Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any maw Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any mawkish sentimentality ...and therein lies their strength, while retaining charm and humour and sorrow. A brilliant recounting of Provencal Lives and a Childhood.
THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS RAVE !!!!
I read these two books under the One Title of "The Days Were Too Short" in the early 1960's. Marcel Pagnol wrote and had them published in 1957 when he was 62 years old. He died in 1975 having written two more books about his Provencal Childhood. I was surprised to discover recently that the books were originally written for children and were quite brief...having read the first 20 pages I have my doubts about this!!! The English Title really picks up on the heavy Nostalgic Feel that these books convey, very probably not to children who are too young to be 'nostalgic', but with adults this aspect of a Lost Past has absolutely WOWED them. AND me !!! And Unashamedly so. One has only to read the reviews here and Everyone is totally besotted even though Most of Us never had a Provencal Childhood; but we all had....a Childhood !!...and somehow they were all touched by a Magic of some kind. Innocence, first experiences, gullibility, naivety, first happinesses and first griefs... all are Common yet Unique - the environments, the families, the times, the child etc. A Lost World...and Life will never have that magic again. I haven't read them since the 60's, but I have NEVER forgotten them. Mine were condensed by Reader's Digest...as if they weren't short enough !!! BUT I have NEVER let that book go. It was something very precious to me and still is. It has followed me around and always found its niche on my Bookshelves. The memory of it is painful as well as delightful...that is because of the 'nostalgia' of course. I could feel it in the reviews...and I read ALL of them. Two films, named for the first two books - My Father's Glory" and "My Mother's Castle"- were released around 1990 accompanied by very evocative music. Of course I saw them, as I'm sure any Fan of the books would have as soon as they became aware of them...you see, we were actually ADDICTED....and still are I bet!! Happily addicted, which is what addicton is all about surely. In a way I dread having to read them again...will I survive another exposure ??
To Kall...viewing a recent Georges de la Tour in Madrid ?
You LUCKY THING being able to go to this exhibition
I LOVE this guy's paintings...their still To Kall...viewing a recent Georges de la Tour in Madrid ?
You LUCKY THING being able to go to this exhibition
I LOVE this guy's paintings...their stillness, due to deep pondering by the subjects in all their seemimgly monumental calm and simplicity really show up the "over-the-top'-ness of Caravaggio -alllllll turbulence, melodramatic lighting etc etc..but one has to LOVE these as well !!!! Two Masters...unique with still so much in common. Why set one against the Other when you can have BOTH !!! Like Sutherland and Callas !!! Why bother to fight about people who have sooooo much to offer???
My FIRST trip to Europe in 17th Dec 1973-early Feb 1974 had me having such magical experiences...at theLouvre their Georges de la Tour exhibition was.. well OVER, FINI !!! ...BUT...many of the postcards were still on display and I bought a BUNDLE !!! ....the gods were kind to me THAT rainy Paris Day !!!
And a few years later a book was published and I GOT IT !!!
Wonderful portrait of St Jerome I'd NOT seen before. Better than the others. ..and soooo de la Tour !!
Now I have read that he was an 'odious' person which was at variance with his paintings with their and depth and sensitivity.
These labels do not help at all. Are not necessary. Because the Human personality is so varied; and vicious statements attributed may well have been delivered with a glint in a mischevious eye, a humorous seductiveness ...THAT makes all the difference and adds a whole 'other' dimension to a person.
No one is 'perfect" whatever that entails and we have the wonderful works, the survivors...Deo Gratias !!!
PS. What about the pastels of Maurice Quentin de la Tour???
I found my 350 page tome titled "A Short History of French Painting" book from The Oxford Bookshelf when I returned home from that first trip..and "there was Chapter VI headed "Portraiture and La Tour". ALAS...not My George !!! but Maurice Quentin...the 'portraiture' should have warned me ...but here is another Genius with the talent of the Holbein of the Tudors ...those fresh, hot of the press of the artist's most recent sketch. alive, present day, character defined FACEs ...and the pastel is practically PHOTOGRAPHIC when a genius with feeling is manning the brush,crayon pencil..or pastel stick and Maurice's IN COLOUR ...real live breathing people ...go google HIM !!!!
