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Old 02-13-2014, 05:35 AM   #176
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Madness from 20th century Philosopher Michel Foucault

modern man no longer communicates with the madman [...] There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence.

Foucault, Preface to the 1961 edition.
Folie et Déraison: Histoire de la folie à l'âge classique. (History of Madness)


In my country we are de-instituionalising the 'mad' - leaving them to the streets instead of a prison. You have seen them...I know you have.
I have.

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Aristotle

Socrates In Phaedrus speaks of two main kinds of madness
- Madness of the soul being 'touched' by the divine
- Madness of love

Dreams, madness, the Divine, Love......all things usually out of our control. Or we associate things that exhibit a lack of control with madness...An earthquake The Gods must be mad.

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Old 02-13-2014, 08:43 AM   #177
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Forgive me, my forgetfulness. It is a terrible habit of mine to say things then not deliver.
I said to Bob I would find a passage of Kundera's work - in small recompense I will excerpt a passage from One Hundred years..., to give him a sense of the passages that are attractive to me.
p161 of Penguin ed.
Mid parargraph
- Colonel Aureliano Buendia being described talking to Rebeca the native girl who is now much older. He is a revolutionary leader - who has taken back over Macondo (the idealised setting for most of the book hitherto)...

He began by advising her to moderate the rigor of her mourning, to ventilate the house, to forgive the world of Jose Arcadio. But Rebeca was already beyond vanity. After searching for it uselessly in the taste of the earth, in the perfumed letters of Pietro Crespi, in the tempestuous bed of her husband, she had found peace in that house whose memories materialised through the strength of implacable evocation and walked like human beings through the cloistered rooms. Leaning back in her wicker rocking chair, looking at Colonel Aureliano Buendia as if he were the one who looked like a ghost out of the past, Rebeca was not even upset by the news that the lands usurped by Jose Arcadio would be returned to their rightful owners.
"Whatever you decide will be done, Aureliano," she sighed. "I always thought and now I have proof that you're a renegade."



Perhaps this is horribly male of me, but I have had that conversation where the proof of who you are, which has been obvious to all, is only confirmed in a (fictional) woman when the proof is experienced by them.

Actually it could easily be seen in a non-gendered construct.

I love that passage.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:51 AM   #178
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

I read 100 Years a long time ago--so long ago that my only memory of the book is this this wonderful quote:

“A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.”

Weird how that works: you spend hours (days?) reading something and then, years later,only a trace remains--tiny shreds of meaning, words, or images.

I really enjoyed the Van Gogh paintings, thanks for posting.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:31 AM   #179
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Madness and The Artist

It was not pre-planned to cite so many artists and madness...but now we are on the subject, I began to consider other producers of high culture and their 'madness'



Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (/ˈniːtʃə/[42] or /ˈnitʃi/;[43] German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːt͡sʃə]; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.


E. Munch Friedrich Nietzche (1906)

Nietzche resigned his academic chair due to a 'mental breakdown'. There are various speculations as to his sanity, syphilitic induced 'madness' and a brain tumour, being the two most prominent. His work has been very influential in continental philsophy for a 150 years now.

Neitzche on Art
Art as the single superior counterforce against all will to negation of life, art as the anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Nihilist par excellence.

There is alot of his philosophy that I think is flat out wrong but I like someone who attempts to disrupt conventionality and some of his observations on the strength of claims made about 'objectivity' hold resonance in my mind. I found a very cheap copy of Walter Kaufmann's A Portable Nietzche, which contains alot of his works including his brillant 4 part Thus spoke Zarathustra. Like alot of philosophical works, he is not an easy read, but he is more accessible than his German compatriot Heidegger - if you need a yardstick.

Zoroaster (/ˌzɒroʊˈæstər/ or /ˈzɒroʊˌæstər/, from Greek Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), also known as Zarathustra (/ˌzɑrəˈθuːstrə/; Avestan: �������������������� Zaraθuštra; Persian: زرتشت‎ Zartosht, زردشت Zardosht), was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Though he was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, his birthplace is uncertain. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrian faith. Most of his life is known through the Zoroastrian texts. Avestan, the language spoken by Zoroaster and used for composing the Yasna Haptanghaiti and the Gathas, on archaeological and linguistic grounds, is dated to have been spoken probably in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.


