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Old 02-01-2014, 04:15 AM   #101
DiggertheDog
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

This Kundera chap has to be one of the most frustrating writers I have come across. Now I am sure there is some post-modern literary justification for his author/narrator voice to merge by stepping out of the narrative and instructing his reader directly about his feelings on his characters but I find it incredibly condescending. I find myself asking him, "why don't you trust me, Milan?"

Apart from my habit of usually trying to finish a book, it is only the fact that when he does put his mind to it - he can paint very illuminating scenes. For instance, the conversation between Tomas and the secret police men is a very insightful depiction of how the 'State' can subvert and compromise its opponents. And its not as if I do not find some of his educational diversions interesting....one assertion struck me
"German is a language of heavy words." - very thought provoking..ughhhhhhhI am just really torn with this work.

Heavy language: Es muss sein? Es muss sein!
The piece of music referred in Kundera's work



Like most artist of his age that we know of, Beethoven was drawn to the centre of culture in an Imperial Capital Vienna and had a powerful patron. The above work is apparently the last of Beethoven's completed works c1826.

Archduke Rudolph - I presume a Hapsburg.

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Old 02-01-2014, 04:27 AM   #102
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Many of the best books I've read in the last few years violate your 500 page rule: Life and Fate (Grossman), Anathem (Stephenson) and Infinite Jest (Wallace) are all great but loooong.

Some shorter books I really liked recently.... Hmmm. The Quiet American, by Graham Greene, Lavinia, by Ursula Le Guin I rated very highly but it's not what you'd call the canon, Frankenstein and Dracula are a good contrast, Les Liaisons Dangereuse(esese?) is pretty good, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is great if you want something out of left field, If This Is A Man by Primo Levi is probably the single most powerful thing I've ever read,
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:35 AM   #103
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Re: 500 page rule - I just do not want to put too many of them on my list - otherwise I cannot see how I can possibly get to read 100 this year. For instance - I almost snatched at my February selection because they are all very slim novels possibly some are effectively novellas. Nonetheless, tell me about them because, at least I hope, 2014 will not be the last chance I get to read them.
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:36 AM   #104
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

I will give you an example of my frustration with post-modernist authorial intrusions, quote

"And once more I see him the way he appeared to me at the beginning of the novel: standing at the window and staring across the courtyard at the walls opposite.

This is the image from which he was born. As I have pointed out before, characters are not born like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human possibility that the author thinks no one else has discovered or said something essential about.
But isn't it true that an author can write only about himself?"

p215 Ch 15 Part 5 translated by M.H. Heim 1995 Faber and Faber

I think it speaks for itself....in all respects too much.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:21 AM   #105
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Finished Kundera.....will write up a review later. 6-8 hours of periodic reading today got the job done.
I might have a nibble on A Christmas Carol by Dickens in bed, obviously I know the story back to front but I am pretty sure I have never read the book before. I am looking forward to some 19thc writing after Kundera and his interruptions.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:44 AM   #106
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Ballad of Reading Gaol, with it's short, driving form always made the think Wilde was somewhat inspired by Tennyson's work. But I have the idea Wilde would have hated Tennyson.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:45 AM   #107
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggertheDog View Post
I might have a nibble on A Christmas Carol by Dickens in bed....
Let's hope it doesn't affect you like an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese...
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:40 AM   #108
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Charge Of The Light Brigade

HALF a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns! ' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

'Forward, the Light Brigade! '
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred Lord Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.


1881 Maillas
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery, a task well suited to light cavalry. Due to miscommunication in the chain of command, the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire.


Map of Crimean War


Charge of the Light Brigade Timeline



Photograph of the 13th Light Dragoons (survivors of the charge). 13th Light Dragoon became the 13th Hussar then merged with the 18th Hussars (the Queen's own regiment).
Battle Honours for the 13th Hussars
Albuhera, Vittoria, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula, Waterloo, Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, Sevastopol, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902
The Great War: France and Flanders 1914-16, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Sharqat, Mesopotamia 1916-18



The Charge of the Light Brigade by Thomas Jones Barker (1815-1882)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cha...ade_(1936_film)

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Old 02-01-2014, 10:28 AM   #109
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Some quick thoughts before I rest.....