Thanks for getting me up to date with George, Kall, 40 years on! ...MUCH appreciated, I can assure you !!! waYne...xxx ...more
I read this in 1986, years before Goodreads and computers entered our lives!!
This story has a much Larger and Wider Scenario than a private life of a I read this in 1986, years before Goodreads and computers entered our lives!!
This story has a much Larger and Wider Scenario than a private life of a single woman. My main response was to the tragedy that can be brought about by what I will call "Catholic Scruples" which can drive many to maddness. Here is a woman who loses one uncaring husband only to have him replaced by a wonderful one, more than she could have ever dreamed possible. AND WHAT DOES SHE GO AND DO???? Right...she destroys it. As any faithful daughter of the Church was bound to do. And as Janet Lewis concludes so perceptively, but perhaps too kindly, when one is dealing with moral fanaticism, "when hate and love have together exhausted the soul, the body seldom endures for long." Would she have survived mentally her 'husband's' execution outside her home and his body's destruction by fire, the smell of it rammed up her nostrils and she almost luxuriating in the Horror and Idiocy of what she herself had brought about??
"Regrets, I've had a few.."she may have begun to her grandchilden gathered round her knees in days to come, if she had survived that long, well supported by the Moral Righteousness with which her catholic faith would have blessed her deed. Sin promised to be the Saviour of her Life, or would have been, if only she had had the courage to believe in herself and her own self-rule.
As far as priests go, sane priests are those who realise the insanity of an Idea like Celibacy; celibacy originally introduced after hundreds of years of married priests, as an Economic Measure only, but sold as a Spiritual Necessity ...to the gulliblle and obedient, these latter no true virtues!! No wonder the Church is light on Church History.
Today priests who are able to live as homosexual or heterosexual husbands to another, both valid sexualities, and still dedicated to the service of the Priesthood should be reinstalled openly ...along with the creation of Women Priests, to totally resurrect a now spurned and hopefully dying institution. Then there will be no need for a Wife of Martin Guerre!!!
And how about it's brevity...95 pages!!! So much to recommend it in theme and size. I'd give it 5 stars for it's import...in no way a criticism of lesser evaluations ...since I am coming from a life as a Rebellious Cleric - sinning in sanctity and taking my Life's Reins thoroughly out of the hands of a Disabled Church.
Ghastly tragic tale if ever there was one...but needed....more
Fortunately or Not, but certainly VERY Interestingly, this book contains TWO accounts of the story of William Buckley (1780A WARNING BEFORE READING -
Fortunately or Not, but certainly VERY Interestingly, this book contains TWO accounts of the story of William Buckley (1780 - 1856). Both of these books were written with HIS assistance...BUT (here is that Topsy-Turvey word !!! ) the two accounts were written 14 to 17 years apart under widely different circumstances and from totally different motives. Buckley is known to have lied during his long life, some critics have pointed out, and I must say I was very glad to hear about this, because it means he was a typical member of the Human Race to which I happen to belong as well - yes, I too have lied !! - but his aforementioned critics had their prejeudices! (I caught a lovely and funny dog I knew very well lying once...believe it or not !!!)
Tim Flannery, who wrote the 46 page Introduction to the Two Tales, concludes it with a WARNING, which he sees as a bit of a challenge :
"Now it is time to take up with William Buckley in his travels and adventures. It is as well to keep your eyes open and your wits about you as you do."
Tim seems to have cottoned on that finding 'lies' may merely mean having a sort of Game trying to spot where a minor 'hiccup' may have occurred; or perhaps where putting the emphasis on one thing rather than another may arise; or a sign of a weakening memory discovered, because William was about 72 years old when the second book about his Extraordinary Life was finally published in 1852. His uniqueness had not helped him to get any Government support for all he had done to assist both the settlers and his Indigenous family. In fact, by 1853, there were only 34 members of the Wothowurong tribe who had cared for Buckley for 32 years remaining, with only one under 10 years old. In 1836, there had been 173 of them, but the whites had already started killing them. And they were ALL dead by 1885.
