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Posts from the ‘Classic’ Category

12
Jan

#Classic: Othello

Lawrence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh (1995)

 

Structure:

  1. Othello contains five acts with a total of 15 scenes
  2. If you go slowly…total reading time of three to four hours.
  3. I read the play  Open Source Shakespeare website
  4. while I listened to the audio book  (2 hr 36 min)
  5. It is an excellent recording of the
  6. November 2007  performance at the
  7. Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London.
  8. Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Moor Othello,
  9. Ewan McGregor as the scheming Iago
  10. and Kelly Reilly as the gentle Desdemona.

 

Quickscan:

  1. Love triangles:  Othello – Desdemona – Roderigo
  2. Focus:  race...Othello’s dark skin and humble origins (Moor)
  3. ..so important that Shakespeare put it in the title!
  4. Family issue:  Desdemona  marries an dark skinned  ‘other’.
  5. ….her father is furious!
  6. Plot twists:…too many to list here…just read the play!
  7. Betrayal: Clever Iago deceives character and  makes
  8. …them not trust a third party…Iago is never in the picture!
  9. Othello: main character, name is in the  title of play but…
  10. ..the spotlight is on Iago 70% of the time!
  11. Fatal flaw Othello:  jealousy
  12. Iago: spider, patiently making web that will ’emesh them all
  13. …character you love to hate!
  14. Desdemona: perfect Elizabethan wife (soft, passive, devoted
  15. Jealousy:  “…green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
  16. Marriage:  soliloquy by Othello before killing wife… (Act 5,2  1-24) powerful!
  17. Shakespeare’s statement:  Who do you trust?
  18. Value of woman’s word, honorDesdemona
  19. …vs that of a man  “Honest, Iago”.
  20. Setting: Venice symbol law and order, rational thought and reason
  21. Setting: Cyprus symbol of chaos and disorder
  22. Major theme: appearance vs reality (lies vs truth)
  23. Minor themes: jealousy, racism, manipulation
  24. Body count: 4
  25. Quiz : only 2 WS’s plays feature …non-white characters
  26. ….Othello, but who is the other?

 

Conclusion:    #MustRead  Classic

 

10
Jan

#Classic: Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

Quickscan:

  1. Love triangles:
  2. Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia
  3. Demetrius and Lysander both want Helena (love potion working!)
  4. Plot twists:
  5. love potion, star-crossed lovers, unrequited love, mischievous fairies
  6. …magic and tangled web of love.
  7. Family issue: Egeus makes arranged marrige for Hermia with Demetrius
  8. Unrequited love: Helena’s love burns hot for Demetrius.
  9. Elopement: Hermia and Lysander flee to marry 
  10. Forest: Lovers end up in the forest…now the FUN begins!
  11. Puck: “night wanderer”/narrator/mischief maker
  12. Queen of the fairies Titania : falls in love with an ‘ass’.
  13. Four lovers….live happily ever after.
  14. Act 5: Play-within-a-play: “Pyramus and Thisbe”
  15. The Mechanicals (amateur actors)  provide comical ending
  16. Setting: Act 1-2 Athens — Act 3-4 enchanted forest — Act 5 Athens

 

Conclusion:

  1. Round characters:
  2. 4 lovers ( Hermia, Lysander, Helena, Demetrius) Puck, Bottom
  3. Flat characters:
  4. Theseus, Hippolyte, Egeus, Mechanicals, Oberon and Titania
  5. Major theme:  male power and oppression of women
  6. ….in patriarchal society (women are property).
  7. Shakespeare:
  8. creates empathy for female characters and
  9. ….feels they need more voice!
  10. Minor theme: love is unpredictable!
  11. Best quote that sums up the play:
  12. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
  13. #Classic   #MustRead

 

Last thoughts:

  1. BBC radio 3 – Good audio
  2. Note: Act 4,1
  3. ….some dialogue is placed in a different order!

 

24
Dec

#Classic: Dickens The Christmas Carol

  • Author: Charles Dickens
  • Genre:  novella
  • Title: The Christmas Carol
  • Published: 1843
  • Themes:  memory,  importance of family and friends , generosity
  • Setting: London

Trivia:

  • Charles Dickens was among the first members of The Ghost Club 1862 focusing on paranormal ghosts and haunting.
  • Dickens was thought to have created the character of Ebenezer Scrooge after stumbling across the wealthy trader’s tombstone.He was shocked by the  inscription, “Meanman” Dickens noted  “To be remembered through eternity only for being mean seemed the greatest testament to a life wasted.”What Dickens failed to realise was that the tombstone actually read “Mealman” in recognition of the desceased  successful career as a corn trader.