1) At first blush - I can see some influences on poetic form between the two poets. Which makes sense given their relative temporal positions Tennyson High Victorian Age, Wilde Late Victorian, Edwardian era.
2) It will be the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Balaklava - given that most of the big anniversaries of WWI are from 1915 onwards - we might hear alot more of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
3) As an Australian the Gallipoli campaign looms large in the national mythos of my country and it occurred to me that perhaps in the connection between Crimea and WWI the adage that "Generals fight the last war" might apply to the eagerness of the British Command to attack the Otttomans in the manner that they did.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:17 PM   #110
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

I always felt Tennyson was also a strong influence on Rudyard Kipling's poems.
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:38 AM   #111
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Review of The Unbearable Lightness of Being By Milan Kundera

The great strength of this novel is the subtle character arcs and the ability to evoke genuine empathey with his characters. There are a number of scenes that ooze authenticity and surely provide, at least for most readers, a new insight into some social interactions and complex personal relationships. With the cavaet of being male myself, I think Kundera pays considerable attention to the perspectives of his female characters which is another strength.
The weakness is that his post-modern escapades provide for clumsy allegoric, symbolic and perspective ironies.
8/10
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:01 AM   #112
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Re: Tennyson/Kipling

I am aware of the story of The Jungle Book and I might have read it as a child or at least I have had contacts with iterations in storybook or movie form. I have read his poem Gunga Din and have seen the movie but the only book of his I have read is Kim which I did last year. I loved the book....and I love the optimism and light in Kipling's narrative vision. Although I am aware that he has been criticised by post-colonial readers.

As to the comparison of Tennyson and Kipling - I think it requires more critical depth than my current cursory glance. But diebitter, I think you were closer to the mark with Tennyson and Wilde at least on form if not content.

Nonetheless - a taste of Kipling's tea is happily consumed on this palate.

"The White Man's Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands"

Take up the White Man's burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden, In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden, The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden, No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden, Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden, Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!

Rudyard Kipling (1899)

Irony and Satire or Exhortation to Empire ---> Or a bit of both.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (/ˈrʌdjərd ˈkɪplɪŋ/ RUD-yəd KIP-ling; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)[1] was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He is chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old.[2] Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888);[3][4] and his poems, including "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story";[5] his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works are said to exhibit "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling


(John Maler Collier, 1891)
The Honourable John Maler Collier OBE RP ROI (27 January 1850 – 11 April 1934) was a leading English artist, and an author.[1] He painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style, and was one of the most prominent portrait painters of his generation. Both his marriages were to daughters of Thomas Henry Huxley. He studied painting at the Munich Academy where he enrolled on 14 April 1875 (Register: 3145) at the age of 25.


1939 RKO studio

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Old 02-02-2014, 06:45 AM   #113
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Again maybe it has in common a heroic sensibility to Tennyson....do you think it has the same form?
Both are clearly master craftsman of poetic form but perhaps use the devices in different ways?

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling 1895 (published 1910)

Wiki - cites the inspiration of the song was Leander Starr Jameson.


The Rt. Hon. Sir Leander Starr Jameson, 1st Baronet, KCMG, CB, PC (9 February 1853 – 26 November 1917), also known as "Doctor Jim", "The Doctor" or "Lanner", was a British colonial politician who was best known for his involvement in the Jameson Raid.
Integral figure in the British-Boer build-up to conflict at the start of 20th century.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:41 AM   #114
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Oh I think Kipling and Tennyson share sensibility, and only sometimes style.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #115
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggertheDog View Post
Review of The Unbearable Lightness of Being By Milan Kundera

The great strength of this novel is the subtle character arcs and the ability to evoke genuine empathey with his characters. There are a number of scenes that ooze authenticity and surely provide, at least for most readers, a new insight into some social interactions and complex personal relationships. With the cavaet of being male myself, I think Kundera pays considerable attention to the perspectives of his female characters which is another strength.
The weakness is that his post-modern escapades provide for clumsy allegoric, symbolic and perspective ironies.
8/10
I remember loving this book but I can't remember any details about it. It seems like the kind of novel that has to be experienced rather than read, if that makes sense.

what scenes did you like? It would be cool if you excerpted some of them like you do with the poetry.

thanks for the writeup of Kipling!
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:20 AM   #116
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My mother in law gave me The Unbearable Lightness of Being for Christmas two years running; I think I've read the first chapter once, but it didn't stick.

I read The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner a year of two ago, and really really liked it. Which supposed me since it's quite unlike the sort of poetry I would expect to. Also Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market(?) is a good longish narrative poem.
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:40 AM   #117
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

I have just finished the first two of 5 staves(old English for chapter) of a Christmas Carol and I am enjoying myself thoroughly. Given the stature of Dickens in terms of popularity and influence upon the Anglo sphere’s culture it is, perhaps unsurprising, that this fairy-tale A Christmas Carol provokes in me a need to explain some very strong cultural connections within the work.
One of the teachings of Christ was, that Victorian England held close to its heart, the love of money is the root of all evil (note not just "money is the root of all evil" but the love of...). Dickens’s wants to explore our relationship to money through Scrooge's self-reflective journey. This is exemplified in a very beautiful passage in the first visitation to Scrooge's imagination quote of a former paramour of Scrooge....quote

He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past.
'It matters little,' she said, softly. 'To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.'
'What idol has displaced you?' he rejoined.
'A golden one.'
'This is the even handed dealing of the world!' he said. 'There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!'