Tim, a scientist, archaeologist and antropologist also lectures at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has most probably lied sometimes, but I would not think in any of his many publications. His telling the Truth has, however, got him into much trouble, particularly with the unliberal Liberal Party Government, because he has been warning Us All here about Climate Change for several decades now. I think William Buckley may have had similar experiences. He probably just told the truth Too Often !
William Buckley was in a unique position in the Australian White Society of 1803 !!! He knew MORE about the indigenous people, or certainly a particular group of them , because they were divided into thousands of Language Groups, he knew more than any other white person AND he was prepared to speak on their behalf and even in their Defence. Many White settlers hated him IMMEDIATELY they realised this, and later, after they had killed his horse, he feared they would soon kill him. They had already started killing the Aborigines about property, and Buckley's main tribe,the Wothowurong, were now being murdered as well, because it irritated the founding settlers of Melbourne,that these blacks were living where they wanted to graze their sheep. In England, where killing other English people was against the Law of the Land, the Peasant Class who had got in the way of the Sheep Graziers, just as the Indigenous people were now doing in European Colonies, but had been dealt with by getting the British Government to privatize their lands and then the Establishment of the Enclosure System meant that fencing off the land soon made it obvious to the Peasants that their class of people were now required to work in and support the Industrial Revolution by moving to where the factories were. And mines ! Fewer were needed on the Land. This led to the Rise of the Working Class and the Chartist Movements where the Rights of these people were finally won and which are now still being gradually undone and abolished by Governments as we move into the 21st century. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) wrote about this AMAZING takeover in his poem "The Deserted Village". And in the 19th Century, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning (1806-1861) wrote a famous poem,"The Cry of the Children", about the very young children who had to work in Factories and Coal Mines, a much more practical alternative to genocide.)
Buckley is NOT listed among "Australia's Famous Men and Women".
Does THAT surprise YOU ? Those we choose to imitate and hold up as Icons say MUCH about our values.
His face appears on no coin or paper note or nor does any statue exist that I know of. But there are expressions such as " You have Buckley's Luck /Hope /Chance of that happening" acknowledges that Buckley's Luck was Rare; and several places in Melbourne bear his name, where he was known to have lived his Native Life of 32 years. Here he had lived and enjoyed mostly an alternative valid existence, where disease was rare, food was plentiful and no gods spoilt one's peace of mind. Spirits had a history - they had shaped the land; and many had been transformed into the Native Animals which were now taken as Guardians, one special animal for each person. But the Land, the Trees, the Rivers, the Animals and the Peoples...all were to suffer Terrible Loss at the Hands of the Newcomers. They suffer still. No White Invader really seemed to acknowledge that these apparently primitive, uncivilised Black People might have untapped depths, hold keys, Keys to Secrets, Keys of Knowledge. Did they ever think to ask or observe or get an opinion? Native Food was scorned; customs ignored, scorned and abandoned. To Our Detriment. Bushfires once prevented now occur and kill Every Summer; rivers turn salty; erosion is rampant; reefs diminish as does Everything. Some few did learn..and Buckley would have been one of the First. Why is he not remembered and generously? Can we admit to our Great Failure, to the Wrong Turnings we made and whose paths we persist in still following? What do Ned Kelly and Burke and Wills offer us except staggering failures. Burke and Wills died where Native Peoples had survived for centuries. It did not take them long to perish. It is not taking long for us either.
My Vision I have long contemplated is when we in our boats set off seeking refuge in nearby Asia leaving the Original Peoples behind, will they assist us, wave us a Fond Farewell from Sydney's clifftops or will they be too busy preparing a Corroboree of Joy and wondering can the Land now cure itself with their aid?
