Sunday, October 20, 2019

A change in venue …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Transferring to Twitter.

Sounds good to me …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Is it time Bible classes in public schools?



Given that we speak English and that King James Bible is one of the monuments of English prose, I can’t see why not. Think of the titles taken therefrom — East of Eden, The Sun Also Rises, Balm in Gilead, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men — and many more.

Taking prayer seriously …

… The prayer that we breathe – Catholic World Report.

Prayer, then, is both a battle of faith and the triumph of perseverance. We usually don’t think of prayer in these terms because, I think, we often envision prayer as having to be serene and peaceful, a smooth path of communication between God and ourselves. Yet, on the other hand, we all know that prayer often is a battle; it is a struggle against our natural inclination to not pray if we “don’t feel like it.” And prayer can also reveal to us the grim reality of spiritual warfare. This battle, the Catechism insightfully points out, shows us that “Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.”

Eyewitness news …

 zmkc: Revulsion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

But until I thought about it yesterday and today, I tended toward a disgruntled and cowardly tolerance of the status quo (it would all be too hard, would leaving be worth it, would it be too economically dangerous [which is still a question I fear has no good answer]?)
Not any more. There was something about what I witnessed yesterday that turned me against those who wish to force Britain to remain within the Brussels power structures. It seemed to me that what I was witnessing was a meeting of cult members who want to ruthlessly crush democracy and who loathe their dissenting fellow citizens. 
Definitely read the whole thing.

Equal wrongs …

… Europol says women 'equally capable of crime' as men as it reveals most-wanted list.

I was raised by my mother and my grandmother (my mother’s mother), both factory workers. This would not surprise them.

The many ways of reading …

… What we talk about when we talk about books – TheTLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 … reading in print is supposed to be a sedentary activity which absorbs the reader, situated in opposition to a complex of online reading-based activities (browsing, posting, retweeting, commenting). Price offers, by contrast, dense histories of marginalia and dog-earing, of books sold, loaned, redacted, recommended and withheld – multi-tasking rather than rapt attention. Where reading books is assumed to palliate pathological issues including anxiety and depression, Price draws attention to the history of moralistic opposition to books (particularly novels) as spreaders of disease, and, more broadly, to readers who turn to literature not to be sedated but rather to be stimulated. Reading books has, Price shows, fostered community and conversation, and still does.

His own man …

… What Clarence Thomas doesn't believe. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



The best thing that can be said about Corey Robin's new book is that it should finally put an end to these inexcusably ugly slurs — which, as the author reminds us, are exactly the sort of thing right-wingers used to say about Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan. Thomas is, as court watchers not named Linda Greenhouse or Jeffrey Toobin have long recognized, a fascinating figure in his own right

Faith and art …

… A Friendship in Letters: Flannery O'Connor and Katherine Anne Porter | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Being in context …

… Longing for Home | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Rather than idolize where we came from or where we are going, Esolen argues, nostalgia rightly understood provides the inspiration to appreciate and treasure the legacy of the past to the present, and provides a sense of value and meaning for the future. As Gustav Mahler put it, “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
The point of a classical education is to acquire an experienced mind, a mind familiar with where we have been, in the hope if discovering where best we might go.

Trumpets and drums, please …

… Poem of the Year: May 2017-Apr 2018 : IBPC.



The Judges’ Pages:



Joyce Kelly.



Kim Leifer.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Watch and listen …

 A fan of the Beach Boys? Here’s a poem and video for you: “Every lovesick summer has its song.” | The Book Haven.

Something to think on …

Indeed he knows not how to know who knows not also how to un-know.
— Richard Francis Burton, who died on this date in 1890

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hmm …

… Last year's extreme snowfall ruined breeding season for Arctic plants, animals - UPI.com.

Sounds persuasive …

… Why You Should Read Peter Handke | John Wilson | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… you may say, why should I invest time reading about a controversy involving a writer whose work I know only slightly or not at all, especially when it sounds rather murky? That’s a good question. I think the intention of those who have denounced Handke is to surround him with a toxic smell, so that readers who might otherwise have been tempted to pick up some of his books will be discouraged from doing so. That seems wicked to me, especially when it is cloaked in moral trappings.
 Many years ago, I reviewed Handke’s The Left-Handed Woman. The intrepid Dave Lull tracked down a copy of that review. I was not impressed. But I have just ordered Repetition.