Introduction:

  • Published in England in 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol had an immediate
  • and lasting impact on the Christmas holiday.
  • The novel’s  lessons of charity and family spoke directly to a Victorian society.

Characterization:   Ebenezer Scrooge:

  • Dickens always uses names of characters to attract the readers imagination.
  • Dickens uses Ebenezer Scrooge to remind us of things we ought not forget.
  • The first name appears  2 x Marley’s ghost. 1 x Fezziwig  1 x on Scrooge’s gravestone.
  • Ebenezer is anglicized version of the Hebrew name eben = stone and ezer = helper
  • Literally = a stone that would offer assistance
  • Metaphor: the gravestone with the name ‘Ebenezer’ offers Scrooge help.
  • It reminds him  (and the reader) how his life might end it he does not become a new man.

Characterization:   Ebenezer Scrooge by his  words: (pg 9)

  • Words like are there no prisons, Union workhouses, The Treadmill and Poor Law show Scrooge’s opinion about helping the poor.
  • He is not donating any money to help the poor!
  • “Nothing”, replied Scrooge. You wish to be anonymous? I wish to be left alone.
  • Workhouse: public institution in which the destitute receive board and lodging
  • The Treadmill: machine designed to power a mill with manual labor
  • Poor Law: allowed the poor to be brought to workhouses

Characterization:  by physical appearance Ebenezer Scrooge:

  • Scrooge’s cold heart has affected his appearance.
  • Nipped his pointed nose
  • shrivelled his cheek
  • stiffened his gait
  • made his eyes red
  • his thin lips blue
  • his grating voice.

Ebenezer Scrooge:

  • Scrooge represents a class of rich Victorians.
  • They refuse to see the plight of the lower working class.
  • They miss the warmth of family that the poor manage to maintain without money.
  • Greed is “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching”  the life out of these Victorian  snobs.

Foil:

  • Foil is secondary character who is used as a comparison to show the difference with the main character.
  • Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, embodies the joy of sharing Christmas
  • “..a good time,a kind, forgiving, charitable time  […]
  • when men and women consent to open their  shut up hearts freely…”. (pg 6)
  • Scrooge reacts with bitter clearsightedness:
  • “…every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’s should be boiled with his own pudding,
  • buried with a stake of holly through the heart.” (pg 6)
  • Fred: face ruddy, all in a glow, eyes sparkled, – Scrooge: shrivelled cheek, red eyes, thin blue lips

Expression:  to come down handsomely (pg 3)

  • ‘they often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.’
  • This is an ‘old fashioned’’ expression, but if you don’t understand it you will not see the reference to Scrooge.
  • The weather gave more in rain and snow than Scrooge gave in money.

Expression:  I’ll retire to Bedlam (pg 8)

  • Bedlam was a popular name for St. Mary of Bethlehem hospital in London at the time of Dickens’s classic.
  • It was a hospital for the mentally disturbed.
  • Scrooge felt that it was more sane there than outside where people foolishly  were celebrating Christmas.

Expression:  St Dunstan (pg 12)

  • Dunstan was a monk, archbishop of Canterbury and a Saint.
  • In an old English folk rhyme he pulls the devil’s nose with red-hot tongs.
  • Scrooge feels St. Dunstan should have nipped the devil’s nose with some of the cold wintery weather.