These Two Tales of Buckley are precious beyond Price. Another which reads more easily and blends many other facts together is "Buckley's Hope" by Craig Robertson which was published in 1980. I've heard it has never been out of print.
Whilst reading this tough little book which continually delivers massive Wallops far exceeding the thinness of its size, I became absolutely fascinatedWhilst reading this tough little book which continually delivers massive Wallops far exceeding the thinness of its size, I became absolutely fascinated by Machiavelli's FACE, his portrait adorning its cover, particularly because it was not imagined, but painted by a contemporary, Santi di Tito. This man, in his spacious, almost billowing costume of vivid red and black, appears almost fragile with his slim and finely boned face which exhibits an obliging and inoffensive expression and an air of elegance enhanced by his reserved and almost timid Mona Lisa smile, but it is his alone. One would be inclined to trust him as he appears a competent and intelligent fellow.
But for me it certainly didn't seem to be the face that would belong to the writer of this pretty grim political treatise. I finally HAD to photocopy it and pin it up in an obvious place so that I could absorb it and begin to plumb the character of the author, because he was obviously much more than what he presented in looks. I'd once lived near his rustic home of exile in the Tuscan countryside for several weeks and found myself regretting very much never having gone out of my way to set foot there. The gods only know what effect such a visit would have had on me, but I suspect NONE. Just more ...confusion??
Reading "The Prince" I admired the fact that what Machiavelli set out to do was NOT to describe how ideally a Princely State should be run, but how it actually WAS run, a realistic exposee if ever...and he spoke from experience.This writer was nothing if not practical.
How did he gain this experience??? In 1494, Florence had become a Republic with the Medici Family, finally ousted after 35 years of unofficial rule. In 1498 a young Machiavelli was engaged as a diplomat and negotiator for the Florentine Republic so often came into contact with Princes, namely Cesare Borgia, illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI and also the likes of the Warrior Pope,Julius II. The picture he paints of the Prince as Ruler is drawn from life and the advice he offers is not only unsettling...it is downright criminal, ruthless, merciless and bloody!!! The trouble when someone sets out such a schema for all and sundry to read is there are ALWAYS those who do practise what somebody else merely preaches. Napoleon and Mussolini are among many students of "The Prince"; and of course Adolph of the Hitler Family, a statesman not worthy of the name.(There's one family we all definitely wish practised Birth Control!)These are the types who flocked to learn.
But the Medici were also a Worthy Audience. That much Niccolo knew. They had returned to power in Florence in 1512 with a tyranny under Cardinal de Medici. Niccolo was sacked and exiled to his farm. Less admirable is the fact that Niccolo Machiavelli seemed desperately trying to suck up to the Medici's so that he could return to a world of politics, anything so he could get out of his exile in the countryside and back into the Fray. But he certainly knew what he was dealing with. In February 1513 Machiavelli was falsely implicated in a plot against the Medici Family. He was tortured, fined and imprisoned. He was released within a month but his chances of finding Government work were slim and nothing eventuated. This was when he decided to use his talent for writing and his interest in politics to advance himself. He would write a book of a type popular at the time: advice to a Prince. But his would be based on Fact and this he thought would appeal in its wisdom and originality to his Medici Rulers. But what are we to make of a work he had started long before any thought of a book such as "The Prince" would have entered his mind...perhaps?
Machiavelli had been writing initially about the Other Side of the Coin in "The Discourses" where he examined the world of Livy's ancient Roman Republicanism. No doubt he was also considering Florence's very recent experience of a Republican Government.He actually interrupted his writing of "The Discourses" in 1513 to complete "The Prince", obviously a much more practical and urgent piece of writing. He returned to "The Discourses in 1515, continuing to work on it from time to time until 1517.He obviously believed in it. He would die ten years later, never having achieved his wish to return to Public life. Perhaps it was a discarded dream by then and involved a ruling group he did not respect.
Machiavelli very probably was NOT Machiavellian at all. Although he has been stigmatised for centuries with his OWN NAME !!! As have many other far more Deserving Souls. Perhaps he was very much as he was captured in his portrait by Santi di Tito...perhaps just a bit too willing to oblige.
