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Thu, Jan. 19th, 2006, 06:01 pm
preRevolutionary color photography in Russia

More information on the clever process, the artist, and more photographs here.

Beautiful colors.  Reminds me of Maxfield Parish's pallette.  All mental images of pre-Revolutionary Russian seem so dark.  I suppose that is akin to 'knowing' that the Second World War was fought in black and white and that soldiers marched off to the front during the Great War in funny, little mincing steps.

Mon, Dec. 27th, 2004, 09:40 pm
Post Yuletide prognosis: guarded but improving

Christmas is over. I had even less holiday cheer than normal, perhaps the least ever. On the whole, in a word, tedious. Spending time waiting around for the subfestive Bacchanalia with in laws and relatives is just not relaxing or amusing. Did manage to spend the better part of Christmas morning reading Waugh's The Loved One, which was not apropos re the holiday, which made Waugh's observations all the sharp. The ending of the book seemed a bit abrupt though.

Returned home to find the battery of the other car dead. Symbolic or synchronous?

Fri, Dec. 17th, 2004, 11:07 am
A thread in the tapestry of prose style

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about prose style. Quite a few of the authors which I have been reading lately fall into what I can only describer as a certain key or tonality.

Jane Austen
Lewis Carroll
Oscar Wilde
Max Beerbohm
Norman Douglas
Evelyn Waugh

After a bit of time, I guess you would find Stephen Fry.

I am still trying to extend the line back into history.

Thu, Nov. 4th, 2004, 06:00 pm

I would say that on the whole, I have several conservative tendencies. However, those who travel under the cognomen of conservative are not the least interested in conserving the things I would like to see conserved.

And as often the words of one of the few poems I can recite still come back to me:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Second Coming -- W. B. Yeats

However, I should say that I felt alienated during those 'glorious' Clinton years, although maybe not so alienated as I did during the reign of Bush the Greater.

Maybe too many years of parochial grade school gave me an inherently apocalyptic bias.

Sun, Oct. 31st, 2004, 08:43 pm
Trick or Treating

Only had about a dozen and a half people come to the door trick or treating this year. I don't think that kids trick or treat the way they used to. I don't think their parents let them. Back in my day it could have been raining fire and we'd still be out knocking doors for free candy.

Sun, Oct. 31st, 2004, 08:25 pm
Prose Style

It is interesting that it took me years to notice how straight forward the style of The Importance is Being Earnest is. I always come to it thinking that there are all of these verbal jewels in Wilde. And there are jewels but the writing is not so stylized as I imagine it to be, very straight forward when compared to something from the Renaissance like Shakespeare or Marlowe, much less formally rhetorical? Strange to think that in my mind brilliance implies what people lable as purple patch, when in actuality, something brilliant like Waugh, like Wilde, or like Norman Douglas is brilliant because of the clarity not the devices.

Too many years admiring Joyce and Faulkner? Probably best to let Proust go for a while until I get a handle on my prose, maybe study the earlier works of Waugh.

Fri, Oct. 29th, 2004, 08:21 pm

from The Will to Power, Nietzsche, Kaufman/Hollingdale translation

#943 (1885)

What is noble?