Imagery:    vivd example of a mental picture is on page 3

  • “Even the blindman’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on,
  • would tug their owners into doorways and up courts and then would wag their tails
  • as though they said ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master.
  • ’The dogs say that being blind is better than having an evil eye
  • This refers to having some part of you that drives other people away.
  • Unfortunately, Scrooge couldn’t care less what the dogs think of him.

Symbols:

  • One piece of coal  fire in counting-house:  Scrooge’s miserly ways
  • Knocker:  symbolizes ‘welcome’, becomes ghostly head of Marley = beware those who enter.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Holiday….#MustRead!
  2. Merry Christmas….and to all a good night!
8
Dec

#Classic: Eusebius

 

Who was Eusebius (260-340), Bishop of Caesarea?

  1. Eusebius lived and wrote in one of Rome’s provincial capitals,
  2. Caesarea (aka Sharon on the coastal plain of Israel.)
  3. He lived under direct Roman imperial power.
  4. He witnessed the persecution of Christians in Caesarea
  5. …under the governors Flavianus, Urbanus, and Firmilianus.
  6. Eusebius figures prominently in all
  7. …histories of late-ancient theology and philosophy

 

Why is Eusebius important?

  1. Eusebius worked at the library in Caesarea Palestina
  2. founded by the scholar Origen (ca. 185–ca. 254)
  3. He had access to numerous works of antiquity which have not survived.

 

Structure:

  1. Books 1-7  – the reign of Herod and birth of Jesus (book 1)
  2. then we read the events before Diocletian’s persecutions (14-311 AD)
  3. Books 8-9  – narration of recent persecutions (253-305 AD)
  4. Book 10 – reign of Emperor Constantine (306 – 312)

 

Genre: Greek-Roman history writing…with a whiff of an apology
Edition: Eusebius Penguin Classic ISBN 9780140445350
Theme: was celebration of the success of Christianity in the Roman world.
Significance of Eusebius: important source for historians, classicists and theologians
POV: Eusebius, a orthodox Christian
Intended audience: with a knowledge of Christian texts and accepts their sacred status

 

Title: History of the Church: Eusebius describes a group of bishops, martyrs,
and scholars. Eusebius excludes heretics as outsiders to the church.
Setting: Eusebius uses the Roman Empire as the borders of the Christian Church
Narrative: gives the readers a past about the church. It profiles of key individuals
that carry across several chapters Apostle John, Irenaeus, Origen, and Dionysius of Alexandria
Style: Eusebius has a roller-coaster reputation for both veracity and style.

 

What does Eusebius NOT do?

  1. He does not discuss of doctrine because he assumes reader knows it
  2. …and has a positive opinion of Christianity.

 

Strong point:

  1. After reading this book I feel I’m better prepared to
  2. participate in Jeopardy or University Challenge shows!
  3. I learned more about some heresies of the times.
  4. After reading this book it will be easier to read another classic (TBR)
  5. The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius!

 

Weak point:

  1. There are small items that consume reading time
  2. skimming may be necessary!
  3. How Appolonius suffered Martyrdom at Rome
  4. …Roman senator who stuck to his beliefs.
  5. Blastus On Schism   Who?
  6. Many lists of bishops of Jerusalem and Rome (skim)
  7. Date of Easter…lots of commotion!
  8. The Elegant Works of Irenæus
  9. …this is a whole other study…skim Wikipedia page Irenaeus!
  10. Heresy of Artemon
  11. …it seems Eusebius is the only historian who mentions this!.

 

Conclusion:

  1. There are just too many heretics,
  2. ..martyrs, saints, theologians to mention.
  3. This book is readable but I needed to extend my reading to
  4. Wikipedia and follow the footnotes closely
  5. …if I wanted to make heads or tails of Eusebius.
  6. This is a classic…I can say I read it.
  7. But…I’m not sure if it will be on many reading lists!
  8. This is definitely a book
  9. …for a dedicated reader of the classics!