I spent months agonising over this review several years ago. I even read essays on Machiavelli and his poisonous little gem of a book by Isaiah Berlin whose complexity left me with a spinning brain, or what was left of it.I need to do far more study.I have not completed The Discourses.And have recently purchased a life of Machiavelli written in 2010 by an Italian writer, which looks VERY promising.
AND I do have an image of a Face - sensitive, intelligent and obliging. I put a lot of promise and hope in that face !! ...more
I feel compelled to clarify what some readers of this review understandably might see as an Offensive Remar 'OFFENSIVE' ALERT !!!!...but no spoiler....
I feel compelled to clarify what some readers of this review understandably might see as an Offensive Remark re a Sexual Life. I can appreciate this reaction because the subject is too often seen as 'Private' and a sex-obsessed Church has made it into the Cardinal Sin. These Monastic Romances, for these relationships were taken very seriously by the participants, were bred from a desperate loneliness and stifiled youthful desire; many left the Monastic Life feeling they had failed, whereas I always considered that the system had failed us. Some married and became acceptably normal, while others joined the Gay Ranks, several of these committing suicide. Guilt was well instilled. Celibacy was promoted as the Higher and Better Path; compared to those who merely married, We Celibates were able to Love Everybody. However, Lives given over to alcoholism, desperate loneliness, nervous breakdowns, secret affairs, constant guilt and quitting the monastery as failures were the Fruits of the Celibate Life for Most. Few never doubted the validity of their Forbidden Relationship and grew and blossomed instead. To me Sex was one of God's Better Gifts and perversely I gloried in it; I finally refused to confess what I could only regard as Positive and Permissable . "Church History", surprisingly, was never taught in the Celibate House, so we never learned that it was not introduced because of a "Vocation of Love" but as an Economic Measure by an Institution intent on the practicalities of running an efficent and profitable Organisation. Shedding wives and offspring stopped for good a drain on Profits, and were in no way Essentials of a Wholesome Life. The Italian Clergy saw that a Sex Life was actually essential to Normalacy. Luther was scandalised on his visit to Rome, but as an apostate, he soon took an ex-nun to wife and lived 'Happily Ever After' -as did most of the priests and students who left our Monastic Order in droves after the Pope condemned Birth Control in the late 1960's. Sex should be a Joy, not an imposition or a deprivation , and when mutually respectful and caring, never a source of Guilt. Passion and Laughter should not be strangers.
June, 2016. Eight Years have passed since I cast aside this grotesque book - the Mutual Diaries of the Two Goncourt Brothers -
...knowing Full Well I would have to pay it a Revisit as it is a True Reflectionof a Slice of 19th Century French Life ...and I AM a Francophile... and MUST face up to ALL aspects of the French and France!!
Having just resurrected the Rabelesian, bawdy Mediaeval "Droll Stories" of Honore de Balzac, purchased soon after my Own Departure from a Catholic Monkish Monastery, where I was part of the Unspoken Sexual Life, ...I could bring a Dinner Party to both a Deathly Silence and Laughter by calmly admitting that my Best Years of a Lively Sex Life were spent in a Monastery... I realised that my Naive,Ingenuous Exterior belied my Continual Search for a Realistic Life, and Frenchmen like Emile Zola, Honore de Balzac, Proust,Hugo, the Goncourt Brothers, de Maupassant, Flaubert, Baudelaire etc were definitely Realists and an area I was committed to investigating. Thankfully I also found there Two Women -impossible to miss- Aurore Lelia Dudevant better known to History as Georges Sand... and Colette...my friends for Life.
The Goncourt Brothers and the more easily digestible de Balzac lie on my bookshelves, a little like as yet undetonated bombs, and before I fade away, I feel obliged to partake of their realistic though often indigestible Feasts. Presently they still lie on their shelves, but dusted off...awaiting their coming Resurrection. June 2016.
