parks planner in New York City, preparing the famous Viele Map. The elder Viele is buried at West Point, in a tomb that is more Verdi than Wagner. According to West Point literature, Viele had a buzzer installed inside his sarcophagus, so that he could signal the caretaker if he awoke. It was evidently disconnected after too many cadets rang it for fun in the middle of the night.