Edvard Munch - who painted the portrait above also was thought to have a mental illness. But I will leave him for another post.

Richard Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
Before turning on the youtube - can you guess the movie that this music is used in before hearing it? Answer in spoilers below.



Spoiler:


Zarathustra and his works are usually dated somewhere around 1000BCE.

Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, An Alpine Symphony, and other orchestral works, such as Metamorphosen. Strauss was also a prominent conductor throughout Germany and Austria.

Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.


Richard Strauss on the Nazi's in his private diary (c1933):
I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence—the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.

Hear, Hear - I think we can all agree with that.

Interestingly wiki cites Goebbels on Strauss as a "Decadent neurotic."
Again an assignment of the language of mental illness with respect to an artist.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:22 AM   #180
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
I read 100 Years a long time ago--so long ago that my only memory of the book is this this wonderful quote:

“A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.”

Weird how that works: you spend hours (days?) reading something and then, years later,only a trace remains--tiny shreds of meaning, words, or images.

I really enjoyed the Van Gogh paintings, thanks for posting.
A great quote Bob - you have a good eye.

I wonder how well or intact linguistic imagery holds through translation. Does that passage read as beautifully or more in Spanish or not? If not, is that the talent of the translator or a resource of the English language. I would love to hear from a bi-lingual critical reader. (fingers crossed he/she is lurking)

Memory is a fickle thing. I do not think we evolved to memorise complex symbology like language like we have for say faces, places and music.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:39 AM   #181
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

If you are following my book reviews as a possible guide to what you might want to read. Then my observation is that, upon reflection, one of the reasons I have had it (OHYS) on my bookshelf unread may have been reputation and might have something to do with the very first part of the book. I think that it does require abit of trust in the ability of yourself, as a reader, to eventually be able to connect with the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
In the last couple of days reading I am up at 200 pages or half way and it has not felt like heavy lifting despite the fact that, when considering the small typeface and dense paragraphs, it is a full 200 pages. Afterwhile, it definitely feels like you are swimming downstream and you do get the regular payoff of a beautiful series of sentences amongst the death, fantasticism(that has to be a made up word) and sexually schizophrenic women.
I think if you know very little of 20thc Latin America and the "left/Right" civil conflicts - then maybe, like me, you will get whiffs of the allegorical possibilities that a critical reading might uncover. I have resigned myself to not wanting to raise an effort to do so, which should not be read as my assessment that the book is not worth it rather a whim of my indolence.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:12 AM   #182
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

The high of High-culture - at least when I use it, is to mean the culture of the high, powerful and influential or at least from that tradition. Whilst they are often of 'high' merit - it is not to be considered as such when I use it.

More possible representations of 'Madmen' in High Art.


The Scream 1893

This image is so powerful that it is one of the most reproduced images - it is almost the image par excellance - escaping out of the gallery into popular culture.

Lifts from the wiki:
Edvard Munch (Norwegian: [ˈɛdvɑʈ muŋk] ( listen); 12 December 1863 – 23 January 1944) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century. One of his most well-known works is The Scream of 1893.

Munch on his parents - madness

"My father was temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious—to the point of psychoneurosis. From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born."


Self Portrait Edvard Munch

Self-Lithograph 1895


I noticed his use of 'psychoneurosis' - the very modern language echoing Freud. Then in analogy the divine touch of 'Angels of sorrow..'. A very contemporary use of language, as this is the time of the birth of psycho-analysis and the broad clasp of scientific classification; then a very traditional use of analogy using a classical construct.

I think the images speak more toward the powerful influence of Freudian ideas than traditional ideas.

Do you see madness?
Can you see the madness of the artist in the Art? Is there an impression left?
Has Munch with a Nietzchian 'strength of will' stretched his mad hand outside of his social context?
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:28 PM   #183
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

The court was not the only venue for the representation of high-culture. The salons of Paris and in Vienna of the late 18th-19th century were similar gatherings. Below is a representation of one type of such gatherings, by a little known artist of the late 19th century trying to recapture that moment, called schubertiade.
A Schubertiade is an event held to celebrate the music of Franz Schubert.


