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2006, May 12; 19:05 ::: Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva (c. 1898) John Collier

Godiva (sometimes Godgifu) (c. 980 – 1067) was an Anglo-Saxon lady, who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in England, in order to gain a remission of the oppressive toll imposed by her husband on his tenants. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Godiva [May 2006]

See also: voyeurism - peeping tom - 1898

2006, May 12; 19:05 ::: Hour of the Wolf (1968) - Ingmar Bergman

Hour of the Wolf (1968) - Ingmar Bergman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Vargtimmen, (Hour of the Wolf) is a Swedish film from 1968.

An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During the "hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_of_the_Wolf [May 2006]

Ingmar Bergman's only horror film.

See also: wolf - horror film - Ingmar Bergman - European cinema - 1968

2006, May 12; 19:05 ::: The Wild Child (1970) - François Truffaut

The Wild Child (1970) - François Truffaut [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Wild Child (title of the film in the United States; it was released in the United Kingdom as The Wild Boy; originally released in France as L'Enfant sauvage) was a film by the French director François Truffaut, which was released in 1970.

The film is set in the 18th century. A young boy is found in the forest near Aveyron. The child is mute, so it is placed under the supervision of Dr. Jean Itard. Itard names the boy Victor and observes the child's attempt to survive in its new, unknown world.

The screenwriter Jean Gruault and the director François Truffaut were inspired by the novel by Jean Itard, which was based on true events surrounding The Wild Boy of Aveyron, as the novel was called. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_Child [May 2006]

See also: wild - child - François Truffaut - 1790s - 1800s - 1810s - 1820s - French cinema - 1970

2006, May 11; 19:05 ::: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) - Werner Herzog

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) - Werner Herzog [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Actor Bruno S. as Kaspar Hauser.

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (original title : Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle - Every man for himself and God against all) is a 1974 German film written and directed by Werner Herzog revisiting the legend of Kaspar Hauser.

Kaspar Hauser (Bruno S.) lived for the first 17 years of his life in a cellar devoid of all human contact, fed by a stranger, in 19th century Germany. One day in 1828 this same stranger teaches him how to walk and leaves him in the town of Nuremberg. He is the subject of the curiosity of all and is even exhibited in a circus before being rescued by Herr Daumer (Walter Ladengast) who patiently attempts to transform him. Kaspar soon learns to read and write but has difficulties grasping basic concepts of religion and logic. Music is what pleases him most in this civilized world he would soon leave when he is one day mysteriously stabbed, perhaps by the same man who brought him to Nuremberg. Kaspar rests in bed describing visions he had of the desert, and dies shortly thereafter. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enigma_of_Kaspar_Hauser [May 2006]

feral child
A feral child (feral, ie. "wild" or undomesticated) is a human child who, from a very young age, has lived in isolation from human contact and has remained unaware of human social behavior, and unexposed to language. A feral child is an extremely rare phenomenon, and there are only just over a hundred known cases. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_child [May 2006]

See also: Werner Herzog - 1820s - Germany - 1974

2006, May 10; 19:05 ::: The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) - Eugène Delacroix

In search of the origins of modern art.

Modern art began in France. That much is indisputable. But when, and with whom? Many founding images and artists are plausible; you could begin the history of modernism with Manet's Olympia (1863), or Courbet's Burial at Ornans (1849-50), or even David's Marat Assassinated (1793). But 19th-century Parisians would not have agreed with any of these claims.

