"Jeoffry, a poet's cat, has ignored vast amounts of Milton"
August 8, 2019 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Siobhan Carroll, "For He Can Creep" (Tor.com, July 10, 2019): "The devil sighs and examines his claws. He is simultaneously a monstrous serpent, a mighty angel, and a handsome black cat with whiskers the color of starlight. The cat's whiskers are singed, the serpent's scales are scarred, and the angel's brow is heavy with an ancient grievance, and yet he is still beautiful, in his way. 'But more of this later. Jeoffry, I have come to converse with you. Will you not take a walk with me?' Jeoffry pauses, considering. Do you have treats?" Christopher Smart's cat Jeoffry previously. Further appreciation of Jubilate Agno at The Public Domain Review. Siobhan Carroll previously and previouslier.
posted by Wobbuffet (16 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I am no longer a cat person, so not the target audience, but I love it!
posted by praemunire at 10:11 PM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

wait what, praemunire? What happened? How do you "no longer" become a cat person? I thought the condition was hereditary. Although one of my kids has converted at the ripe old age of 26 on the addition of kittens.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:18 PM on August 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Dogs, man. They showed me the error of my ways without even trying.
posted by praemunire at 10:20 PM on August 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

This was great. I‘d read the story but not the backstory and had no idea the cat or the poet actually existed! Thanks for the links!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:30 AM on August 9, 2019

[Jeoffry] … has learned that there is more than one kind of devil, and that the one inside your head, that speaks with the voice of your own heart, is far more dangerous …
posted by scruss at 2:04 AM on August 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed this soooo much! it reminded me a little of Neil Gaiman's short story The Price - my favourite short story by him - yet is very much its own creature.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:45 AM on August 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

More Moppet please
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 6:08 AM on August 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is delightful, and I love the way she salts in little allusions to lines from the poem, like Jeoffrey's morning prayers and the Ichneumon-rat.
posted by karayel at 8:20 AM on August 9, 2019

I wonder what happened to Nighthunter Moppet's first two lives. She's only a wee kitten!
posted by praemunire at 8:38 AM on August 9, 2019

For anybody else who wants more from the author, she has a bunch more fiction posted here. And it turns out that she is a professor at the University of Delaware, specializing in British literature between 1750 and 1850.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:58 PM on August 9, 2019

it reminded me a little of Neil Gaiman's short story The Price - my favourite short story by him -

High praise indeed. The Price made me stop reading Smoke and Mirrors because I was afraid that the rest wouldn't be as good, or maybe that it would be better. Still haven't gone back to it.

I'll have to read this.
posted by Kreiger at 1:02 PM on August 9, 2019

Smart's poem about his cat---or the section from Jubilate Agno on Jeoffrey, I suppose---is a delight. It's available at the Poetry Foundation.
posted by golwengaud at 1:17 PM on August 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is one of my very favorite poems (I get weepy every time I read it) and this story was worthy of it.

Thanks for posting it here, Wobbuffet.
posted by Lexica at 2:04 PM on August 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is the most charming thing I've read in ages. Thank you for posting.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2019

I've now read this all the way through three times today. And given my own cat lots of extra people-food.
posted by jinjo at 8:02 PM on August 9, 2019

She lost me a Turkish Delight because a) cats can't taste sweet and this have no up interest, and b) C.S. Lewis doesn't feel like the right reference to me w/r/t Smart, stylistically.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:03 AM on August 10, 2019

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