Julius Schmid (Austrian, 1854-1935), "Schubertiade", oil on canvas, 33"x 45"

This scene prompts the memory of the Jane Austen scenes of social gatherings of approximately the same time period. In Pride and Prejudice the aspirant upper middle class family entertains their guests with a daughter playing the piano - in this painting a Countess is hosting the object of her affection, Schubert, for the pleasure of herself and her guests.
Can you spot the hostess?

Franz Peter Schubert (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁant͡s ˈʃuːbɐt]; 31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer.

In a short lifespan of less than 32 years, Schubert was a prolific composer, writing some 600 Lieder, ten complete or nearly complete symphonies, liturgical music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades immediately after his death. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the early Romantic era and, as such, is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Schubert

Like his more famous Austrian composer, Mozart, Schubert lived a very short life of 32 years.


Wilhelm August Rieder "Franz Schubert" 1875

Wilhelm August Rieder (30 October 1796 - 8 September 1880), was an Austrian painter and draughtsman.

Rieder was born in Oberdöbling, the son of the composer Ambros Rieder (1771–1855). He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna where he first met and befriended Franz Schubert. He subsequently painted a number of Schubert's portraits. He also painted a number of religious and historical themed works.




The Wanderer Fantasy.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:30 AM   #184
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Within 20th-21st century democracies, The Enlightment marks a birth or re-birth of reason, science and signifies the beginning of a new era that leads, with a sense of inevitability within our own cultural discourse, to democracy and our culture. But when you have the seen the images of and read how the Enlightenment and its ideas were received by the rich and powerful - it is clear that it was not always seen as necessarily subversive. Yes, Diderot and others were imprisoned and exiled but usually the Courts and High Church were not always uniformly supported by other powerful interests and sometimes, even their objections, were confined to explicitly political speech.

Un dîner de philosophes Jean Huber
Jean Huber was a Swiss painter and silhouettiste (born Geneva, 13 February 1721- died Lausanne 1786)
As such, salons and the development of 'public spheres' of cultural discourse are often painted too exclusively toward subversion and does not note how the powerful co-opted Enlightenment ideas for their own ends. It is true that Enlightenment ideas heavily influenced social upheaval, most obviously seen in the two great Revolutions of the 18th century in France and America, but do not think that the Enlightenment was not embraced by High culture centres for their own ends.

Reason and its method of identification-classification-explanation --> quickly became powerful ideas for the justification of hierarchy as much as it was for equality. As Foucault notes, the mad were one victim but the victims of colonial conquest were easily cast aside within the relatively emboldened and 'scientifically' reinforced concept of race.
Today the hegemony of these ideas is even more powerful. Even counter-cultural and subversive movements are compelled to use the language of Reason to critique it. It is my belief that the constructs of ideas to disrupt this culture will not be derived from within the language of reason.


c1750
Denis Diderot (French: [dəni didʁo]) (5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic and writer. He was a prominent person during the Enlightenment, and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

Diderot also contributed to literature, notably with Jacques le fataliste et son maître (Jacques the Fatalist and his Master), which emulated Laurence Sterne in challenging conventions regarding novels and their structure and content,[citation needed] while also examining philosophical ideas about free will. Diderot is also known as the author of the dialogue Le Neveu de Rameau (Rameau's Nephew), upon which many articles and sermons about consumer desire have been based.

Denis Diderot, LEVITSKY, Dmitry Grigorevich
(b. 1735, Kiev, d. 1822, St. Petersburg)
Russian painter of Ukrainian birth. His father was Grigory Levitsky-Nos (1697-1769), a priest, engraver and painter.


Diderot was unable to gain patronage for his work and was a pauper near the end of his life needing, in the end, to sell his own Encyclopaedie to survive. A patron came to his aid?
Do you think it was the radicals of Paris who came to the aid of this hero of the Enlightenment?
hmmmm

Spoiler:
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:43 AM   #185
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

High Art loves to look back at itself.