For them, the founder of the new art was unquestionably Eugène Delacroix. "The majority of the public," wrote Charles Baudelaire, poet, provoker of public morals and art critic, "have long since, indeed from his very first work, dubbed him leader of the modern school." --Jonathan Jones via http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,880200,00.html [May 2006]

Death of Sardanapalus (1827) - Eugène Delacroix

Death of Sardanapalus (La Mort de Sardanapale) is a painting dated at 1827 by Eugène Delacroix. Its dominant feature is the bed on which a nude prostrates herself and beseeches the apathetic Sardanapalus, who watches as his worldly possessions are destroyed. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Sardanapalus [May 2006]

Delacroix's painting of the death scene of the Assyrian king Sardanapalus shows a romantic scene alive with beautiful colours, exotic costumes and tragic events. The Death of Sardanapalus is the story of a king who was besieged, and who ordered his guards to kill his servants, wives and animals. His attitude in the painting was; If he was going to be killed, he was going to take them with him. The scene at the front with the nude woman about to get her throat cut is both extremely shocking and powerful. In the painting, the figure of Sardanapalus sits at the back watching the events taking place and he is somewhat distant from the rest of the figures. In this way he is seen to have a somewhat individualist nature as distinct from the rest of the group.

In fact, there was an individualistic spirit amongst Romantic painters in this period in Europe. The painting, which was not exhibited again for many years later, has been regarded by critics almost as a sick gruesome fantasy involving death and lust. However the simple beauty and exotic colours of the piece take away some of this aspect, and make the picture appear pleasing and shocking at the same time. In a sense the exotic sex of the piece take away the violence of it. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Delacroix [May 2006]

Based on Byron
Delacroix submitted this portrait to the Salon exhibition of 1827; it was rejected. He later repainted parts of it. This was a time when he was particularly interested in dandyism, in the figure of the artist as at once active and passive, enthusiastic and bored, heroic and anti-heroic. In other words he had been reading Byron.

Delacroix shared Byron's fascination with the Greek war of independence. After Byron died at Missolonghi in 1824 and the town's defenders committed mass suicide, Delacroix painted Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1827). At the same Salon of 1827, he exhibited The Death of Sardanapalus, based on Byron's verse play [1821], the depraved iconography owing more to the popular image of Byron as vampiric aesthete than to the actual content. --Jonathan Jones via http://arts.guardian.co.uk/portrait/story/0,,740389,00.html [May 2006]

See also: 1820s - 1827 - Lord Byron - Eugène Delacroix - Paris - French art - modern art

2006, May 10; 19:05 ::: Art in an Age of Counterrevolution (1815-1848) (A Social History of Modern Art) (2004) - Albert Boime

In search of the politics of modern art.

Art in an Age of Counterrevolution (1815-1848) (A Social History of Modern Art) (2004) - Albert Boime [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From the Inside Flap
Art for art's sake. Art created in pursuit of personal expression. In Art in an Age of Counterrevolution, Albert Boime rejects these popular modern notions and suggests that history--not internal drive or expressive urge--as the dynamic force that shapes art.

This volume focuses on the astonishing range of art forms currently understood to fall within the broad category of Romanticism. Drawing on visual media and popular imagery of the time, this generously illustrated work examines the art of Romanticism as a reaction to the social and political events surrounding it. Boime reinterprets canonical works by such politicized artists as Goya, Delacroix, Géricault, Friedrich, and Turner, framing their work not by personality but by its sociohistorical context. Boime's capacious approach and scope allows him to incorporate a wide range of perspectives into his analysis of Romantic art, including Marxism, social history, gender identity, ecology, structuralism, and psychoanalytic theory, a reach that parallels the work of contemporary cultural historians and theorists such as Edward Said, Pierre Bourdieu, Eric Hobsbawm, Frederic Jameson, and T. J. Clark.

Boime ultimately establishes that art serves the interests and aspirations of the cultural bourgeoisie. In grounding his arguments on their work and its scope and influence, he elucidates how all artists are inextricably linked to history. This book will be used widely in art history courses and exert enormous influence on cultural studies as well.

See also: art for art's sake - bourgeoisie - Romanticism - modern art - the politics of art

2006, May 10; 19:05 ::: Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 (2003) - Jody Blake

In search of African influences on modern art.

Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 (2003) - Jody Blake [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
In early twentieth-century France, the term art négre was as likely to call to mind the music and dance of black America as it was to evoke the sculpture of black Africa. Indeed, music and dance, which racial theorists and exotic novelists portrayed as the "primitive" arts par excellence, were thought to exemplify the "genius" of blacks in all creative fields. In Le Tumulte noir, Jody Blake focuses on the impacts of African sculpture and African-American music and dance on Parisian popular entertainment and modernist art, literature, and performance.