Today, of course, we rarely censure the pursuit of wealth and thus we do not even have the fig leaf of moral superiority that some Victorians might have had to tut-tut Scrooge's behaviour. Even a non Christian like myself thinks that, this is a sobering fact.

Dicken's had a privileged perspective on Victorian life having been brought up in middle-class English family that fell into hardship to finally ending his life as possibly the greatest novellist in the English language.

Obituary: Charles Dickens (1870)
The Times, Friday, June 10, 1870; Saturday, June 11, 1870
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ti...harles_Dickens


(anon.)


There is a dance in the second stave called "Sir Roger De Coverley" - it is an old English country dance. Although we can assume the dress of the couples in A Christmas Carol were not as posh as those in my youtube below..and for the American readers out there this dance resembles the "Virginia Reel".


Interestingly, Sir Roger De Coverly was a fictional character, out of a social essay publication of Joseph Addison in the early 18th century publication The Spectator, a symbolic icon of the country gentleman and Toryism of the age of Queen Anne.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi.../Spectator.jpg)



(Joseph Addison above: Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller leading Baroque portrait artist, understudy to one of Rembrandt's leading students Ferdinand Bol.)

Was Dickens aware of the full cultural heritage of the "Sir Roger De Coverley" - I do not know - but it is significant that when you read that passage that this 'poor' family is doing a respectable person's dance and that we might infer Dickens's irony or, at a minimum, that in every other respect other than poverty this family is 'idealised'.

Onwards to the Ghost of Christmas Present...
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:50 AM   #118
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Let us hold onto the past for a moment longer.

Perhaps the implication of my digression was not immediately apparent to you. If it is true that the underlying connection within the dance is a reference to a cultural practice based upon a caricature then obviously the meaning contains levels of possible interpretation. We would be mistaken to accept that A Christmas Carol is a 'Child's tale', Disney adaptation and C20th culture aside, all 'fairy tales' have a de facto adult 'intended audience' for who decides what lessons are to be learnt?

Consider this aspect alone of A Christmas Carol, it is a very weighty issue for a blossoming mind to consider the reflective, redemption of an elderly money-lender. When Scrooge is presented with images of his past - it is his own experience of stages of his life evoking a 'nostalgia'. Nostos - a homecoming algos - an ache -->the home may it be his 'true lost self' or it could be an allegory for the loss of Eden itself.
We could also draw parallels between the witnessing of Scrooge and his own life with the Apostle Matthew's account that we will be judged as by the Son of Man for feeding, clothing or visiting upon the least among my brothers; for Biblical intertextuality.

But consider this - this dream-state, self reflection is being imagined in a Pre-Freudian world. The longing, the pain ---> the consequences of childhood with absent parents upon the present man - one might think that his conception of interiority was the inspired preserve of Freud, the dawning 20th century modernity and its child psychology but here we find these conceptual frams within the work of Dickens decades earlier.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:29 AM   #119
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

All of the dramatic action of A Christmas Carol happens with Gothic high drama in an empty house (of his own making), on a foggy night and at or near the high point of the night 1am. We can often forget the heavy Romanticism of Dickens because of the social critique of poverty and urban life; yet despite being coopted by the 20thC left in some aspects he probably stands closer to the Wilberforce political sphere than say William Morris or late 19th century socialists.

From one Romantic composer of the 'night' - let us (atheists included) make our vigil listening to a Polish emigre of the night...Chopin.


Arthur Rubinstein - Chopin Nocturne Op. 9, No. 1 in B flat
A nocturne (from the French which meant nocturnal, from Latin nocturnus)[1] is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night. Historically, nocturne is a very old term applied to night Offices and, since the Middle Ages, to divisions in the canonical hour of Matins.

Derived from nocturns a division of A church office for the prayers of the Night - one would suggest the appropriate one for Scrooge was the Vigil that occurred during the high points of the night.