-Care for the most external things, in so far as this care forms a boundary, keeps distant, guards against confusion.
-Apparent frivolity in word, dress, bearing, through which a stoic severity ans self-constraint protects itself against all immodest inquisitiveness.
-Slowness of gesture, and of glance.  There are not too many valuable things: and these come and wish to come of themselves to the valuable man.  We do not easily admire.
-Endurance of poverty and want, also of sickness.
-Avoidance of petty honors and mistrust of all who praise readily: for whoever praises believes he understands what he praises: but to understand- Balzac, that typical man of ambition has revealed it- comprende c'est egaler.
-Our doubt as to the communicability of the heart goes deep; solitude not as chosen but as given.
-The conviction that one has duties to only one's equals, toward the others on acts as one thinks best. That justice can be hoped for (unfortunately not counted on) only inter pares.
-An ironic response to the "talented", the belief in nobility by birth in morals too.
-Always to experience oneself as one who bestows honors, while there are many not fit to honor one.
-Always disguised: the higher the type, the more a man requires an incognito.  If God existed, he would merely on the grounds of decency, be obliged to show himself to the world only as a man.
-The ability for otium, the unconditional conviction that although a craft in any sense does not dishonor, it certainly takes away nobility.  No "industriousness" in the bourgeois sense, however well we may know to honor and reward it, like those insatiably cackling artists who act like hens, cackle and lay eggs and cackle again.
-We protect artists and poets and those who are masters in anything; but as natures that are of a higher kind that these, who have only the ability to something, merely "productive men", we do not confound ourselves with them.
-Pleasure in forms; taking under protection everything formal, the conviction that politeness is one of the greatest virtues; mistrust for letting oneself go in any way, including all freedom of press and thought, because under them the spirit grows comfortable and doltish and relaxes into its limbs.
-Delight in women, as perhaps a smaller but more delicate and ethereal sort of creature. What joy to encounter creatures who have only dancing and foolishness, and finery in their heads! They have been the delight of every tense and profound male soul whose life was weighed down with great responsibilities.
-Pleasure in princes and priests, because they preserve belief in differences in human values even in the valuation of the past, at least symbolically and on the whole even actually.
-Ability to keep silent: but not a word about that in the presence of listeners.
-Endurance of protracted enemies: lack of easy reconcilability.
-Disgust for the demagogic, for the "enlightenment", for "being cozy", for plebeian familiarity.
-The collection of precious things, the needs of a high and fastidious soul; to desire to possess nothing in common. One's own books, one's own landscapes.
-We rebel against experiences, good and bad, and are slow to generalize. The individual case: how ironic we feel toward the individual case if it has the bad taste to pose as the rule!
-We love the naive and naive people, but as spectators and higher natures; we find Faust just as naive as his Gretchen.
-We esteem the good very little, as herd animals: we know that in the worst, most malignant, hardest men a golden drop of goodness is often concealed, that outweighs all mere benevolence of milk souls.
-We consider that a man of our kind is not refuted by his vices, nor by his follies. We know that we are hard to recognize, and that we have every reason to give ourselves foregrounds.

Fri, Oct. 15th, 2004, 01:43 pm
Dandies captured on film

What characters in motion pictures would you consider to be good examples of dandyism? I am more interested in the inner style rather than the outer style - the modes of dress change but the inner style remains.

Sun, Oct. 10th, 2004, 09:02 pm
Confessions Of a Young Man

For those reading who are interested in the literature and art of the late 19th century, I recommend seeking out a copy of George Moore's Confessions of a Young Man. It is a memoir of a young man who goes to Paris in the 1870's to become a painter but eventually doubts his talent for that art and becomes a writer. Interesting insights on both paining and writing, English and French, of the period. Interesting views of Impressionism, symbolism, aestheticism, and "the Decadence".

I came across the book about 15 years ago and eventually found a paperback version for myself. As for Moore's other works I have nothing to say. I believe he is little read today, but was important in his time. I think the only book of his that I see in print is Esther Waters. I have not read it or anything else by Mr. Moore.

The edition that I have, has a good bit in French without translation, which is unfortunate because it is a language I do not know. Oh, had I been better educated!

Thu, Oct. 7th, 2004, 09:25 pm
Two chaps talking

"Providing gentlemen with opinions since the turn of the century"

Sartorial critiques, aspects of the good life, and social commentary - often written in the tone of a less genial Wodehouse

if this appeals, the latest edition is here

If uncertain, test this:
"8. Americans eat hash browns at breakfast. They are disagreeable to an Englishman. I understand that the French, who can make food out of almost anything, use them to sole espadrilles." (http://www.twochapstalking.com/dictionary/)

If you find this to your liking, proceed.

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