Better odd than none …

 The Odd Immortality of John Crowe Ransom. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



One of Ransom’s best addresses mortality: Janet Waking.

Get woke, go broke …

… Taxpayers are fed up: The real reason universities are making cuts.

Taxpayers may wonder what, exactly, about a truthful historical statement is beyond the bounds of university life, and why unelected educational bureaucrats get to decide what the university’s values are. But more likely they will simply conclude that universities are silly places, not worthy of their tax dollars.

Remembering …

… Harold Bloom’s Immortality. (Ht tip, Dave Lull.)

What has followed, in this past month, was perhaps the most beautiful creative process I have ever been part of. On a daily basis, Harold would send me notes, parts of chapters, thoughts, apologies for not writing more because he was worn out from teaching, dreams and corrections to the prospectus that he wanted to make sure I liked. At eighty-nine, he was writing more quickly and more powerfully than I (his ostensible editor) was able to read and respond to. In one email, he sent me the epilogue in its entirety—not in a Word document, just in the body of the email. It included this line, which I can’t stop rereading.
At ninety I have died and been resurrected five or six times. I refer to the many falls and grave illnesses that led to serious and successful surgery. My body—such as it is—is the Resurrection Body. I would interpret this as meaning that immortality is this life and so is redemption.
Well, this life and the next one are nearer to each other than we think.

Blogging note …

It's Saturday and I must do some shopping. But I'll be blogging again this afternoon.

On the cusp of an anniversary …

… “Goodnight Moon,” Almost 75 Years Later - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

I realize my thoughts on all this could be borne from a mushy, sleep-deprived daddy-brain, but I have also read this book after a good night’s rest, looked into Brown’s life and times, and concluded something else. This book, which is fast approaching its 75th birthday, has become the classic bedtime story not only for the insights Brown has invited us to have into the child’s experience, but also, given its deep and lasting resonance, for its insights into the caretaker, the other character in the room who is identified — in Brown’s words, as “a quiet old lady who was whispering ‘hush.’”
A wonderful book.

Good fro her …

… After 55 years, UK Jewish MP quits Labour, condemns Corbyn, over anti-Semitism | The Times of Israel.

Birds in black …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Crows (Edo Period, Japan), Sonnet #480.



I love crows.

Unsentimental journey …

… I, Rose Sayer: Going Downriver With Donald Trump | The American Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I like The African Queen, though I certainly have never identified with Charlie Allnut. But I don't tend to identify with characters, period.

Something to think on …

Light is the shadow of God.
— Sir Thomas Browne, born on this date in 1605

Friday, October 18, 2019

Missing manuscript …

 Director of a New Truman Capote Doc Has a Theory About His Long-Missing, Incendiary Last Novel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
The case of Answered Prayers is one of literature’s great mysteries. After chapters of the novel were published in Esquire in 1975 and 1976, Capote became persona non grata among his longtime socialite friends, the “swans.” Slim Keith, Gloria Vanderbilt, and other wealthy, fashionable jet-setters never forgave him for stealing their gossip for a thinly veiled portrayal of their vanity, vacuousness, and marital turmoil.

Blogging note …

I am being taken out for a belated celebration of my birthday. Blogging will resume later.
Blogging is a little difficult for me just now, because I'm wearing an old pair of glasses while my others are fitted with new lenses. I have to keep increasing the size of the type to see what I'm doing.

Monstrous and magical …

… Case Closed – Idlings. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
Dave also sends along this:  Books, Inq. - Bravo Dickens ... 

Hmm …

… 'Music: A Subversive History,' by Ted Goia book review - The Washington Post.

… Gioia argues that “musical innovation happens from the bottom up and the outside in.” After all, fresh ideas are seldom found in the conservatory, cathedral or concert hall. One needs instead to search out “the neglected spheres of music that survive outside the realms of power brokers, religious institutions and social elites.”


Well some insiders have done some good stuff, too — Mozart, Bach, Josquin Des Prez.

Deadline alert …

The North of Oxford deadline for November is October 27th if you would like to send something along for consideration.

Check these out …

… City of Shadow — Cleaning up Glitter.

Honored …

… Film Prize Awarded to Literary Documentary “Flannery” | Fine Books & Collections. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Something to think on …

Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.
— D. T. Suzuki, born on this date in 1870

Hmm …

… Angry Dutch farmers swarm The Hague to protest green rules – POLITICO.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Blogging note …

I have to go out and do some things that will probably take up much of the day. And tonight we're going to the orchestra. So I will fit in blogging when and if I can.