Ary Scheffer - Portrait of Frederick Chopin ( I think it is from a photograph and not a live sitting)

Frédéric François Chopin (/ˈʃoʊpæn/; French pronunciation: ​[fʁe.de.ʁik ʃɔ.pɛ̃]; 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin,[n 1] was a Romantic-era Polish composer. A child prodigy, Chopin was born in what was then the Duchy of Warsaw. He grew up in Warsaw, which after 1815 became part of Congress Poland, and there completed his musical education and composed many of his works before leaving Poland, aged 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising.

I will leave the biography of this Romantic celebre for another day - but lets do the nighttime according to the Romantics in a final form.

She Walks In Beauty like the night

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!


Lord Byron
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:37 AM   #120
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Ahhh Byron.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:38 AM   #121
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Digger

An excellent, other story about a miser redeemed is Silas Marner.

It is also one of the most beautifully written stories I've ever read.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:48 AM   #122
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Sounds a more achievable mountain than the Everest which is Middlemarch. I have yet to slay that dragon of a tome.
I will add it to the list - I might even break my e-book virginity upon it. Very appropriate choice I would add, given that I am somewhat of a miser by necessity and it appears to be available for free!

Silas Marner by George Eliot
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:32 PM   #123
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggertheDog View Post
Sounds a more achievable mountain than the Everest which is Middlemarch. I have yet to slay that dragon of a tome.
I will add it to the list - I might even break my e-book virginity upon it. Very appropriate choice I would add, given that I am somewhat of a miser by necessity and it appears to be available for free!

Silas Marner by George Eliot
I wasn't crazy about Silas Marner when I read it in high school. I should probably go back to it.

I loved Middlemarch when I read it (many years out of school by then). As well as enjoying the tale, I thought it had some of the finest sentences and paragraphs in 19c British fiction.

I was especially fond of the portrait of Casaubon and his Key to All Mythologies as I was reading a lot of Frye around that time.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:03 AM   #124
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Drawing upon Christian connections within a work such as A Christmas Carol seems obvious but is worthy of doing, whatever your religious outlook is, if only to draw attention to the depth of intertextual richness in this ostensibly simple redemptive tale. It is, of course about both Christmas and Carols...although the second can be overlooked sometimes in the reading. A carol is usually cited to be a music that accompanies Christian festivities. The Coventry Carol , a musical accompaniment to the 2nd of a 3 part 'mystery play' Shearmen and Tailors' Pageant , which draws upon the second chapter of the Gospel of Mathew account of Christmas and the Massacre of Innocents.


Dickens draws upon the Christian tripartite ontology of the divine being - with the three spirits of Past, Present and Future. The meta-position of Scrooge is that of a witness to his own day of Judgement - like Mathew foretells - Scrooge will be judged upon how he feeds, drinks with, clothes and joins with the sick, imprisoned of the least of his brothers.
Just as the tradition of the Prophets of the Bibilical text offer the opportunity for redemption - so to does the 'Jacob' Marley offer Scrooge an opportunity for redemption with this prophetic imagining infused into the Scrooge imagination.
Each of the scenes are not just to be read as - an idealised Victorian family values homily but reenactments of Mathews apocalyptic vision. Each scene has a feast, a dance, prayers with communion symbology proliferating each and every setting - so much so that even a reader with a passing knowledge of Christian practise, like myself, can pick up on. It is not just to evoke sentimentality that 'Tiny Tim' is both the most tragic death and restored life in the story - he is the embodiment of the least returned.

The structure of the play is also very traditional, indeed classical, in that it is divided into 5 parts. This conforms with the Classical Greek structure to tragic plays which was carried forth into the modern conception through the Shakespearean heritage. Which brings us back to the fact that it is a 'carol' or a musical accompaniment to a play - what is the play to whit the carol is being sung? The play, I would argue, is the Fall of Man himself...

Under the folding robes of Ghost of Christmas Present was a Boy and Girl of wretched appearance, quote:

'They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them.' And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see written that which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!....'

Christmas Present, symbolising our own state of fallenness, connecting the symbol of Adam and Eve with the apocalyptic entreaties within Mathew's Gospel traditionally rendered in Coventry Mystery plays and within here the end of the 3rd Act of A Christmas Carol. Our Past, Our Present and Our Future..the central narrative of the Fall of Man through to the day of Judgement - prophetically delivered by a spirit in a dream-state ----> a revelation one would suggest.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (Matthew 2:12)


Rubens masterpiece: the Massacre of the Innocents

Scrooge asks the Spirit of the Present about the boy and girl....

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.
'Are there no prisons?' said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words.
'Are there no workhouses?'
The Bell struck twelve.

Last edited by DiggertheDog; 02-05-2014 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:12 AM   #125
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Review.
A pleasure and a delight. Required reading for the serious minded.
Rating: Classic.
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