 

Last thoughts: 

  1. Glossary….This is very handy!
  2. Excellent “Who’s Who in Eusebius” + Latin terms  (pg 339-427)
  3. Quick scan of emperors of Rome and
  4. bishops in Antioch – Jerusalem – Alexandria  (pg 428-434)
  5. Tip: I did some extra ‘skimming’ of the Wikepedia page
  6. …of the emperor mentioned
  7. This gave me a bit more historical background.
  8. It made the reading of Eusebius much easier knowing more
  9. about the politics/rulers.
  10. #Classic or the die hards!

 

2
Dec

#Classic Satires Horace

Horace, Virgil en Varius   by Charles François Jalabert

 

 

Introduction:

  1. Hoace’s satires
  2. These are very short poems….easy on the eye
  3. …and they enrich the mind!

 

Quickscan:

  1. Horace was a Roman poet of the 1st C B.C.
  2. Caesar Augustus knew with only a powerful army he
  3. …could not hold power.
  4. He needed  poets to
  5. ….win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people.
  6. Like Virgil, Horace proclaims the glory of Caesar Augustus.

 

Satires:

  1. Horace was also a straight talking man
  2. …trying to teach some life lessons:

 

  • keep your head down
  • don’t think the grass is greener on the other side
  • avoid stress
  • the advantages of a frugal life and plain living (Satire 2.2)
  • don’t dabble in politics…and become a prisoner of  ambition
  • nothing compares with the pleasure of friendship
  • it makes no difference what kind of parent you had
  • ….if only you are a gentleman (Horace was a freedman’s (slave) son)
  • … when an annoying person won’t leave despite hints! (Satire 1.9…funny!)
  • Horace writes many…stories about eating an drinking!
  • Moral? only way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach!

 

  1. Horace  was articulate and discrete.
  2. His strong point was knowing when ‘to shut up’!
  3. Satires I (pg 3-32)  Satires II (pg 33-63)
  4. are filled with fables, anecdotes and some dicey moments.

 

What is Horatian satire?

  1. Satire uses humor, exaggeration,
  2. ridicule and criticism to create change in others.
  3. Horatian satire is less harsh and takes a
  4. comical view at human injustices.
  5. Horatian satire is not negative.
  6. Pride and Prejudice is an example
  7. …of a novel showing Horatian satire.
  8. Jane Austen makes fun of
  9. various characters in the story.
  10. Some characters are simply
  11. …interested in the marriage
  12. …but not the relationship.
  13. Here are a few notes….

 

Satire 1.1 –  Lesson learned: No man lives satisfied with his own

  1. What is the point piling ($$)  up more than you need?
  2. If you get sick…is there someone who will care for you?
  3. No one wishes for your recovery
  4. …they’re waiting for your fortune!
  5. So let’s put an end to the race of money.
  6. Greed makes no one satisfied.
  7. Lead a happy live and…when his time is up
  8. quit life like …..a guest who has dined well.

 

Satire 1.2  – Horace wagging finger:  avoid vices…especially women!

  1. Keep your hands off married women
  2. they are  more misery than any real satisfaction
  3. Don’t damage you reputation.

 

Satire 1.3 – A wise man…. does not criticize faults of others…no one is free from faults!

  1. Description of Sardinian Tigellius singer and friend of Julius Caesar  faults.
  2. Description of a lover blind to his girlfriend’s unattractive defects.
  3. Moral: beam in one’s eye – ne should not criticize the faults of someone else before correcting the faults within oneself.
  4. “…examine your own faults with eyes covered in ointment
  5. …in the case of friends’ faults your eyesight (is) sharper than an eagle’s…”
  6. Moral: when dealing with a friend do not show disgust of his defects …this is tactless.
  7. Turn defects upside down: penny-pinching?…no just careful with money!
  8. This attitude binds friends together and keeps their friendship.

 

Favorite quote:

  1. “If I am telling lies may my head
  2. …be spattered with white crow’s droppings…” (Satire 1.8)
  3. #Jick

 

Conclusion:

  1. This was a quick read …3 hrs.
  2. Horace gives us many wise lessons
  3. …be it at times very wordy and misogynistic!
  4. Core message:
  5. live life with integrity
  6. live life free from guilt
  7. have the love of friends.
  8. #MustRead Classic

 

29
Nov

#Classic Death of a Salesman

 

Quickscan:

  1. Before we begin the book….we know how it will end!
  2. The story revolves around
  3. …Willy Loman, (…notice name “low man”).
  4. He is a 63 yr salesman, who cannot understand
  5. …how he failed and cannot live the American Dream.
  6. Central: the hardships that come with trying
  7. …to meet social expectations in America.
  8. Irony: We never learn in the play what Willy sells!

