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Posts from the ‘Nobel Prize’ Category


Classic: The Sun Also Rises



  1. Hemingway was part of what is called the Lost Generation.
  2. It was a group of expatriate writers
  3. ….who found real meaning in nothing.
  4. They spent their time reveling while living in Europe.



  1. The title comes from the epigraph.
  2. Despite the despair this ‘lost generation’ feels….there is hope.
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:5
  4. “Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
  5. And hastening to its place it rises there again.”



  1. When published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises
  2. caused a bit of a stir
  3. among the Montparnasse expatriate crowd.
  4. Many of its characters were based on real people.
  5. Donald Ogden Stewart   (character Bill Gorton )
  6. Harold Loeb   (character Robert Cohn)
  7. Lady Duff Twysden   (character Lady Brett Ashley)



  1. This book is held together by
  2. …the buying, mixing, having, spilling and pouring out drinks.
  3. In O. Laing’s book The Trip to Echo Spring she mentions
  4. that “Hemingway, who’d been drunk since he was fifteen
  5. …had put more faith in rum than conversation.” (pg 92)
  6. Hemingway used alcohol to
  7. …blot out feelings that are otherwise unbearable.
  8. ”A bottle of wine was good company” (pg 236)
  9. Drinking reflects the characters attitude.
  10. Brett drinks for psychological/physical pleasure.
  11. The Count is a connoisseur.
  12. Brett:  “Let’s enjoy a little more of this,”
  13. Brett pushed her glass forward (pg 66)
  14. Count: The count poured very carefully.
  15. “There, my dear. Now you enjoy that slowly,
  16. and then you can get drunk (pg 66)


Hemingway code:

  1. Bullfighting fascinates Hemingway.
  2. He describes in great detail Pedro Romero’s
  3. …killing of the bull.
  4. He faces danger with understanding and dignity
  5. …undaunted, grace under pressure.
  6. FEELINGS fascinate Hemingway.
  7. Everyone in that time had feelings, as they called them,
  8. just as everyone has “feelings” now.
  9. Whether Jake leaned in a cab against Georgette or
  10. leaned in a cab against Brett
  11. ….Hemingway was searching where his feelings lay!
  12. Georgette?  Brett?


Last thoughts:

  1. This book is considered a classic.
  2. The book didn’t interest me as a whole.
  3. Others may swear by it and Hemingway
  4. …but I just like The Old Man and the Sea. 🙂
  5. Advice: the book should be read
  6. …so you can form an opinion about it.
  7. It is on Modern Library’s Best 100 Novels List.
  8. Perhaps they  could have selected a book written
  9. later in Hemingway’s life….his writing matured.
  10. I can agree with Hemingway……just once!
  11. You´re always drinking my dear.
  12. Why don´t you just talk?” (pg 65)
  13. The Lost Generation–living in Paris during the 1920s
  14. …was lost on me.
  15. Finished: 11.07.2018
  16. Genre: novel
  17. Rating: D
  18. Conclusion:
    I think I’m done with Hemingway.
    I don’t care if he won the Nobel Prize or not!
    There are better classics waiting to be read.



#Poetry Seamus Heaney

  • Author: H. Vendler
  • Title: Seamus Heaney
  • Published: 1998



  • Trivia: Seamus Heaney  died following a short illness
  • on August 30, 2013 at the age of 74.
  • Heaney’s last words were in a text to his wife Marie were:
  • “Noli timere“, which means “Do not be afraid.



  1. It took me a week to read this
  2. excellent overview of Seamus Heaney’s poems by
  3. American literary critic Helen  Vendler.
  4. I could only manage 1 chapter day.
  5. There was so much to learn.
  6. so much detail…that my mind
  7. could absorb no more after 3 hours of reading.


Ch 1:   Death of a Naturalist (1966)  Door Into the Dark (1969)  Wintering Out (1972)

  1. Early poems rooted in the Irish landscape.
  2. Heaney’s  pastoral poems were not always idyllic.
  3. Midterm Break was heartbreaking
  4. ….about the death of his 4 yr brother.
  5. And of course Digging is one of his most famous poems.
  6. Heaney wanted to measure the pen against the sword
  7. “Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests; snug as a gun”.
  8. Summer Home is a marriage-poem.
  9. It is a chilling account of a quarrel finally mended.
  10. But one of my favorites is ….Sunlight.
  11. I get ‘goosebumps’ when I read it.
  12. This is memorial to the central figure Aunt Mary.
  13. It is a warm, nostalgic rural sturdy.
  14. I can see my mother with her floured hands, whitend nails
  15. …rubbing her hand s  on her apron while she taught me how to make an apple pie.
  16. I imagine ‘honeyed water’ in a bucket warmed by the sun.
  17. Heaney truly brings you into a poetic state
  18. …dreaming while you are awake!