Written January , 2009. DEATH AND WOMEN...with SEX,of course !!
These Journals should be put on the Feminist Shelf, because........................... IT - Feminism - is NEVER referred to !!!!!!!!!! A concept never imagined or considered a possibility!! And WHY???
Death and Women are Two of the obsessive subjects of the Jolly Goncourt Freres. Ghastly slow deaths without modern medicines to assist.
And Women ??? Not surprisingly,it is solely "Women and ....SEX !!
Oh, yes,...plus..Women and how stupid they are.
Sadly the Women the Goncourt Brothers met also had that opinion of themselves. The Boys never seemed to have run across George Sand and if they did, did they ever give her a chance to reveal herself as a Mind ?? Probably not. Because it was not expected. And the girls do appear to be a bit thick, probably because they were never given a chance to see themselves as anything else but !!
Despite all the famous names,and culture and....whatever, I really couldn't take any more, any more of the ladies who were introduced, and were happy to be what they were expected to be. But we didn't get to hear the girls away from the blokes. Now THAT may have been a revelation.
It was Revelation enough to see the Girls of the Circle of the Goncourt Brothers.
And I had had ENOUGH.
I have shelved this under "Books-I've-thrown-across-the-room" but it is safely awaiting recall on that other shelf "Re-reads" even though/because I NEVER finished it.
Next time, knowing what to expect may assist in coping; and I shall read on, glean some interesting knowledge, accept the Times for what they were, be glad the book has an end and come out on the Other Side.
"Because you shelved SHOE LUST a few recommendations in Fantasy."
I must say this was The Last Thing I expected when A MESSSAGE FROM THE GOODREADS FOLK:
"Because you shelved SHOE LUST a few recommendations in Fantasy."
I must say this was The Last Thing I expected when my fascination with Things Historical had me pouncing on the Current Development of the Humble Shoe in "Shoe Lust" at our Local Bookstore in Dulwich Hill about 12 months ago. It is Fascinating and often pretty Wild. As are the stories in the Black Water Anthology.
This Very Kindly Attendance of Goodreads had me rummaging among their group of Suggested Books;some old favourites of the strange, weird and wonderful were there: Japanese Tales,some Chilren's stories, the Arthurian Legends and LO!! good old Alberto Manguel's Black Water Anthology - being 72 stories from a huge range of talented writers, Known and Un-, and of various Nationalities. The very first one I can still recall vividly - "House Taken Over" by Julio Cortazar. But I hadn't remembered this until I interrupted this review to fetch "Black Water" from one of my bedroom bookcases.
It wasn't there on the top shelf !!!! It came as a shock...but another awaited me. There was another white binding much thicker than the Black Water book and it read:
WHITE FIRE: Further Fantastic Literature Alberto Manguel PICADOR
This book had been sitting there for 25 years as its dusty top pages showed as also its publishing date of 1990. I located "Black Water" in my bookshelf lined hallway very quickly. I had read it sometime in the 1980's,not 1990 as I'd thought, and obviously bought the second volume on the strength of the enjoyment given by the first which I recall enjoying. MORE stories in this second volume though...941 pages. I check "Black Water...mmm!!.....967 pages !!!! So the fat book has less content than the slimmer book. OK,I am already dipping my Big Toe into what promises to be...fantasia!
I am quite happy to embrace this delusion,illusion,fact or fantasy... "Shoe Lust" and its extremes has led me into more weird literature and who am I to complain !!!!
So I will not be immediately settling down to a RE-READ of "Black Water" but taking on the Thicker although Shorter Sequel which only seems proper...go where the Fantastical takes You, eh !!!...more
"The Triumph of Surgery" ...that's what I trust the Title of the book I have registered here hopefully says !!!!!
I read it some years ago, finding it i"The Triumph of Surgery" ...that's what I trust the Title of the book I have registered here hopefully says !!!!!