And the winners are

… Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2019: the full report | gramophone.co.uk. (Hat tip, David Tothero.)

I'm familiar with Bertrand Chamayou, who is very good, but I don't keep up much with the latest in classical music anymore. I listen to my old favorites. (I do think highly of Paavo Järvi, though.)

A prophet for these times …

… Houellebecq and the Death of Europe | John Waters | First Things. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Houellebecq writes about the disappointment, sadness, loneliness, anguish, terror, boredom, and despair imposed by a culture unfit for human habitation. He exposes the freedom con pedalled since the sixties and defended in the name of progress. He summons up a diseased world, leaving the reader repelled and unsettled, but also relieved that at last the truth is told. He does not raise false hopes, but presents his characters in extremis within the collapsing culture, their humanity no longer capable of extending into the available space. But all the while there is an implicit comparison of an unexpected kind: that something better is possible—something that may once have existed, perhaps a memory deep in the recesses of the reader’s mind.


Here is my review of Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory.

This may be where Europe is heading.

Awful …

 Jimmy Sham, leader of Hong Kong democracy group Civil Human Rights Front, attacked on Mong Kok street | South China Morning Post.

Someone tell the NBA.

Another remembrance …

 RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Harold Bloom said, “For me, Shakespeare is God.”

Remembering …

… Episode 151 – Harold Bloom – The Virtual Memories Show.

“I’m a reader and a teacher. Writing comes out of reading and teaching. Those are all three words for the same thing. I don’t think I’m going to be remembered at all; I don’t think any of us get remembered.”

Listen in …

… Episode 344 – Liz Hand – The Virtual Memories Show.

“Henry Darger was a devout Catholic who was engaged in a huge argument with God.”

Great news …

 Nigeness: At Last! (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just ordered a copy.

Something to think on …

God is not the object of my reason, nor of my sensibility, but of my being. God exists for me in the same act in which I exist.
— Don Colacho 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Good for her …

… Hongkongers nominated for Nobel Peace Prize | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP.



LeBron James was unavailable for comment.

And the winners are …

 Winning Poems for September 2019 : IBPC.



The Judge's Page.



(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Contemporary journalism …

… Entire RAGBRAI staff resigns over Register's handling of Carson King story - KTIV.

Methinks it’s the Register that’s in need of resignations.

Pretty classy

… Oppressed Chinese Citizens Apologize To NBA Players For Disrupting Their Difficult Week | The Babylon Bee.

Anniversary …

… Reading, writing and readability—appreciating Rudolph Flesch | OUPblog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 I don’t remember how I was taught to read. I presume my mother taught me. I know that I could read before I entered first grade, because the teacher brought the principal into class one day just to hear me read.

Important FYI …

… National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant Opportunity Announced for Community Reading Programs | NEA.

Hmm …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Take No Prisoners: My Washington Times Piece On Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez Wanting To Abolish Prisons.



The FBI recently confirmed that Samuel Little, 79, is the most prolific serial killer in American history. Little has confessed thus far to strangling 93 women between 1970 and 2005.
The FBI recently confirmed that Samuel Little, 79, is the most prolific serial killer in American history. Little has confessed thus far to strangling 93 women between 1970 and 2005 …

Watch and listen …

… Owen A Barfield on Owen Barfield – Mark Vernon.

Appreciation …

… R.I.P. Harold Bloom (1930-2019): “He saw reading as a great human enterprise, an engagement of the passions, a heroic endeavor.” | The Book Haven.

A poet in full …

… The Poet in the Pulpit: On the Brilliant, Homely Homilies of Gerard Manley Hopkins - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Hopkins did not treat poetry and sermons as two separate (or separable) domains. He remains every bit a poet as he mounts the pulpit. In fact, his poetry and his sermons cross-pollinate: ideas, images, and turns of phrase appear first in sermons and later in poems, or vice versa.

Anniversary and more …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : John Brown on 16 October 1859.

Something to think on …

When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.
— John Polkinghorne, born on this date in 1930

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Good …

… Hong Kong Protesters Burn LeBron James Jerseys After China Comments.

Well, the professor is well named …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Rapping Homer.



You have to be pretty bourgeois to think this sort of thing is anything other than just fashion.

October Poetry at North of Oxford …

… Five Poems by Catfish McDaris.

