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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 37 comments Just over two years into the War of 1812, on September 3, 1814, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner left Baltimore on the HMS Minden in order to negotiate a prisoner exchange with British soldiers. They succeeded in convincing Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane to release the Americans, after which Key and Skinner were held captive until the attack on Baltimore had concluded. During the battle at Fort McHenry, Key watched as the British gunships fired on his countrymen, the sight of the fort’s storm flag as proof that the battle wasn’t lost. When morning came on September 14, the storm flag had been lowered and the 15-star, 15-stripe, “Star-Spangled Banner,” was flying in its place. This flag, made by Mary Young Pickersgill and other Baltimore residents, inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem, the first stanza of which provided the lyrics for America’s national anthem.

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 37 comments Here are the first three parts of my new essay collection--not the most thrilling reading in the universe, but someone might be interested.

Intended Consequences is a collection of short essays about faith, life, and Christianity in America. The range of topics includes charity, art, patriotism, addiction, and Bruce Lee.

Blog Link and PDFs:

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 37 comments William Faulkner

An American writer of novels, short stories, essays, and screenplays, William Cuthbert Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, and is best known for his novels and stories about the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, which is based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he lived for much of his life. Three of his novels, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Light in August made the Modern Library’s list of the top one hundred English-language novels of the twentieth century. Surprisingly Faulkner remained mostly unknown to the public until winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. Two of his books, A Fable (1954), and The Reivers (1962), won Pulitzer Prizes for fiction.

His most popular, and what many consider his greatest work, The Sound and the Fury, was published in 1929 when William was only thirty-two years-old. The story progresses through stream of consciousness narratives in four different sections. Three of them feature first-person narrators, each a member of the Compson family, recounting events of both the present and the past in highly stylized, overlapping layers of brilliant prose. The fourth section uses a third-person omniscient narrator to follow Dilsey, the Compsons’ faithful servant and a strong African American mother. This book reigns as an indisputable masterpiece and towering achievement of American Literature.

The title, The Sound and the Fury, comes from a monologue in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, when the despairing king finds himself overwhelmed by fears, sins, and dangers. “She should have died hereafter/There would have been time for such a word./To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day/To the last syllable of recorded time/And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!/Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more: it is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing.”

The passage echoes the words of King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “All is vanity,” and reading Faulkner one feels the apparent futility of the characters’ struggles, yet can’t help caring for them as they fight for hope and dignity while also fighting among themselves. He wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Pay, in 1925 in New Orleans, after Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio) urged him to start writing fiction. Anderson helped with the publication of Soldier’s Pay and his second novel, Mosquitoes, by recommending the books to his own publisher.

William Faulkner pioneered the new form of stream of consciousness prose, simultaneously documenting Southern life in the early twentieth century, and weaving magnificent tales of hardship, faith, and perseverance. The Compson family along with his other characters face obstacles that would level most families and leave them crying in the dust, but these carry on, forge ahead hoping their promise waits around the next bend. The poetry of his narratives is breathtaking, the journeys inspiring, fascinating, and heartbreaking. William passed away in 1962, two days after the 4th of July. Rest in peace, Mr. Faulkner.

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