I read it some years ago, finding it in a second-hand bookshop many years after I had been totally floored by it's predecessor in the tale of the History of Western surgery, "The Century of the Surgeon". It was a red hardback with many fine illustrations, something the Pan Paperbacks sadly lack. But the vivid stories and your imagination will bring it ALL to Life as no illustrations can !!!
Although the Western Method of cutting off and cutting out leaves much to be desired and often appears to be just plain savage, it has saved the lives of many people. Massage and herbal remedies among others are pleasant alternatives. However Jurgen Thorwald will keep you ABSOLUTELY RAPT !!!! with his gripping narration of individuals who challenged tradition and sought for answers and alternatives that appeared unsolvable and meant early and painful deaths for the majority of Folk.
THEN realised it was MUCH more suited to.....ME !!!!!
After ALL... I love poetry - Cavafy's too;
I write I bought this for a friend a couple of weeks ago.
THEN realised it was MUCH more suited to.....ME !!!!!
After ALL... I love poetry - Cavafy's too;
I write poetry - Cavafy helped me find my 'voice'(simple and straightforward)...as did John Donne(conversational).
I love Greece - worked there, loved there, grew there
I love philosophy - the first philosophers I studied were the Ancient Greeks; and when I wrote poetry they soon made an appearance ...Heraclitus especially; and Zeno. Both fond of paradox. ...with them, one can always expect the UNexpected!
I love men.
Julian is one, Julian the Apostate...which is how the Christians handed him down to History, with a discredited title. (Strangely, paradoxically, Christ was no Christian!!...this is ambiguous and I mean it to be taken positively.) Julian,reared as a Christian,knew the religion well, having the insider's vantage to observe hypocrisies at play, most notably the vicious infighting he saw around him. In 337,when Julian was aged 6,his father and seven immediate family members were executed by Constantine's three sons, his cousins.In 354, his half-brother Gallus, with whom Julian had spent his teenage years, was executed by the last of these three cousins,who,dying unexpectedly in 361, left Julian sole heir to the throne. He was to be among the very last Pagan Emperors, ruling humanely and allowing the more civilised wisdom and philosophies of the Pagan World to be revived.
Julian now began to restore the Pagan Gods. He summoned the bishops and ordered them "to allow every man to practise his belief boldly without hindrance." The Christians abhorred Religious Toleration, as Fundamentalist Muslims do today,a religious toleration always a mark of the Roman Empire. After undergoing victimisation as atheists by the Roman World,the Christians welcomed their freedom by persecuting and eradicating their various Christian Sects, now labelled "Heresies", so as to solidify all power in Rome, where it still resides. Julian, to add to the fury of the Christians, also withdrew their lucrative tax exemptions.
Julian only ruled for 18 months. He was slain in battle. Christianity was soon able to persecute pagans out of existence as well as our birthrights...with the closing of the School of Athens, where philosophy had been taught for many centuries, and the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Philosophy and Learning were to be replaced by warring theologies for the next thousand years or more ...the Dark Ages.
I am just beginning a biography of Julian ..."JULIAN" by Gore Vidal.
What has this to do with Cavafy ??? Several poems in this collection concern Julian. As far as I have read he wears the soiled title of an Apostate. No fault of Cavafy, but of a Church prepared to rule by Power and Force, propaganda and brainwashing and persecution within... ..no sign of any Democracy in the Catholic Church, even now; and lately bolstered since 1854 (?) by the concept of Papal Infallibility, which they allow the Christian Masses to misread to increase their Iron Hold. *(there have only ever been TWO infallible statements : that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven on her death, the so-called Assumption,and how ironic; and that Mary was conceived without Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception...reflecting the Church's obsession with sex. Neither will be found in Holy Scripture. Neither will add a crumb to anyone's Ethical Life.
THESE ARE TO BE RELISHED...understand??? RELISHED!!!
There are 19 short stories here and what could be termed a "novella", which at FORTY pages is NOTTHESE ARE TO BE RELISHED...understand??? RELISHED!!!
There are 19 short stories here and what could be termed a "novella", which at FORTY pages is NOT really short ...while the "short" stories really ARE short being at 3, 4, 5 and 7 pages long.