Blake discusses the reception of ragtime-era and jazz-age entertainment, as well as other African visual and performing art forms, to provide new ways of understanding the development of modernist primitivism, from Matisse and Picasso to Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, and Purism. But the influence of art négre went well beyond the avant-garde art world. Starting with the cakewalk of the 1900s and culminating with the Charleston of the 1920s, the book studies the African-American idioms that were involved in larger cultural, social, and political developments. As an illustration, Blake argues that performers such as Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet of Revue négre fame were thought to affect the political balance between Africa and Europe during the colonial period.

Le Tumulte noir is divided into six chronological chapters, each a well-researched, well-conceived, and well-written synthesis of the histories of art, literature, music, and dance. Because of its cross-disciplinary character, this book is not reserved for specialists, but is open to a larger audience. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author
Jody Blake is Associate Professor of Art History, Bucknell University. She is co-author with Jeannette Lasansky of Rural Delivery: Real Photo Postcards from Central Pennsylvania, 1905-1935 (Penn State, 1996). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

See also: African art - black music - Jazz Age - Paris - modern art - Africa

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Canaletto

In search of comic book and postcard qualities in art.

Piazza San Marco - Looking Southeast (1735-40) - Canaletto

Giovanni Antonio Canal (Venice, October 28, 1697 – April 19, 1768), better known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes or vedute of Venice. They served as the equivalent of painted postcards for those able to afford the price. He was a son of a painter Bernardo Canal, hence his nickname Canaletto. His nephew Bernardo Bellotto was also a landscape painter; he sometimes used the name of Canaletto to further his own career.

Many of his pictures were sold to Englishmen on their Grand Tour, most notably the merchant Joseph Smith. It was Smith who acted as an agent for Canaletto, first in requesting paintings of Venice from the painter in the early 1720s and helping him to sell his paintings to other Englishmen. In the 1740s Canaletto's market was disrupted when the War of the Austrian Succession led to a reduction in the number of British visitors to Venice. Smith also arranged for the publication of a series of etchings of caprichos (capriccio italian for fancy), but the returns were not high enough, and in 1746 Canaletto moved to London, to be closer to his market.

Canaletto's views always fetched high prices, and even as early as 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs vied for his grandest paintings. The record price paid at auction for a Canaletto is £18.6 million for View of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto, set at Sotheby's in London in July 2005.

In many ways, his works anticipated Impressionism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaletto [May 2006]

See also: landscape - Italian art - 1730s - Venice - painting

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002) - Terry Eagleton

Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002) - Terry Eagleton [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Terry Eagleton provides a comprehensive study of tragedy, all the way from Aeschylus to Edward Albee, dealing with both theory and practice, and moving between ideas of tragedy and analyses of particular works and authors. This amazing tour-de-force steps out beyond the stage to reflect not only on tragic art but also on real-life tragedy. It explores the idea of the tragic in the novel, examining such writers as Melville, Hawthorne, Stendhal, Tolstoy, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Manzoni, Goethe and Mann, as well as English novelists.With his characteristic brilliance and inventiveness of mind, Eagleton weaves together literature, philosophy, ethics, theology, and political theory. In so doing he makes a major political-philosophical statement drawn from a startling range of Western thought, in the writings of Plato, St Paul, St Augustine, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Sartre and others.This book takes serious issue with the idea of 'the death of tragedy', and gives a comprehensive survey of definitions of tragedy itself, arguing a radical and controversial case. It examines such notions as justice, death, suffering, the demonic, sado-masochism, heroism, sacrifice, freedom, determinism, and modernity. Most dramatically, it looks in a new light at why tragedy gives pleasure, and explores the reasons it has so often been seen as an affirmative mode, in a way that suppresses the wretchedness and suffering it involves. --from the publisher

Page 56
Tragedy is Dionysian impulse discharging itself in Apollonian imagery. ...
For both philosophers [Nietzsche and Freud], Eros and Thanatos can be found on both sides of the chasm ...