 

Characters:  major

  1. Willy Loman – insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman.
  2. He mirrors an everyday “character” of Post WWII American society
  3. inflexible to advice he just shuts people out and refuses to listen
  4. Tragic flaw: ridiculous idea of being “well-liked” as a way to succeed.

 

  1. Linda Loman – quintessential 50s housewife, devoted doormat
  2. blinded by loyality.
  3. Biff is telling her the truth but she is not listening.

 

  1. Hap Loman: son who represents Willy’s sense of importance,
  2. ambition, servitude to expectations.
  3. He lived in Biff’s shadow all of his life, ignored.

 

  1. Biff Loman: son who represents Willy’s vulnerable, poetic, tragic side.
  2. He has had twenty to thirty jobs,
  3. all of them fail to improve his station in life.
  4. But Biff is the only character in the play
  5. who changes from ignorance to knowledge.

 

Theme:   betrayal

  1. Generations of Loman men betray their family.
  2. They place their desires above their families well-being.
  3. Grandfather: suddenly leaves  when Willy was 4  yr.
  4. Father:  suddenly leaves to find success in Alaska.
  5. Willy: betrays family (wife) with s sordid affair.
  6. Sons: Biff and Hap,  abandon father
  7. in restaurant to trail after 2 women.

 

Theme: suicide as a means

  1. Willy is determined to eliminate himself in
  2. what has turned out to be an unfulfilling life.
  3. The payment of his insurance policy will help family survive.
  4. Suicide is a method for something else.
  5. Irony: Willy Loman is worth more dead
  6. ….than alive.

 

Structure:

  1. Structure: 2 acts + Requiem  (118 pg)
  2. Reading time:  2,5 hours 
  3. The acts are divided into conversations
  4. about the past and present.
  5. Timeline: an evening and the following day.
  6. The he action is interrupted by
  7. flashbacks or memories of a
  8. period approximately 17 years earlier.
  9. late 1920s – early 1930s (The Depression)

 

Staging the past and present:

  1. Shakespeare never tried to show the past as the present.
  2. His characters describe a past event in dialogue.
  3. Miller uses the forestage to illustrate
  4. Willy’s imaginings the of past.
  5. Flashbacks track Willy’s mental decline.

Modernism:

  1. Miller was modern because of his staging (forestage)
  2. and he believed a tragic downfall can  happen
  3. to a common man, as Willy Loman.
  4. Aristotle stated a tragic hero is always
  5. a very important person.

 

Conclusion:

  1. This is one performance I wish I had seen March 2012
  2. Death of a Salesman (link play review NYT, 2012)
  3. with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
  4. It is a novel in a nutshell…so powerful!
  5. I’ve watched the movie (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman.
  6. To my delight I found the complete audio recording
  7. of the Broadway play (2012)  click here
  8. and listen to Hoffman’s  stunning performance!
  9. The voices mesmerized me.
  10. You could hear Willy hallucinatory….delusional.
  11. Death of a Salesman  is considered the best play
  12. …written by an American playwright.

 

Feedback:  comment Cleo @ClassicalCarousel (new blog!)

This play was just a complex as a novel…and only 2,5 hrs reading time!
I did not even go into the symbols in the play (rubber hose, silk stockings and a flute)…but you can discover them your self. I did notice after reading the play that Arthur Miller used music as a symbol. If I had not listened to the 2012 version on You Tube…I’d never known! You miss this symbol if you are not aware that the play begins and ends with flute music…and at other times in the play. It is a reminder to Willy that he could have chosen a free and wild life in the country like his father did. Lost opportunity…poor Willy

 

Last thought:  my favorite quote:

  • “Willy was a salesman.
  • He’s a man way out there in the blue
  • …riding on a smile and a shoeshine,”

 

 

21
Nov

#Classic The Aeneid

 

Conclusion:

  1. Read all  about this epic poem on the Wikipedia page The Aeneid
  2. I am as exhausted as Aeneas in this photo above!
  3. ….too exhausted to ruminate further about the poem.
  4. It has been a long 2 months
  5. no binge reading but slowly just chapter by chapter.
  6. #MustRead.