… Sub – Zero Visibility by Vandana Kumar.

… The Patient fractures after by Arlyn Labelle.

… Welcome to LA by Gary Duehr.

… Working on the night shift by Casey Killingsworth.

The best defense …

… BOOK REVIEW: 'Facing the Bear' - Washington Times.

Although there were events that nearly led to World War III during the Cold War, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the U.S.-USSR standoff during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, kept the Cold War from turning hot. With MAD, even if the Soviets totally destroyed the U.S., the UK and other NATO partners in a surprise missile attack, the nuclear-armed aircraft in the air and the nuclear-armed submarines under the sea would launch a counterattack that would totally destroy the Soviet Union. The USSR was also equipped with this deterrent.

Something to think on …

Well, why do you want a political career? Have you ever been in the House of Commons and taken a good square look at the inmates? As weird a gaggle of freaks and sub-humans as was ever collected in one spot.
— P. G. Wodehouse, born on this date in 1881

A strange fellow …

… Nigeness: Wincing Again: Back to Ackerley.

Be happy …

 5 Books Published by P.G. Wodehouse on his Birthday – Plumtopia. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Time passing …

… Riverside Drive, November Fifth by Katha Pollitt | Poetry Magazine. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Katha Pollitt turned 70 today.

Anniversary …

 [Buffalo Bill 's] by E. E. Cummings | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)



E. E. Cummings was born on this date in 1894.

RIP …

… John Giorno, Storied Artist Who Expanded Poetry's Possibilities, Is Dead at 82 -ARTnews. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Help if you can …

… CNEWA - Syria. (hat tip, Cynthia Haven.)

RIP …

… Renowned American Jewish literary critic Harold Bloom dies at 89 | The Times of Israel. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Richard Wright


Some novels are engaging; others are gripping. Richard Wright's Native Son -- which must have landed like a bombshell when it was published in 1940 -- is firmly in that second category: the novel is a literary thriller; it's absolutely riveting. 

Part of what I found so exhilarating -- and so impressive -- about Native Son is its scope. This is a novel which reaches for it all: race relations, identity, reconciliation. All of these themes, and more, are at the heart of Wright's novel.

But instead of overwhelming, Native Son captivates. And this, I think, is an important distinction. Wright focuses on a single story, in a single city, in order to uncover grave injustice. Native May may take Bigger Thomas as its central character, but Thomas functions as a conduit through which American history -- in all its tragedy -- emerges. He is more than one man. 

Native Son is a novel, as Wright notes, about the "crime of being black." And it is. This is not a book primarily about murder or violence; it is one, instead, about ingrained racism, about systemic prejudice. When Bigger Thomas acts, his agency is limited by these conditions. 

There is so much to say about Native Son -- about its approach to metaphor, to whiteness, and gender -- and much, I'm sure, has been said about all of these things. 

At the end, though, I found this a masterful novel because, like others of comparable quality, it transmits a complex message using deceptively simple syntax. Native Son is equal parts triumph and tragedy. I can't remember the last novel I read which so firmly held my attention, and which engendered such consistent reflection on the American condition.  

Watch and listen …

… Just because: Janet Baker sings Berlioz | About Last Night.

Begging to differ …

… An Italian-American Explains His Defense of Columbus Day - The Lid.

Good question …

… Why Are We Silent When Black Africans Are Sold Into Slavery Every Day? – HillFaith.

It’s happening in Northern Africa in Muslim nations like Libya, the Sudan and Mauritania. In Libya alone, CNN has reported slave auctions in nearly a dozen locations across that war-torn nation.

Hmm …

… More Than a Feeling by Tyler Malone | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“Eureka! Eureka!—I found it! I found it!”—cried Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician, as he stepped into the bath and noticed the water level rise. In this moment of intuition, he suddenly understood that the volume of water displaced must equal the volume of the body part that’s submerged. Or so the story goes.
Only he didn’t intuit it. He made an observation and drew an inference. It is a nice coincidence that Poe intuited that the universe began with the Big Bang that Friedmann and Lemaitre inferred from observation. I’ll stick with the Poe of  “The Philosophy of Composition.”

As Niels Bohr said …

… predicting is difficult — especially the future: RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Idiotic Environmental Predictions.

Time for a smile …

… Paul Davis On Crime: A Little Humor: Ole Pa Goes To The Doctor.

Anniversary …

On This Day in Space! Oct. 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier.