See also: tragedy - sweet - violence - Terry Eagleton - culture theory - Cultural Studies

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Grotesque (After the Gramme) (1980) - The Fall

Grotesque (After the Gramme) (1980) - The Fall [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In the words of K-punk:
[I]n its ambition, its linguistic inventivenss and its formal innovation, this triptych [Grotesque (1980), Slates (1981) and Hex Enduction Hour (1982)] bears comparison with the great works of twentieth century high literary modernism (Joyce, Eliot, Lewis). The Fall extend and performatively critique that mode of high modernism by reversing the impersonation of working class accent, dialect and diction that, for example, Eliot performed in The Waste Land. Smith’s strategy involved aggressively retaining accent while using - in the domain of a supposedly popular entertainment form - highly arcane literary practices. In doing so, he laid waste the notion that intelligence, literary sophistication and artistic experimentalism are the exclusive preserve of the privileged and the formally educated.

The temptation for Smith was always to fit into the easy role of working class spokesman, speaking from an assigned place in a given social world. Smith played with that role ('the white crap that talks back', 'Prole Art Threat', 'Hip Priest') whilst refusing to actually play it. He knew that representation was a trap; Social Realism was the enemy because in supposedly 'merely' representing the social order, it actually constituted it. Against the Social Realism of the official left, Smith developed a late twentieth century urban English version of the 'grotesque realism' Bakhtin famously described in Rabelais and his World. Crucial to this grotesque realism is a contestation of the classificatory system which deems cultures (and populations) to be either refined or vulgar. As Peter Stallybrass and Allon White argued [The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (1986)], 'the grotesque tends to operate as a critique of a dominant ideology which has already set the terms of, designating what is high and low'.

Instead of the high modernist appropriation of working class speech and culture, Smith's pulp modernism reacquaints modernism with its disavowed pulp doppelganger. --http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/007759.html [May 2006]

K-Punk is Mark Fisher is a writer and lecturer. He has a PhD in Philosophy and Literature from Warwick University and teaches Philosophy, Religious Studies and Critical Thinking at Orpington College, Kent. He was a founder member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (http://www.ccru.net) and now maintains the popular weblog k-punk (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org).

The Fall are a British rock music group, formed in Manchester in 1976. Named after Albert Camus's novel, The Fall (1956), they have never been a chart band, but remain notable both for their music and for their subtle influence on several generations of musicians who keep an ear tuned to underground culture.

Formed during punk rock's rise, The Fall never quite fit into that movement or its post-punk/new wave offshoots. The Fall have continued for a quarter of a century in producing music which varies richly in both character and quality. The abrasive lyrics and instantly recognizable half-droned, half-ranted vocals of frontman Mark E. Smith provide the one constant note through more than two prolific decades of dizzying personnel changes. An interview with Smith in May, 2004 reported "49 (band) members, 78 albums and 41 singles," and also quoted the opinion of their longstanding fan, the legendary English DJ John Peel: "They are always different, they are always the same." [4] The Fall recorded 24 sessions for the Peel show between 1978 and 2004.

The Fall's influences are worn lightly, though The Monks, Link Wray, The Seeds, Can, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, The Residents, Van Der Graaf Generator and the more experimental work of The Velvet Underground are all evident. In the earlier part of their career they were also often compared to Henry Cow. The Fall's regular cover versions are mostly obscure songs by offbeat musicians, including a cover of Hubert Parry's 1916 setting of William Blake's 1804 poem "Jerusalem". The Fall have also covered more pop-oriented material like Sister Sledge's "Lost in Music" and The Kinks' "Victoria". A reggae influence is also evident; Smith is an avid reggae fan (especially during his teen years), and like traditional reggae, most Fall songs are composed of simple, repeating riffs that Smith rants/sings over in his rhythmic drawl that owes a debt to reggae toasting. In terms of lyrical concerns, literary touchstones such as William Blake, Arthur Machen, Wyndham Lewis and H.P. Lovecraft are as significant as musical ones. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_(band) [May 2006]

See also: grotesque - rock music - 1980 - British music

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Expressionism as Dionysian art

In search of faultlines.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche played a key role in originating modern expressionism by clarifying and serving as a conduit for previously neglected currents in ancient art.

