Saturday, April 01, 2006
essay on The Brothers Quay and Bruno Schulz
"Here all matter, organic and inorganic alike, may be infused with life and spirit, but it is always bound by a temporality and subject to the laws of decay and entropy. In the Quays' cinematic world, not only do the anthropomorphous puppets possess life, but the entire mise-en-scene pulsates with movement. Rusty screws unscrew themselves from their dirt covered graves, perambulate to a new resting place, and screw themselves back into rotten wood at will. Dust, dirt, and dandelion pollen all move with rhythmic life; ice cubes melt into liquid state and reform repeatedly. As Schulz's fictional Father states, "There is no dead matter, lifelessness is only a disguise behind which hide unknown forms of life." It is as if some unseen force lurks behind the puppets and dolls, the self-moving screws and dust, and the repetitive movements of mechanized apparatuses with no apparent purpose--a secret interconnectedness of all things; a conspiracy of objects."
Homer's Ithaca found?
"Since ancient times, the location of Homer's Ithaca has been one of literature's great conundrums. The third-century B.C. geographer Eratosthenes sighed, 'You will find the scene of the wanderings of Odysseus when you find the cobbler who sewed up the bag of the winds.'"
interesting looking, tough-talking & up-to-the-minute Lisa Jarnot versioning of Book 22 of the Iliad from Atticus / Finch but my favorite will always be
Alexander Pope's, which rolls along like a gravy train with biscuit wheels, though I envy and defer to anyone with th' Greek...
"Thus to their bulwarks, smit with panic fear,
The herded Ilians rush like driven deer:
There safe they wipe the briny drops away,
And drown in bowls the labours of the day.
Close to the walls, advancing o'er the fields
Beneath one roof of well-compacted shields,
March, bending on, the Greeks' embodied powers,
Far stretching in the shade of Trojan towers.
Great Hector singly stay'd: chain'd down by fate
There fix'd he stood before the Scaean gate;
Still his bold arms determined to employ,
The guardian still of long-defended Troy."
Friday, March 31, 2006
"At this time, an elderly Fly said it was the hour for the evening-song to be sung; and, on a signal being given, all the Blue-Bottle-Flies began to buzz at once in a sumptuous and sonorous manner, the melodious and mucilaginous sounds echoing all over the waters, and resounding across the tumultuous tops of the transitory titmice upon the intervening and verdant mountains with a serene and sickly suavity only known to the truly virtuous. The Moon was shining slobaciously from the star-bespangled sky, while her light irrigated the smooth and shiny sides and wings and backs of the Blue-Bottle-Flies with a peculiar and trivial splendor, while all Nature cheerfully responded to the cerulean and conspicuous circumstances.
In many long-after years, the four little travellers looked back to that evening as one of the happiest in all their lives; and it was already past midnight when--the sail of the boat having been set up by the Quangle-Wangle, the tea-kettle and churn placed in their respective positions, and the Pussy-Cat stationed at the helm--the children each took a last and affectionate farewell of the Blue-Bottle-Flies, who walked down in a body to the water's edge to see the travellers embark."
from "The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Around the World" in the Nonsense Books of Edward Lear (very well-done, with all the pictures &c.)
nice look at Mordecai Richler's classic St. Urbain's Horseman
"Dinner commenced with hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half. Paprika had been sprinkled over the eggs and then they had been heated under the grill to suck out whatever moisture they still retained. Pamela flitted from place to place, proffering damp, curling white bread toast to go with the eggs. Jake washed down his egg with a glass of warm, sickeningly sweet, white Yugoslav wine, watching gloomily as Pamela brought in three platters. One contained a gluey substance in which toenail-size chunks of meat and walnuts and bloated onions floated; the next, a heap of dry lukewarm potatoes; and the third, frozen peas, the color running. Pamela doled out the meat with two ice cream scoops of potatoes and an enormous spoonful of peas and then passed around the toast again.
" 'You are a clever thing,' Desmond said, tucking in."
interesting history of the Rorschach test. See too The Inkblot Record, a poem by Dan Farrell.
"When practitioners of a quasi-medical fad exempt themselves from answerability to empirical trials, one usual consequence is a proliferation of alternative schools. By the late 1950s, Wood reports, no fewer than five American Rorschach regimens were current, not to mention other inkblot tests that heretically departed from the original cards. Credentialled psychologists, rapidly increasing in number but not in methodological sophistication, felt free to draw upon all five incompatible codes as if they were passing down the line at a salad bar. To the increasingly restive dissenters, what had been true all along was now overwhelmingly apparent: the Rorschach was a revealing projective test not of its respondents' quirks but of the preconceptions held by its advocates."
Thursday, March 30, 2006
fruits of "research", some words from the OED where Jonathan Swift is the first recorded user--worth it for the daply spaniels, at the very least!--
In an anonymous manner; without any name being given or attached.
a1745 Swift (J.) I would know whether the edition is to come out anonymously.
bantering, vbl. n.
Raillery, jesting, banter, chaff.