I turned 6 on that day.

Something to think on …

Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
— Hannah Arendt, born on this date in 1906

Tomorrow …

POETRY IN COMMON
 &
THE GREEN LINE CAFÉ POETRY SERIES
 &
100 THOUSAND POETS FOR
PEACE AND CHANGE

PRESENT

AN OPEN POETRY READING
THE ANNUAL RONALD JOHNSON POETRY AWARD
FOR BEST POEM
THE PRIZE: $50


Judge: CHARLES CARR

Hosted by LEONARD GONTAREK

Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 6 PM

Sign Up: gontarek9@earthlink.net
Poets will get 4 minutes to read

THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS
PHILADELPHIA, PA  USA
(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)
        greenlinecafe.com

     This Event Is Free




About Our Judge:


Charles Carr is a native Philadelphian. He was educated at LaSalle and Bryn Mawr College, where he earned a Masters in American History. Charles has worked in social and community development services for 45 years, and has also been active in raising funds for various missions and organizations serving the poorest of the poor In Haiti. In 2007, he was The Mad Poets Review First Prize Winner for his poem “Waiting To Come North”. In 2009 Cradle Press of St. Louis published Charles's first book of poetry: paradise, pennsylvania. In January of this year, Haitian Mud Pies And Other Poems published by The Moonstone Arts Center was released. Charles’ poems have been published in various print and on-line local and national poetry journals. Charles is host of Philly Loves Poetry a collaborative live broadcast on the first Tuesday of the month. For five years, Charles hosted a Moonstone Poetry series at Fergie’s Pub on the second Wednesday of each month. In September 26th, 2013 Charles read poems in honor of the international 100,000 Poets For Peace at The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, Ireland.



Sounds like a good idea …

… Taking a Social Media-Free Day | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

I don't do social media.

A good list …

… Books that made me | About Last Night. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Another school to skip …

 I Was Protested At Bard College For Being A Jew – The Forward.
I’m surprised they didn’t desecrate Hannah Arendt’s grave. She’s buried there.

What courage looks like …

… Eye of the Beholder — Alice Mattison reckons with the impacts of macular degeneration …  (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I still visit museums, but carefully. At the Met a few months ago, my husband and I chose exhibits of three-dimensional art (Korean ceramics, African sculpture) and abstract art. But I knew he wanted to see the seventeenth-century Dutch masters—his old favorites, too. When we were almost out of time, I suggested we look at them briefly. We climbed the big staircase. Once more I stood before Rembrandt’s self-portrait from 1660. Now his round sober face, staring out of a dark background, had a blur where his left eye should have been, as if the painting were damaged.

I cried on the coat check line. This was different from not seeing a small pitcher on a shelf at home. The museum had taken care that the Rembrandt self-portrait wasn’t mottled by uneven lighting or partly hidden by a piece of furniture; it wasn’t at just the wrong spot near a window. The gap I saw, the vaguely gray splotch where his left eye should have been, was obscene, a violation, an enormity.

Hmm …

… Dark Age Americans Use What Their Ancestors Built and Cant' Replace It.

Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.

In case you wondered …

… How Rednecks Saved Hollywood.
Well, it seems that back in the 16th century, in the lowlands of Scotland, John Knox founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and...

The gift of life …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Before the beginning.

Appreciation …

… A Nobel for Olga Tokarczuk – Poland’s leading novelist! | The Book Haven.

Hmm …

… How the internet is changing language as we know it (ikr lol) | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… it shouldn’t be so surprising that young women are among the most adept users of internet English. It’s a truism in sociolinguistics that young women are usually on the bleeding edge of changes to language – native speakers of the avant garde. McCulloch cites one study of letters written between 1417 and 1681 that shows it was female correspondents who were the first to adopt new words such as “does”, “has” and “makes” and phase out “doth” “hath” and “maketh”. Likewise, uptalking – where every sentence sounds like a question – originated in suburban California in the 1970s, and can now be heard among middle-aged English males. Still, fears that formal language is about to undergo some radical shift are misplaced. As McCulloch demonstrates, most of the innovations in internet English mimic features that come naturally in informal speech – emoji represent gestures; upper and lower cases represent tones; punctuation represents emphasis. Full internet people are perfectly capable of writing in full sentences when the situation demands. 
I, of course, have to look up a lot of the abbreviations commonly used on the internet. Oh, well. I’m old.