 

My notes:

September 27, 2018
Ch 1
Shipwrecked, tired and wrapped in a cloud of mist by his mother Venus..Aeneas stumbles into Dido’s palace.
The gods above discuss the hero’s fate: this romance between two star crossed lovers…is doomed.

October 24, 2018
Ch 5
Never a dull moment on Sicily!
Athletic games, slithering snake over burial mound
Goddess Iris throws flaming tourch in the boats
and when we thought we’d seen enough…down comes
the god of sleep and shake dew off a bough.
Poor Palinurus falls asleep at the rudder and drowns….but nobody missed him!

October 26, 2018
Ch 6: Turning point in The Aeneid: From the underworld
Anchises (Aeneas’s father) commands Aeneas goes further and follow his destiny.

November 15, 2018
Ch 7 and 8
Modern readers enjoy ch 1-6 but for Virgil’s original readers the good part of the book begins now…war!
Who would have thought a war in this classic would start b/c somebody shot an arrow at the pet deer of Sylvia.
#AccidentsCanHappen

November 15, 2018
Ch 8  Re-read because I fell asleep with the audio book playing…missed a few things: Aeneid’s dream about a white sow and 30 piglets, Vulcan vomiting flaming fire searching for his stolen bulls and we met important character for the last chapters…Pallas the son of King Evander
#NeverDullMoment with Virgil

November 18, 2018
Ch 10-11
I’ve survived 3 generations: father (Anchieses) hero (Aeneas) child (Ascanius)
jilted lover (Dido) and whirlwind trip to see old friends in Hades
death of a pet deer….war drums…more dreams scenes than I can count!
I must finish this today!

November 19, 2018
Ch 12  grand finale!
Turnus has killed Pallas (…beloved friend of Aeneas)
Turnus is determined to fight Aeneas.
Loved by Turnus but betrothed to Aeneas, Lavina
becomes the prize for which the leaders contend in a bloody tribal war.

Aeneas leaves for the fight departs from his son
…’kisses him through his helmet’. (strange)
The fight begins.
Aeneas attacks Turnus… he is down for the count.
Aeneas hesitates for a moment but seeing the
sword belt of Pallas gleaming on Turnus’ shoulder
….he deals the final blow and kills his opponent.
End of story!

 

19
Nov

#Classic Mrs. Dalloway

 

Introduction:

  1. Oxford World Classic is an excellent choice to read.
  2. ISBN 9780199536009
  3. There is a trove of extra information available
  4. …even a map of Mrs. Dalloway’s London!
  5. I also listened to the audio book ( 7 hours 5 minutes)
  6. I like to know what I’m getting myself into before I read a classic.
  7. This book is best read after doing some research.

 

Scrope Purvis  is name of arms dealer who made a huge amount of money for Nobel Explosives Company that provided arms for WW I (WW I)

Lady Bexborough : is the woman Clarissa  most admired Lady Bexborough refers to Kathrine Mansfield  who died in 1923. (good friend of V. Woolf)

Structure:  There are no chapter headings. Big Ben: The chiming  of Big Ben is a structure technique. “First a warning, musical; then the hour irrevocable.” Also the storyline is an overlapping of observations.  We read of moments of ‘near misses’. People whose paths cross but are never meeting. This feels like pathos that appeals to our emotions…the “what if'”-situations.

Images:  Many images take you into WW I. Septimus experiences many hallucinations. He sees Evans coming out of the trees.  “But the branches parted. A man in grey was actually walking towards them. It was Evans!” Shortly after  WWI there was a project to plant young trees as a memorial to the war dead.

