June 26th, 2010

Rex Stout

I began reading Rex Stout at the prompting of Herrlee Creel, the great Chicago sinologist. Creel insisted that his students write well, not only well by academic standards, but by his own standards. He was a great writer himself. He frequently railed against journalists – a word he pronounced with a sour expression – but […]

January 24th, 2010

Warring States

Filbert Catkins in January

The Indian civilization of the northwest reminds me of the Warring States (476 – 221 BCE) period in China. The Warring States was a dark interlude in the train of China’s history, which, unlike Western history, is a continuous sequence of dynasties. The government in China today is in a […]

August 16th, 2009

Why Call This Site the Vine Maple Studio?

Long ago, before I struggled all the way out of my teens, Herrlee Creel, Edward Kracke and the other sinologists of Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago shanghaied me from a normal life into the cult of the traditional Chinese scholar, my neglected true calling. The scholar in my dream […]