1710 Swift T. Tub Apol. (R.), If this bantering, as they call it, be so despicable.
a. To wet (dress, skirts, or the like) so that they drag, or hang limp and clinging with moisture. b. To soil clothes by suffering them, in walking, to reach the dirt. Johnson. (Rare in the active till modern times.)
1727 Swift Past. Dial. Wks. 1755 IV. i. 78 Poor Patty Blount, no more be seen Bedraggled in my walks so green.
belles-lettres, n. pl.
[Fr.; lit. fine letters, i.e. literary studies, parallel to beaux arts the fine arts; embracing, according to Littr, grammar, rhetoric, and poetry.]
Elegant or polite literature or literary studies. A vaguely-used term, formerly taken sometimes in the wide sense of the humanities, liter� humaniores; sometimes in the exact sense in which we now use literature; in the latter use it has come down to the present time, but it is now generally applied (when used at all) to the lighter branches of literature or the aesthetics of literary study.
1710 Swift Tatler No. 230 32 The Traders in History and Politicks, and the Belles Lettres.
(Johnson has only the quotation from Swift, and says "This is perhaps an arbitrary word". It occurs in no edition of Bailey.)
a. The state of being a boy; the time of life during which one is a boy; also fig. the early period of anything. b. Boys taken collectively. c. Boyish feeling; light-heartedness.
1745 Swift (J.), Look at him, in his boyhood, through the magnifying end of a perspective, and in his manhood, through the other.
cajoling, vbl. n.
The action of the verb cajole.
1745 Swift Wks. (1841) II. 29 Fawning and cajoling will have but little effect.
Destitute of charms; personally unattractive.
1710 Swift Lett. (1768) III. 5 Ophy Butler's wife, who is grown a little charmless.
1. A boy who tends cows.
1725 Swift Receipt to Stella, Justices o' quorum, Their cow-boys bearing cloaks before 'um.
= dapple a. dapply-grey = dapple-grey.
17+ Swift Poems, On Rover, Make of lineaments divine Daply female spaniels shine.
[L. = longing, sense of want, desire, f. stem of dUsWderQre: see desiderate.]
An ardent desire or wish; a longing, properly for a thing once possessed and now missed; a sense of loss.
1715 Swift Let. to Pope 28 June, When I leave a country I think as seldom as I can of what I loved or esteemed in it, to avoid the desiderium which of all things makes life most uneasy.
droning, vbl. n.
1. Continued monotonous emission of sound, as of buzzing or humming; monotonous talk.
1704 Swift Mech. Operat. Spirit ii. Wks. 1778 II. 20 Cant and droning supply the place of sense and reason.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
amongst much else a lovely cherry blossom quicktime loop at Scenes of Provincial Life--
"Are poems written on such themes as 'Going to view the cherry blossoms only to find they had scattered' or 'On being prevented from visiting the blossoms' inferior to those on 'Seeing the blossoms'?
People commonly regret that the cherry blossoms scatter or that the moon sinks in the sky and this is natural; but only an exceptionally insensitive person would say, 'This branch and that branch have lost their blossoms. There is nothing worth seeing now.'
Kenko, "Essays in Idleness," translated by Donald Keene."
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
"Northbound traffic on the Island Highway at Cassidy came to a screeching halt for several hours yesterday after a house being moved proved too wide for one of the bridges spanning the Nanaimo River. The resulting traffic jam spread for several kilometres as vehicles were re-routed along Haslam, Adshead and Cedar roads. There was no explanation why the house, which was being transported by a small private company, became hung up on the bridge. Nickel Brothers House Moving oversaw the cleanup."
Harlequin Duck (you have to like the latin name!)--saw several of these handsome fellows fishing off of Victoria's Clover Pt. Also a big bald eagle, with the slightly dishevelled appearance they often have close up--their feathers seem to pill like old sweaters-- looking around as if he was about to be stood up. And unlike me and the ducks, he really seemed like a local.
(Bram van Velde "Behind the Mirror")
more on Samuel Beckett & painting:---
"The crocuses and the larch turning green every year a week before the others and the pastures red with uneaten sheep's placentas and the long summer days and the new-mown hay and the wood-pigeon in the morning and the cuckoo in the afternoon and the corncrake in the evening and the wasps in the jam and the smell of the gorse and the look of the gorse and the apples falling and the children walking in the dead leaves and the larch turning brown a week before the others and the chestnuts falling and the howling winds and the sea breaking over the pier and the first fires and the hooves on the road and the consumptive postman whistling The Roses Are Blooming in Picardy and the standard oil-lamp and of course the snow and to be sure the sleet and bless your heart the slush and every fourth year the February debacle and the endless April showers and the crocuses and then the whole bloody business starting over again."
a reminder...if you're in the area...rm 207 @ 7...I promise to dust off some oldies for the home town crowd...
Monday, March 27, 2006
Spent a lovely day last week in Victoria's Ross Bay cemetary, among the blossoming trees, including yews, oak and the biggest arbutus I've ever seen. Emily Carr's grave is very small. Was tempted to wizz on the Dunsmuir plot, but limited myself to a hidden finger. There's a gravestone that looks like a tree trunk carved out of granite. Also a fire hat and an anchor. The whole area has a very dreamlike quality.