Favorite quote:    description of friends Septimus and Evans

“It was a case of two dogs playing on the hearth-rug; one worrying a paper screw, snarling, snapping, giving a pinch, now and then at the old dog’s ear, the other lying somnolent, blinking at the fire, raising a paw, turning and growling good temperedly.”   Amazing!

Favorite quote:    description of Elizabeth (Clarissa’s daughter)

“..like a hyacinth sheathed in glossy green, with buds tinted a hyacinth which has had no sun.”

Sexuality: We think with a title like  Mrs. Dalloway the book wil  be all about marital bliss….but  Clarissa was in love with Sally Seton  “a kiss that turned the world upside down.”  Sally has a radiance as she enters the party unexpectedly!  We read the Clarissa’s erotic desires. Woolf also creates a critique  up the social system that restrains people. Virginia Woolf  creates fluid characters and a fluid sexuality is included in them.

Marriage: Clarissa and Richard…”They went in and out of each other’s lives without any effortThere is a need for space and freedom within a relationship.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I knew one day I would read Virginia Woolf.
  2. It has taken me decades to get to this point.
  3. Mrs. Dalloway is a day in the life novel.
  4. Mrs.Dalloway reflects on her choices made 30 years earlier.
  5. …marriage proposal by Peter Walsh
  6. …decides to marry Richard and ends up in a ‘chilly’ relationship.
  7. It is centers around four intersecting lives in Edwardian England.
  8. Woolf shows the interaction between
  9. ….proper British people who speak politely to one another.
  10. The reader  senses that there are
  11. fierce and passionate undercurrents and
  12. ..thoughts that seems to be unspoken.
  13. Read:  the  E-book…as I listened to the audio book.
  14. Juliet Stevenson is an excellent narrator!
  15. Movie: watched Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs. Dalloway
  16. Movie: watched The Hours (N. Kidman, M. Streep and J. Moore)
  17. The book was better than any film!

 

Strong point:   something new for the 1920’s

  1. It’s a novel that takes place in a single day in June.
  2. This was new and certainly different in 1925.
  3. James Joyce did it in 1922. (Ulysses )

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Mrs. Dalloway is considered  Woolf’s masterpiece.
  2. She deals with mental illness (shell-shock WW I, Septimus).
  3. How the mental ill are handled and especially
  4. …how difficult is was
  5. to care (Rezia) for a person suffering mental issues.
  6. Woolf  also able to encode lesbian-erotic into the  text (Sally Seton)
  7. …that passed the censors in 1925!
  8. #MustRead…at least once in your life!

 

17
Nov

#Classic Canterbury Tales The Knights Tale

 

Conclusion:

  1. The Knight’s tale is the longest.
  2. Firstly I read the summary of the tale (1 hr)
  3. At times the tale felt never ending,
  4. ….but it was worth every minute!
  5. Impressive and very touching.

 

Characters: Palamon, Arcite, Emily, Duke Theseus

Plot: a love triangle Palamon – Emily – Arcita with backdrop of courtly love

Structure:

  1. Parts 1-4 end either with reflective question
  2. …(which lover suffers most?) or cliffhangers.
  3. Young knights battling ankle-deep in blood;
  4. proclaiming rules for jousting; final showdown to decide victory.

Strong point: dramatic irony

  1. The reader knows something the characters don’t know.
  2. Disguise: Arcita is disguised as a servant in Duke Theseus’ court
  3. Mixed messages: Arcita (Mars) and Palamon (Venus) pray to these gods
  4. to help them win Emily’s hand in marriage.
  5. Emily prays to Diana:
  6. “That I would be a virgin all my life, and would be neither mistress, no, nor wife”.

Strong point:  mise-en-abyme

  1. Palamon and Arcita fight after praying to the gods.
  2. Theseus stops them.
  3. The gods who help each lover also fight, Mars and Venus.
  4. Jupiter stops them.