The BEST thing, regardless of length, is that they are written by a consummate artist and collector of Human Nature - Colette!!!
And to add to that, being French, there is that unique way of viewing, of sharply observing which is curious and amused yet open and non-judgemental. Of course not ALL French people are blessed with this virtue, the point is that Colette IS SO BLESSED.
So these especially short, consistently short, tales, are sharply and deftly drawn and complete; and cover such a range of places, situations and peoples...from animal lovers to murderers, deserted husbands to burglars, foxes to hens. And amazing how much can be revealed and left unsaid in such a small package. And still be complete. ...more
"Is Simon Leys Belgium's best gift to Australia?" asked The Canberra Times. Well, of course !!! The Chinese had something to do with it, because they "Is Simon Leys Belgium's best gift to Australia?" asked The Canberra Times. Well, of course !!! The Chinese had something to do with it, because they refused him re-entry, after he had made some minor criticism. Luckily he was in Australia when this occurred...and stayed. China's loss!!!
This little book, a novella and fable, is a Gain for the Global Citizen.
Alas,I read a borrowed copy some years ago and remembered to return it.
But I did pick up cheaply a DVD of the film of the book, a MOST faithful rendition, with Ian Holm playing the role so well, but titled "The Emperor's New Clothes". See it as an extra, a bonus !!!
The story is a "what if..." tale and a clever and intriguing and ironic one. Escaping from exile, how does an Ego like Napoleon's cope with being an anonymity ? Or the exact opposite when confined to a mental asylum, where he discovers that most inmates think they are HIM!!! It would be nice to think that this is how Napoleon ended up ...wiser and happier.
At least the reader has a chance of this when this story is over !!!! ...more
PART I : IN PRAISE OF A BOOK - pre-text exteriors:
With this tiny tome, red covered with golden print and golden designs on its spine, one feels, exper PART I : IN PRAISE OF A BOOK - pre-text exteriors:
With this tiny tome, red covered with golden print and golden designs on its spine, one feels, experiences, the size - compact, slim, almost pocket fitting, hand size; its weight - almost lightweight but not negligible; and these days, when books are bowing to a battery and smart technology, and wisely to practicalities, it makes one conscious of the physicality of a book that gives some volumes a definite concrete personality that will endure with the memory of its contents.
6/3 - ie.,six shillings and threepence - is still clearly and almost freshly enscribed in lead pencil on the inside cover although its printing dates from 1957. Two decorative shields appear here as well, one per page. This Book Belongs to ..... on the cover side; and on the 6/3 side a quote from Milton: "A Good Book is the Precious Life-Blood Of A Master Spirit."
PART-II: PRAISE Interior, 11 Short Stories.
Here is a Canadian book, hopefully recognized there as one of its Classics, which largely treats of its Indigenous People but after the White Invasion. The landscape is mostly WHITE - but legitimately so, being due to the Arctic North. This is the far North and the wild life here plays an integral role, one lost to the City dwelling animals. Here they eat the local humans ...or get eaten by them. A Fair trade off is how the reader will experience this custom. Few names are Anglo: Kahdoosh the Man with a Nose like a Bottle, Chantie the Curlew, Oomgah the Moon-faced One and her husband Peeguk the Flat-footed One, Suggemah the Mosquito and her father Kwasind the Strong Man. Murchison and Mactavish sound extraordinarily ordinary thrown in amongst them !! French and Scottish have made their homes here and take over some stories, as do some animals.It is a broad canvas that Alan Sullivan offers us and he does so in poetic and musical language which seems to have been lost to us, and so all the more novel, surprising and eloquent...and best, enjoyably so. Wolves come to dine and huge bears to smash igloos for tucker; swans make return journeys to breed after southern summering facing both home beauties and home dangers.The French Catholic community suspect one of their own of being a "loup garou",a werewolf and Peeguk comes to the rescue of a white woman under attack from her husband even if it is on screen at his first movie. ...more