In the history of high-culture the Homeric Hymns are not as central as the Illiad or the Odyssey but as sources for generative high-culture they are very significant. We came across the one central iteration of high culture in the Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez (1656) with his connection to Rubens and Ovid's metamorpheses. I would like to illustrate the intertextuality with greater breadth.
One of the features of high-art is the extent to which it is referenced by other artefacts of high Art. Art is highly self-referential and it can be frustrating for critical interpretors when they hear opinions that exclusively want to deal with any given piece of Art on "its own terms".

A Homeric Hymn: the abduction of Persephone by Hades

"I sing now of the great Demeter
Of the beautiful hair,
And of her daughter Persephone
Of the lovely feet,
Whom Zeus let Hades tear away
From her mother's harvests
And friends and flowers—
Especially the Narcissus,
Grown by Gaia to entice the girl
As a favor to Hades, the gloomy one.
This was the flower that
Left all amazed,
Whose hundred buds made
The sky itself smile.
When the maiden reached out
To pluck such beauty,
The earth opened up
And out burst Hades …
The son of Kronos,
Who took her by force
On his chariot of gold,
To the place where so many
Long not to go.
Persephone screamed,
She called to her father,
All-powerful and high, …
But Zeus had allowed this.
He sat in a temple
Hearing nothing at all,
Receiving the sacrifices of
Supplicating men."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_underworld

The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect.

Ovid himself iterates lots of these tales in his Metamorpheses and, in turn, Peter Paul Rubens re-presents these tales.
Self Portrait, Rubens (1623) National Gallery of Australia

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrybə(n)s]; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640), was a Flemish Baroque painter, and a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality. He is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England.


One tale of Hades and his wife Persephones, that Rubens adapts from Ovid is the visitation of another artist, Orpheus, who is the only man in Greek Mythology to enter the Greek Underworld and survive. He entered the underworld to save his wife Eurydice.


Orpheus and Eurydice, Rubens, (1638), The Prado.

It is the music (Art) of Orpheus that convinces the Gods to allow Orpheus to take his wife back to "life", but Orpheus was warned that he could not look back at his wife as he lead her back to the world of the living. At the threshold of their return, Orpheus could not help but glance at the beauty of his wife and when he did she vapourised into smoke...

Orpheus in the Underworld
Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld) is an opéra bouffon (a form of operetta), or opéra féerie in its revised version, by Jacques Offenbach. The French text was written by Ludovic Halévy and later revised by Hector-Jonathan Crémieux.

The work, first performed in 1858, is said to be the first classical full-length operetta.[1] Offenbach's earlier operettas were small-scale one-act works, since the law in France did not allow certain genres of full-length works. Orpheus was not only longer, but more musically adventurous than Offenbach's earlier pieces

A small slice of it...



Spoiler:


Performed in 2012...
Not attributed c1860s

Jacques Offenbach (20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a German-born French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffman remains part of the standard opera repertory.


Poets representing musicians represented by poets being represented by painters being re-presented by musicians around and around....

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Old 02-15-2014, 09:06 AM   #186
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

I am 320 pages into OHYS and I get the feeling that I am missing something huge in this narrative. I have avoided the wiki assidiously - but having just read the passage of the massacre of the union leaders. I think that Jose Arcadio was killed ---> then I began to question if any of these characters are alive.
Which had me ruminating on whether this is an allegory on purgatory?

hmmph my interpretive blindness usually does not hit me like a sledgehammer enough to leap out of bed and want to post about it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:27 PM   #187
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Review of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This novel is about 'character', the character of ordinary people and their fantastic dreams. It is, perhaps the most unimportant setting, but what Marquez is able to develop is a sense of moral, primordial and existential importance to each of the characters and their solitude. Memory of, nostalgia around Death and the death of dreams - is returned to again and again in the life cycle of the village of Macondo. Despite the brutality of many of the characters, Marquez is able to co-opt his readers into empathising with the 'pathos' of their purgatory. Often during the reading, and to this date, I am sure what actually took place in some parts but I do not think obsessing about plot is crucial to enjoying this text.