Memorable passages:

  1. Descriptions of temples (Mars, Venus, Diana)
  2. Palamon’s prayer to Venus in the language of chivalry
  3. Duke Theseus forgiveness speech to fighting rivals (Palamon, Arcita)
  4. Blow-by-blow description of jousting preparations and battle.

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This was a good  classic read before I immerse myself into
  2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf.
  3. I’m sure her book will take some time to process!

 

16
Nov

#Classic Electra

  • Author: Sophocles
  • Title: Electra
  • Written: 410 BC
  • Revenge  is a dish best served cold.
  • Plot:  read the backround and storyline on Wikipedia.
  • Reading time: 1 hour 15 min

 

Introduction:

  1. This was truly a exceptional play.
  2. One settting…a few characters a
  3. pressure-cooker domestic drama
  4. …that keeps us waiting for the climax!

 

Characters:

  • Electra – princess of Argos
  • King Agamemnon – king of Argos
  • Clytemnestra – queen of Argos (father was the king of Sparta) sister of Helen of Troy
  • Iphigenia – princess of Argos (sacrificed to gods by her father)
  • Orestes – prince of Argos (twin brother Electra)
  • Aegisthus – cousin of King Agamemnon….lover of Clytemnestra
  • Chrysothemis – princess of Argos ( tries to calm Electra down!)
  • Unlike her sister….she does not seek vengeance against her mother.

 

Tragedy:

  1. Pity: Lavinia is killed under false pretenses
  2. Fear: imagining what we would have done if we were in Electra’s shoes
  3. Flaw: Electra fails to balance passion (grief father’s murder) with reason.
  4. Recognition: Orestes pretends to be dead; he returns to Mycenae…is reunited with Electra.
  5. Pathos: Electra evokes our pathos when she
  6. ….says after hearing of the death of her brother
  7. ….there is no one to protect her. (appeals to our emotions…)
  8. “No. There was someone (brother). Here are his ashes.”
  9. Electra uses pathos: When she still believes her brother is dead,
  10. she makes an emotional speech over his urn,
  11. begging to be dead and put into the urn as well.
  12. Here, she is using pathos in an attempt
  13. …to convince a higher power to take her life

 

Conclusion:

  1. Fast moving play filled with dramatic irony
  2. …WE know more than the characters.
  3. That will keep any Greek on the edge of their chair!
  4. Question:
  5. Did Sophocles ever watch TV show Sisters (1991-1996)
  6. Here are my thoughts about that!

 

  1. Major themes: is definitely betrayal, justice and revenge.
  2. Agamemnon betrays is wife Clytemnestra
  3. by to sacrificing his daughter (Lavinia) to the goddess Artemis.
  4. Clytemnestra betrays her husband
  5. ….by her affair with Aegisthus (King’s cousin) while he was at sea.

 

  1. Loyalty: Family loyalty surpasses loyalty to the state.
  2. For Electra vengeance remains necessary.

 

  1. Murders: wife kills husband (avenge her daughter’s death)
  2. With the aid of Electra, Orestes kills both his mother and her lover.
  3. Victims of crimes become criminals themselves.

 

  1. Strong point: Chrysothemis  This character gave the play a modern feeling!
  2. She is a superficial girl.
  3. ..accepts the status quo in the family (remarriage mother)
  4. ..but remains very protective and close to Electra.

 

  1. Strong point: Dialogue:  Chrysothemis speaking to Electra
  2. This sounds like an
  3. …episode of the TV show ‘Sisters’ (1991-1996)

 

  • Now is the time to start being sensible.
  • Don’ ruin your life in sheer stupidity.
  • You won’t listen to reason at all, will you?
  • Don’t throw your life away on plain stupidity.
  • When you are sane you can think for both of us.
  • Let’s just say there are times when justice is too big a risk.
  • Control yourself!

 

Last thoughts:

  1. Greek plays are fun to read and ‘read about’.
  2. I always have to prepare dinner before starting a Greek play.
  3. Once I start reading and researching it…I forget to eat!
  4. But the hardest part is trying to find something new to say
  5. …about a play that has been
  6. …with us since time immemorial.
  7. It is just a…
  8. #MustRead.