In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche presented his theory of the ancient dualism between two types of aesthetic experience, namely the Apollonian and the Dionysian; a dualism between a world of the mind, of order, of regularity and polishedness and a world of intoxication, chaos, ecstacy. The Apollonian represented the rationally conceived ideal, whereas the Dionysian represented artistic conception proper, originating from man's subconscious. The analogy with the world of the Greek gods typifies the relationship between these extremes: two godsons, incompatible and yet inseparable. According to Nietzsche, both elements are present in any work of art. The basic characteristics of expressionism are Dionysian: bold colors, distorted forms, painted in a careless manner, two-dimensional, without perspective, and based on feelings (the child) rather than rational thought (the adult). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism [May 2006]

See also: Nietzsche - dualism - Expressionism - literature - Dionysian - Apollian

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Narcissus and Goldmund (1930) - Hermann Hesse

In search of faultlines.

Narcissus and Goldmund (1930) - Hermann Hesse [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Narcissus and Goldmund is a novel written by the German author Hermann Hesse and was first published as Narziss und Goldmund in German in 1930. It was the novel directly after Der Steppenwolf, which won Hesse critical acclaim. Narcissus and Goldmund was, at the time of its release, considered Hesse's literary triumph and international success (though now the earlier Siddhartha has become known as Hesse's classic).

In this novel the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's theory of the Apollian versus Dionysian spirit is evident. The polarization of Narcissus's individualist Apollonian character stands in contrast to the passionate and zealous disposition of Goldmund. Hesse, in the spirit of the Nietzsche's "Birth of Tragedy", completes the equation by creating Goldmund as an artist (an Apollonian endeavor), and highlighting the harmonizing relationship of the main characters.

Goldmund is presented a completely rounded character as he comes to embody both Apollonian as well as Dionysian elements, thus capturing Nietzsche's conception of the ideal tragedy. Goldmund comes to embody the entire spectrum of the human experience, lusting for the gruesome ecstasy of the Dionysian world yet capturing it representing it through artistic Apollonian creativity. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_and_Goldmund [May 2006]

See also: Nietzsche - Germany - literature - narcissism - Dionysian - Apollian - 1930

2006, May 08; 19:05 ::: Amazon books text stats

By Linton Weeks
via Washington Post
Tuesday, August 30, 2005; C01

Through Text Stats you can know such arcane things as the SIPs, or Statistically Improbable Phrases, that appear in a book.

Text Stats still has a few kinks in its system. According to the Fog Index [...] James Joyce's "Ulysses" is said to be easier than 80 percent of other indexed books.

[I]n its pure form, Text Stats is a triumph of trivialization. By squeezing all the life and loveliness out of poetry and prose, the computer succeeds in numbing with numbers. It's the total disassembling of truth, beauty and the mysterious meaning of words. Except for the Concordance feature, which arranges the 100 most used words in the book into a kind of refrigerator-magnet poetry game.

"Ulysses" by James Joyce (9 on the Fog Index) is more complicated than William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" (5.7 on the Fog Index). Yes, Charlotte Bronte provides more words per ounce (13,959 in "Shirley") than her sister Emily (10,444 in "Wuthering Heights"). And, yes, Ernest Hemingway used fewer complex words (5 percent) in his short stories than F. Scott Fitzgerald (9 percent). --http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901873_pf.html [May 2006]

Readability is a measure of the accessibility of a piece of writing. Both the reading level of the audience and the complexity of the passage in question factor into readability. A rough idea of readability is useful for people who want their writing to be reached by a broad audience. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readability [May 2006]

Ulysses Amazon text stats

See also: book - books - reading - Amazon - SIPs - Ulysses

2006, May 05; 19:05 ::: Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (2001) - William A. Shack

Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (2001) - William A. Shack [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Library Journal
The late Shack (anthropology, Berkeley) here chose to write about a particularly fruitful time in jazz development. Between the Great Wars, a unique community of jazz musicians and fanciers arose in France, particularly in the Montmartre section of Paris. While never coming close to the vibrancy of Harlem, this community still allowed for the cross-fertilization of jazz with overt European influences. Black American musicians found the level of support inviting enough to move to Paris and often used the city as a base of operations while performing throughout Europe. Shack captures this cultural interaction in a short but powerful book that makes a valuable contribution to the publisher's "Music of the African Diaspora" series. Recommended for music and academic libraries and public libraries with strong music collections. William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Paris was one of the first, and perhaps most important, foreign capitals swept by jazz in the early twentieth century. Shack, a late professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, compactly illuminates the expatriate African American community of jazz musicians that thrived in the Montmartre district of Paris in the '20s and '30s and helped turn the "city of lights" into the major jazz capital it remains today. The catalyst for this transformation was James Reese Europe, leader of the "Harlem Hellfighters" troop regiment in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. These musicians and soldiers, despite indignities inflicted by the U.S. military, impressed Europeans with their jazz concerts, and later the Hellfighters became the most decorated military unit in the American forces. After the war, many of them stayed in France, which lacked the segregationist laws and customs that plagued them at home. Shack profiles the leading figures in this community, including Josephine Baker, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Sidney Bechet. A brilliant account of an unsung chapter in American history. Ted Leventhal

See also: jazz - Paris - cross-fertilization - black music - 1920s - 1930s

2006, May 07; 19:05 ::: Apollonian Restraint and Dionysian Excess in Euripides’ The Bacchae

Euripides was one of the first Greek tragedians to use what we would now refer to as psychoanalysis in the creation of his characters. His play The Bacchae brilliantly portrays the conflict between the soul/mind and the more base urges that exist in all humans. The drama reveals the horrifying results of Apollonian restraint (the Athenian ideal) which denies the primal part of human nature. Euripides stresses that an actual balance, as opposed to a perceived sense of balance, must be found in the individual person and in society. Euripides also reveals the interconnectedness of the primal urges and the rational nature present in all human beings. Euripides’ unique portrayal of Pentheus (the rational representative of the polis) and Dionysus (the god of ecstasy, wine, and madness) is both critical and sympathetic, which reinforces the idea that these elements in human nature are inseparable. --http://www.hsu.edu/uploadedFiles/Faculty/AFO/21/Higgs.pdf [May 2006]

See also: human nature - Dionysus - Apollo

2006, May 05; 19:05 ::: Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film (2000) - E. Michael Jones

Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film (2000) - E. Michael Jones [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

E. Michael Jones is an ultra-conservative Catholic writer and editor of Culture Wars magazine who seems to believe in original sin. Please read this book with a large grain of salt. There is a case to be made that notions such as repugnance, disgust shame and guilt are built into the human psyche (see wisdom of repugnance), but they are not fueled by religious feelings, rather vice versa.

See also: repugnance - horror - monster - id

2006, May 05; 19:05 ::: The Razor's Edge (1944) - W. Somerset Maugham

In search of the lost generation.

The Razor's Edge (1944) - W. Somerset Maugham [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Razor's Edge is a 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Its epigraph reads, "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard. —Katha-Upanishad".

The Razor's Edge tells the story of an American, Larry Darrell, who returns to Chicago after his experience in World War I disinclined to assume a conventional role in American society. His plan to go to Paris and loaf is met unenthusiastically, though his fiancée professes to be prepared to wait for his return.