Won me over in the end
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:50 PM   #188
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

January Books Read
1.A Farewell to Arms by E. Hemingway
2.Gulliver's Travels by J. Swift
3.Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
4.What Do You Care What Other People Think? Richard P. Feynman
5.Slaughterhouse 5 Kurt Vonnegut
6.Gulliver's Travels Jonathon Swift
7.Notes From the Underground Fyodor Dostoyevsky
8.Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
9.The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (Unfinished)
February
9. Completed
10. A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens
11. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
12. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
13. In the Winter's Dark by Tim Winton
14. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Next cab off the rank.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (non fiction)

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Madame Bovary by G. Flaubert
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence
Catch-22 Joseph Heller
Virgil The Aeneid


Need to find
Pourtnoy's Complaint by Roth
Faulkner
Chekov
Rasselas
Voltaire? Candide

Silas Marner by George Eliot
MB The Captain and The Enemy by Graham Greene
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Wallander
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:34 AM   #189
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words


Marble 170 C.E

Marcus Aurelius (/ɔːˈriːliəs/; Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus;[1][notes 1] 26 April 121 AD – 17 March 180 AD) was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East; Aurelius' general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, with the threat of the Germanic tribes beginning to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.

Marcus Aurelius' Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.


The Triumph of Marcus Aurelius, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Galleria Sabauda, Turin, Italy
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (August 30, 1727 – March 3, 1804) was an Italian painter and printmaker in etching. He was the son of artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and elder brother of Lorenzo Baldissera Tiepolo.


Meditations
Appears to be approximately 100 pages in length. The introduction, notations and annotations are about the same size as the actual text. So I was expecting a larger meal when I picked it up.

Book 1
Is a set of proverbs that describe the wisdom that the author gained from important people in his life. Below is one that caught my eye, but there are observations about the conduct of a virtuous public and private life, social etiquettes, education amongst many:

M.A. is talking of his (adoptive) Father... Book 1 16.4.

In those things which conduce to the comfort of life - and here fortune gave him plenty - to enjoy them without pride or apology either, so no routine acceptance of their presence or regret in their absence;...

Words to live by.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:12 AM   #190
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My Marcus Aurelius quote to live by:

If it is not true, don't say it. If it is not right, don't do it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:51 AM   #191
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Meditations is divided into twelve books. Some only 2 to 3 pages, with chapters as small as a sentence. Which led me to think: how did the 'book' become the book as we know it and the chapter to what we know it.

Book 2 17

In a man's life his time is a mere instant, existence a flux, his perception fogged, his whole bodily composition rotting, his mind a whirligig, his fortune unpredictable, his fame unclear. To put it shortly: all things of the body stream away like a river, all things of the mind are dreams and delusion; life is warfare, and a visit in a strange land; the only lasting fame is oblivion.

It is very easy to read, I expect to be through this in less than a day. The ease of reading had me thinking nay recalling. I did 3 years of Philospohy at university and had to suffer through Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Descartes Meditations and Heidegger's Being and Time, to name just 3, all of which were hard to read. Difficult subjects but also written without much thought to the experience of the read.
In contrast, Marcus Aurelius is incredibly easy to follow. Great writer, great translator or something to do with Latin?

In the Hollywood version of Marcus Aurelius, he is a very aged man tired of Rome - one could say he "Pines for Rome"...


Pines of Rome (Italian: Pini di Roma) is a symphonic poem written by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi in 1924. It is the second orchestral work in his "Roman trilogy", preceded by Fountains of Rome (1917) and followed by Roman Festivals (1926). Each of the four movements depicts pine trees in different locations in Rome at different times of the day. The premiere took place at the Augusteo, Rome under the direction of Bernardino Molinari on 14 December 1924.



Ottorino Respighi (Italian: [ottoˈriːno resˈpiːɡi]; 9 July 1879 – 18 April 1936) was an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. He is best known for his orchestral music, particularly the three Roman tone poems: Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma), Pines of Rome (I pini di Roma), and Roman Festivals (Feste romane). His musicological interest in 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century music led him to compose pieces based on the music of these periods. He also wrote a number of operas, the most famous of which is La fiamma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottorino_Respighi

Pines of Rome by Peter Porter: given that the copyright holder wishes to charge for download, I have respected that right. Click through if you want to either hear P. Porter read it or just to see it for yourself.

http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetrya...do?poemId=1713


Peter Porter, 20O4
Tony Clark , National Portrait Gallery of Australia

Peter Neville Frederick Porter, OAM (16 February 1929 – 23 April 2010) was a British-based Australian poet.

