An excerpt from Woody Allen’s “Without Feathers”

Rather than spout an opinion here, I’d just like to share with you all an excerpt from one of Woody Allen’s collections of essays and short stories, “Without Feathers.” From stand-up comic to screenwriter, actor, director, and yes, book author, Woody Allen is easily one of the most intriguing, refreshing, and not to mention neurotic personalities I’ve come across.

Allen’s his voice leaps right off the page; it is a singular, distinctive voice, one you can easily distinguish from even the best of Woody Allen impersonators and aspirers.

And so, below — without further ado — is an excerpt from page 17 of “Without Feathers.” The chapter name, “Examining Psychic Phenomena,” the section heading, “Prognostication.” And, go…

Finally, we come to Aristonidis, the sixteenth-century count whose predictions continue to dazzle and perplex even the most skeptical. Typical examples are:

“Two nations will go to war, but only one will win.”
(Experts feel this probably refers to the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 — an astounding feat of prognostication, considering the fact it was made in 1540.)

“A man in Istanbul will have his hat blocked, and it will be ruined.”
(In 1860, Abu Hamid, Ottoman warrior, sent his cap out to be cleaned, and it came back with spots.)

“I see a great person, who one day will invent for mankind a garment to be worn over his trousers for protection while cooking. It will be called an ‘abron’ or ‘aprone.'”
(Aristonidis meant the apron, of course.)

“A leader will emerge in France. He will be very short and will cause great calamity.”
(This is a reference either to Napoleon or to Marcel Lumet, an eighteenth-century midget who instigated a plot to rub bearnaise sauce on Voltaire.)

“In the New World, there will be a placed named California, and a man named Joseph Cotten will become famous.”
(No explanation necessary.)



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