Indeed …

… The passive-aggressive pontificate continues—and the Synod approaches – Catholic World Report.

… while Francis makes distinctions between good and bad critics, he and his closest collaborators (not to mention his defenders on Twitter, who are equal parts passive and aggressive) rarely, if ever, really address or consider good criticism in a mature, pastoral manner. In many cases they misrepresent it or attack those who put it forward in good faith. Put another way, Francis and company make it quite clear, in the end, that any and all criticism is motivated by some irrational, ideological, political, and unCatholic hatred of Francis. They would rather stonewall, deflect, and even insult rather than actually dialogue. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it several dozen times.

Sanctity and literature …

… Newman as Novelist | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip Dave Lull.)

To be clear, Newman is not the first person, canonized or beatified, to have published a work of long narrative fiction. St. Thomas More, for example, wrote the social and political satire Utopia (1516). But that book, while fictional, is not exactly a novel. What distinguishes the modern novel from its many premodern precursors is its realistic representation of social life. Some argue that the Blessed Ramon Llull may have actually written the very first novel sometime around the year 1283. Llull’s story of a fictional pope, Blanquerna, would make the Catalan mystic the first blessed novelist, but Llull has yet to be canonized. And while St. Francis de Sales serves as the patron saint of writers and journalists, all his published work falls within the category of the Catholic devotional.

Something to think on …

There's only one way to improve society. Present it with a single improved unit: yourself.
— Albert Jay Nock, born on this date in 1870

Saturday, October 12, 2019

RIP …

… Robert Forster Dead: Resurgent Oscar Nominee From 'Jackie Brown' Was 78 | Hollywood Reporter.

Consummate craftsman …

… Celebrating Elmore Leonard's "Rules for Writing" | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Leonard’s 10 rules have become so iconic, it’s sometimes easy to forget that he carried on for many good years discussing other nuances of literature and craft. Together, his critical analyses made up a kind of treasure map for writers of the future.

May he shut up …

… Papal Pap - Taki's Magazine - Taki's Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

 Here I offer an interpretation of the Pope’s attack on adjectives and adverbs, though like all such interpretations, it is quite possibly wrong, and I apologize in advance if it is. The Pope must speak; he cannot remain silent. We have already had enough from him about the iniquities of poverty, famine, war, inequality, injustice, and so forth; he was in danger of turning into an ecclesiastical Greta Thunberg. Like a newspaper columnist—here I admit that I might be in danger of being hoist with my own petard—he had to find something new to say to avoid becoming a bore. Moreover, he needed a target that would have no defenders; as far as one knows, there is no fanatical Adjectives’ Defense League waiting to leap to violent attack on those who disrespect adjectives.

FYI …

… RT’s Reviews & Marginalia : Cozy Mystery News — October.

What a lousy thing to do to someone …

… ‘I believed it’: John Banville was told he won 2019 Nobel Prize in hoax call. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sean before James …

… Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: A Look Back At Pre-Bond Sean Connery In 'The Frightened City'.

Insects' farewell …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Procession of the Autumn Insects (Matsumura Keibun), Sonnet #479.

Come one, come all …

 ‘Heaven in Ordinary’ and a book launch invitation! | Malcolm Guite. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



I just preordered the book.

Lost and found …

… The Clerk’s Forgotten Tale: Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer - Interesting Literature. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If all of these details make Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer sound as much like a biography as a work of literary criticism, it’s because Bowers deftly manages to balance both aspects of this fascinating story. He’s very good on Tolkien’s annotations, but avoids these becoming too dry – too much in the spirit of some of Tolkien’s own scholarly notes – by linking the significance of these back to Tolkien’s broader life and work.

Aimez-vous Brahms?

… Blackburn | Hyped on Melancholy. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

As memory condenses timeline, I elide the months between lectures on medieval and romantic periods. I remember my music history professor telling us his own music history professor habitually mispronounced organum as orgasm. I also remember him saying that most people can’t appreciate Brahms until their thirties. Then time slows down again. I can close my eyes and return to the moment my professor stoops to punch play on the classroom stereo. The opening chords of Opus 10, No. 4 unfurl. The melody climbs then sighs and descends. I sit back at my desk and silently cry. I am seventeen and convinced by the time Arthur Rubinstein plays through measure four that I have an old soul.
Guess I must be also. I've loved Brahms all my life.

Something to think on …

And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God's hands and leave it with Him.
— Edith Stein, born on this date in 1891