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Old 02-16-2014, 07:05 AM   #192
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.[1]

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how they behaved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

Philosophy, like all high-culture, does not spring up out of nowhere and the 2nd century Emperor Marcus Aurelius was drawing from a time-honoured well. Three of the most famous Stoic philosophers below...


Herma of Zeno of Citium. Cast in Pushkin museum from original in Naples.

Zeno of Citium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_of_Citium

Vatican?
Epictetus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epictetus


Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung Berlin, Calidius "Socrates and Seneca"
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca /ˈsɛnɪkə/; c. 4 BC – AD 65) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature.

He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, he may have been innocent.[1][2] His father was Seneca the Elder and his elder brother was Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, called Gallio in the Bible.

Double herma: A Herma (Ancient Greek: ἑρμῆς, pl. ἑρμαῖ hermai),[1] commonly in English herm, is a sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso, above a plain, usually squared lower section, on which male genitals may also be carved at the appropriate height. The form originated in Ancient Greece, and was adopted by the Romans, and revived at the Renaissance in the form of term figures and Atlantes.


Puzzle Question: Which of the Four Stoics I have mentioned has his bust in the Rubens picture the Four Philosophers Below?

Rubens (1615) Palazzo Pitti Florence

Answer + Wiki's interpretation inside:
Spoiler:

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Old 02-16-2014, 10:21 AM   #193
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggertheDog View Post
I am 320 pages into OHYS and I get the feeling that I am missing something huge in this narrative. I have avoided the wiki assidiously - but having just read the passage of the massacre of the union leaders. I think that Jose Arcadio was killed ---> then I began to question if any of these characters are alive.
Which had me ruminating on whether this is an allegory on purgatory?

hmmph my interpretive blindness usually does not hit me like a sledgehammer enough to leap out of bed and want to post about it.
I love One Hundred Years of Solitude and have enjoyed reading it three times (and will read it again soon). The Union Killing refers to the Banana Massacre, which happened in 1926, in Marquez Colombia. Like most of Realism Magic, the fiction uses allegories to relate - oftentimes in subtle ways - to political/historical occurrences.

In this case, it is the fact that everyone forgets/denies that the event ever happened. My Latin American literature teacher told us that is the custom for people to move on after a big tragedy, to simply forget (she was originally a refugee from Uruguay).

Thx for the thread and good luck, you have an ambitious goal!
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:31 PM   #194
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Thanks for the support Dubnjoy000.

Your analysis makes sense, there is an unacknowledged trauma with alot of these characters....which feeds upon itself and is one of the sources of the solitude.

Feel free to recommend a book that you think I should read - If I have not already and it is not a tome and it resemble high-culture I will do my best to put it in.

What other books did you study in your Latin American Literature course?
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:06 PM   #195
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

In very simple terms, there were 3 great traditions in Classical Greek philosophy.
- Stoic - who we have met
- Platonic - Plato (428-348 BCE)
- Epicurean

These thinkers, were mainly, generated through institutions of learning although some functioned and flourished through private tutelage. The great forerunner of the University of the Late medieval - Modern times was:


Academy of Athens




The Academy (Ancient Greek: Ἀκαδημία) was founded by Plato (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC) in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) studied there for twenty years (367 BC – 347 BC) before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. Although philosophers continued to teach Plato's philosophy in Athens during the Roman era, it was not until AD 410 that a revived Academy was re-established as a center for Neoplatonism, persisting until 529 AD when it was finally closed down by Justinian I.


Both the Republican Romans and the Late Roman Emperor Justinian understood the power of the Academy to foster ideas counter to the dominant culture of Rome or Christianity, respectively. Athens should not be seen as a hotbed of 'revolutionaries' but a place where a different vision of high-culture was being presented that challenged other high-cultural norms.

We can (and I hope to provide more connections to) see Classical Greek ideas in the Renaissance and Enlightment revivals of the 15th -e19th century. Plato's ontology has been a far more pervasive influence than the Stoics, primarily due to the adoption of it by early Christian Bibilical translators from the 3rd -7th century. But Marcus Aurelius' conception of Reason and Nature still echo today...when reading it I am suprised it is not reconceived more.