It is proposed that Maugham has created a character that is essentially the protoype for the counterculture American "hero". Darrell has a whole list of qualities which put him in the role of progenitor for the modern beat, hippie or slacker of later generations. Darrell has an internal motivation these labels may not fit, but his rejection of societal norms and pursuit of his personal vision strikes a chord with these later archetypes. Maugham is prescient in seeing this individual vision as an important driver in American culture and seems to acknowledge it as a defining national characteristic through his characterization of Darell. This is surely one of Maugham's best novels. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Razor%27s_Edge [May 2006]

The Razor's Edge (1984) - John Byrum [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A 1984 film version starred Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Catherine Hicks, Denholm Elliott and James Keach. Its screenplay was adapted by John Byrum and Murray from the novel, and it was directed by Byrum. Its most memorable quote was:

Theresa Russell: "Let's talk".

Bill Murray: "Ok, seal talk."

Apparently, the filmmakers were seeking a story which would provide an analogy for the alienated Vietnam generation of the '60s and '70s, and the "Lost Generation" of WWI represented by protagonist Larry Darrell seemed apt. --Michael Costello for allmovie.com

P.S. John Byrum is also the director of the minor historical masterpiece Inserts (1975).

See also: Lost Generation - WWI - British literature - 1944

2006, May 05; 19:05 ::: Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (2004) - Martha Nussbaum

In search of universal sensibilities.

Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (2004) - Martha Nussbaum [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Martha Nussbaum, a leading American philosopher, wrote a book published in 2004 entitled Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law which examines the relationship of disgust and shame to a society's laws.

A recent study found that women and children were more sensitive to disgust than men. Researchers attempted to explain this finding in evolutionary terms. While some find wisdom in adhering to one's feelings of disgust, some scientists have asserted that "reactions of disgust are often built upon prejudices that should be challenged and rebutted." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disgust#Disgust_and_shame [May 2006]

See also: disgusting - shame - law

2006, May 05; 19:05 ::: The Absolute Bourgeois : Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 (1973) - T. J. Clark

In search of the politics of art.

The Absolute Bourgeois : Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 (1973) - T. J. Clark [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
When this book and its companion volume, Image of the People, appeared in 1973, they were taken as a challenge to the way art was usually written about. "This book," said the Times, "is a product of that school of art history whose history is as well read as its art, and whilst it covers only a small area of time and place, Clark's approach and style are such that it throws up enough ideas and pleasures to illuminate far beyond its rather special circumstances. It is suffused with wit and pathetic irony."

T. J. Clark's subject is painting and printmaking in the years following the 1848 Revolution in France, "a time", he argues, "when art and politics could not escape each other." The book tells the story of a handful of artists trying to take advantage of that unfamiliar--and short-lived--situation. Daumier and Millet are central, particularly in their dealings with the new State's art patronage machine; Delacroix figures as painter and diarist, in agonized withdrawal from the possibility of change, haunted by his own Liberty Guiding the People; and Baudelaire is depicted, after a moment of tortured political involvement in the first months of the Republic, as the great poet of postrevolutionary despair.

See also: T. J. Clark - bourgeois - modern art

2006, May 03; 19:05 ::: Secular art

In search of the politics of art.

Secular art means art not sponsored by the church. It was art with non-religious themes.

Secular art came in to its own during the Middle Ages with the rise of cities, foundation of universities, increasing trade, a money-based economy and a bourgeois class who could afford to patronize the arts and commission works resulting in a proliferation of paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Increased literacy and a growing body of secular vernacular literature encouraged the representation of secular themes in art. With the growth of cities, trade guilds were formed and artists were often required to be members of a guild—as a result, because of better record keeping, more artists are known to us by name in this period than any previous, some artists were even so bold as to sign their names. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_art [May 2006]

See also: patron - art - gothic art

2006, May 03; 19:05 ::: Northern Renaissance documentary film on BBC

Image Wars.
Series in which Joseph Leo Koerner argues that the Renaissance in Northern Europe - more so than its Italian counterpart - laid the foundations of modern art. He examines the bizarre images of the Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, the destruction of works at the hands of Protestant iconoclasts and the birth of secular art with the first artist of the modern age, Pieter Bruegel. --http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/yoursay/nrenaissance.shtml [May 2006]

See also: Pieter Bruegel - Hieronymus Bosch - Northern Renaissance

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