For the re-awakening of the Renaissance first one has to have a figurative 'darkness'....one step on the way was the Justinian Decree to close the Athenian Academy. Although the impact and extent of this censorship is contest, there is no doubt closing the 4th iteration of the Academy did not help the preservation of Classical ideas.

Justinian's I edict c 529 CE

We wish to widen the law once made by us and by our father of blessed memory against all remaining heresies (we call heresies those faiths which hold and believe things otherwise than the catholic and apostolic orthodox church), so that it ought to apply not only to them but also to Samaritans [Jews] and pagans. Thus, since they have had such an ill effect, they should have no influence nor enjoy any dignity, nor acting as teachers of any subjects, should they drag the minds of the simple to their errors and, in this way, turn the more ignorant of them against the pure and true orthodox faith; so we permit only those who are of the orthodox faith to teach and accept a public stipend.


More background of the debate of Justinian's edict can be found...
http://www.bede.org.uk/justinian.htm


Mosaic of Justinian and Retinue at Apse Entry, San Vitale, Ravenna, c. 546 CE

Excellent link for Justinian.
http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/philol...aganda_ju.html

Wiki:

Justinian I (/dʒʌˈstɪniən/; Latin: Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Πέτρος Σαββάτιος Ἰουστινιανός Flábios Pétros Sabbátios Ioustinianos) (c. 482 – 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire.

One of the most important figures of Late Antiquity and the last Roman Emperor to speak Latin as a first language,[3] Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire. The impact of his administration extended far beyond the boundaries of his time and domain. Justinian's reign is marked by the ambitious but only partly realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire".[4]


With such a consecrated text as the Two Testament Books of The Bible...to would be 900 years before representations of Classical Greek thought and their derivatives like Marcus Aurelius - reappear in the high-culture of the West in any meaningful way.

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Old 02-17-2014, 05:35 AM   #196
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Marcus Aurelius Meditations are written whilst he is on the frontiers of the Roman Empire, particularly during the Second Macromannic War 179-182 CE.



The respite was to be brief. In 177, the Quadi rebelled, followed soon by their neighbours, the Marcomanni and Marcus Aurelius once again headed north, to begin his second Germanic campaign (secunda expeditio germanica). He arrived at Carnuntum in August 178, and set out to quell the rebellion in a repeat of his first campaign, moving first against the Marcomanni, and in 179-180 against the Quadi. Under the command of Marcus Valerius Maximianus, the Romans fought and prevailed against the Quadi in a decisive battle at Laugaricio (near modern Trenčín, Slovakia). The Quadi were chased westwards, deeper into Greater Germania, where the praetorian prefect Tarutenius Paternus later achieved another decisive victory against them, but on 17 March 180, the emperor died at Vindobona (modern Vienna).

His successor Commodus had little interest in pursuing the war. Against the advice of his senior generals, after negotiating a peace treaty with the Marcomanni and the Quadi, he left for Rome in early autumn 180, where he celebrated a triumph on October 22. Nevertheless, operations continued against the Iazyges, the Buri and the so-called "free Dacians" living between the Danube and Roman Dacia. Not much is known about this war, except that the Roman generals included Marcus Valerius Maximianus, Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. At any rate, the victories they achieved were deemed sufficient for Commodus to claim the title "Germanicus Maximus" in mid-182.


There is one general of Marcus Aurelius that you have seen iterated in our popular culture. Can you guess?

Spoiler:


"A Roman commemoration of the "Germanic Wars"


Sarcofago diio portonaccio 190 CE, Artist unknown, National Museum of Rome – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme


Marcus Aurelius' reign can be viewed as a high watermark for the Roman Empire but the Second Macromannic Wars also show up the seeds of the Empire's decline. Almost half of the Legions were required to man the Rhine/Danube border - 100,000 + the same again of auxiliary troops. By the end of the 2nd century - Romans from the Italian peninsula only represented 10% of the legion although the rest were from 'romanised' areas. But increasingly troops with very little cultural affinity with the Empire were manning her defenses. This is one element of what comes to be known as "imperial overeach".
Another contributing factor is since Hadrian - there had been a declining amount of resources being applied to intergrate provinces within the Imperial system - both culturally, socially and economically. Successive Emperors, including Marcus Aurelius, were content with a 'conquer and hold' strategy without the cultural drive for intergration that characterised earlier periods.

Anyway I have about 2 Books remaining...I might quote a few proverbs that caught my eye in the next while.

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Old 02-17-2014, 06:00 AM   #197
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Synaulia is a team of musicians, archeologists, paleorganologists and choreographers dedicated to the application of their historical research to ancient music and dance, in particular to the ancient Etruscan and Roman periods.

The group was founded and at first sponsored by the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, Netherlands in 1995 by Italian paleorganologist Walter Maioli and choreographer and anthropologist Natalie Van Ravenstein.[2] In the beginning the Synaulia’s main task was mainly educational: the reconstruction of ancient musical instruments for the Dutch archeological center, Archeon.



Interesting, I am not sure how much faith is needed to accept the faithfulness of this interpretation. Still, pleasurable enough when listened to in moderate sittings.

Meditations
Book 8 Chapter 59
Men are born for the sake of each other. So either teach or tolerate.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:55 AM   #198
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

My Latin American literature course was quite a few years ago, so a few of the titles escape me, but let me give it a go.

- The Old Gringo, by Carlos Fuentes, depicting the Mexican Revolution. Solid book, kinda of a fantasy western if you will, with a melancholic hero.

- The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende. The author is criticized for writing bestsellers and the movie is shameful, but this is a great book about the tribunes of a Chilean family that goes the tribunes of the Pinochet coup. In this story, the realismo magico gives you the impression that there is a evil outside force helping the Pinochet regime (which is the CIA).

There was a few other books about the Shining Path, another one was about the Union uprisings in Brazil, another by Marquez, one depicting voodoo and how people use it as a handicap. A very interesting course, to say the least.

Yeah, I would love to make a few suggestions, especially that I feel that you might not have heard of some of these books... I studied at UQAM in Montreal, which has more a universal approach to literature - as opposed to a classical one -, meaning we had courses that tread all different types and forms of literature. Courses like Native-American literature, African literature, specific courses on Dostoevsky or Kundera, Sci-fi, fantasy, cinema and literature, philosophy and literature, anthropology and literature etc. It was interesting, to say the least. So the following are some of my favorites, and also suggestions pertaining to different cultures.


- If on a Winter's night a traveler, by Italo Calvino. Much like Kundera, Calvino addresses directly to the reader, but then the reader actually becomes an integral part of the story. The author deconstructs the novel into its explicit elements and goes back to the essence of it "what is a story" and how it operates. A unique novel and not pretentious like Kundera's novels (although I love Kundera).

- Froth on the Daydream, by Boris Vian. Written in 1946, it definitely has an existentialist/surrealistic feel of the times, yet distinguishes itself by given more importance to the objects than the characters, the latter almost being copies of themselves. Vian is my favorite French writer and I devoured every single word that he wrote.

- How to make Love to a Negro, by Dany Laferriere, who is a Haitian/Quebecan writer that would put Henry Miller to shame as far as the uncensored sexual content goes!!!
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:06 AM   #199
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Your assumption was right. I have not heard of any of those texts. I will choose one or two of them and see if I can get a hold of them locally or I will have to resort to the beast that is Amazon.

Are you bilingual?

Do you think that your University's attitude towards the 'canon' may have been informed by Quebec specific attitudes to language and culture or is it a wider tradition than that?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:30 AM   #200
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Re: Digger's Blog on Words, Words and More Words

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
There are two great pillars to this work. The simplicity of the language which for a work of philosophical depth is very rare. As a result, it is accessible to most readers. The text's second pillar, is that it has been presented as a series of thoughts in its 488 chapters and because it does not have the constraints of the modern philosophical genre - readers do not have wade through preliminary discussions to access the heart of the author's insights.
It can be repetitive and I do not agree with its metaphysics. But, it is a veritable cherry orchard of wise advice for the conduct of a moral and equanimous life.

Great read for the budding sage.
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