Ch 2:   North   (1975)

  1. This collection was the first that
  2. …dealt about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
  3. Heaney looks frequently to the past for images and
  4. …symbols relevant to the violence and political unrest.
  5. The Bog poems are a symbolic representation of history.
  6. The poem should sound like the subject.
  7. Heaney tried to  pull language as close as possible to the thing itself
  8. — so that a bog poem sounded boggy or a
  9. — Viking ship poem sounded lithe.


Ch 3:  Station Island (1984)

  1. The title  refers to Station Island also known as
  2. St. Patrick’s Purgatory Co. Donegal.
  3. It is a site of Christian pilgrimage for many centuries.
  4. In this long Dantesque fiction of the poem the ghosts of Heaney’s past come
  5. crowding thick and fast around him in twelve episodes.
  6. One of my favorites poems in this collection is:
  7. The Old Icons – Heaney  contemplates old pictures he
  8. …cannot bear to throw away.
  9. ” Why when it was all over, did I hold on to them?”
  10. SH cannot throw them out because they are NOT outdated.
  11. Everything has altered but nothing has changed.
  12. There will always be a  huddled Catholic minority, a patriot and traitor.


Ch 3:   Field Work (1979)

  1. Field Work is a record of Heaney’s four years (1972-1976)
  2. …living in rural County Wicklow in the
  3. …Republic of Ireland after leaving the violence of The Troubles.
  4. Field work is less political.
  5. 50% elegies (deliberate choice to remain on the everyday level)
  6. 50% domestic life with his wife (love poems)  and friends.
  7. Heaney calls it the ‘music of what happens’.
  8. “It was still a proof that I could write poetry in my new situation.” (S. Heaney)


Ch 4:     Alter Egos 

  1. Alter-egos are people Heaney…might have become.
  2. These alter-egos were agriculturally timeless ones,
  3. …single artisans, seed-cutters, the thatcher, blacksmith and …the digger.
  4. Station Island is a long autobiographical poem-of-alter-egos.


Ch 5:   The Haw Lantern (1987)

  1. Between 1984-1987 both parents died
  2. ….this caused a tear in the fabric of Heaney’s verse.
  3. Emptiness had replaced reality.
  4. The Haw Lantern is an intellectual volume.
  5. It ponders, values, chooses, judges and
  6. …examines the poet’s tendency to ‘second thoughts’.
  7. The title of the collection refers to the haw fruit.
  8. The fruit is an important symbol of defiance against winter
  9. It is a a symbol of the dignity of the Northern Irish in the face of violence and trouble.
  10. The image of the lantern is a reference to the traditional account of
  11. …philosopher Diogenes of Sinope.
  12. According to the story, Diogenes carried a lantern
  13. …through the streets in search of an honest man in the light.


Ch 6:  Seeing Things (1991)

  1. What does the world look like seen through the eyes 
  2. …approaching  death?
  3. It erases senses and memory alike.
  4. Such a given entails and an alteration of style.
  5. These poems did not have the rich sensuality of Death of a Naturalist
  6. These poems did not have historicized thickness of the bog poems in North
  7. …or folk-quality of The Haw Lantern
  8. But rather the Shaker simplicity.
  9. Heaney uses the higher senses of sight and hearing
  10. …to make contact with objects without touching them.

Ch 7:   The Spirit Level (1996)

  1. Heaney’s  poetry in The Spirit Level is social.
  2. It is connected to the possibilities of hope, trust and mutual help.
  3. The Spirit Level  looks into sustaining of life in an Afterwards.
  4. The poems are grounded in the doings of every day:
  5. — the poet as a child and his siblings are playing ‘train’ on the sofa,
  6. — Caedmon is a hardworking yardman,
  7. — Heaney’s mother ‘steeping her swollen feet’,
  8. — a blind neighbour, childhood playmate Rosie Keenan playing the piano,
  9. — Mary Heaney’ father after the death of his wife,
  10. becoming more and more adventurous  as he
  11. ‘took out the power mower in his stride
  12. / Flirted and vaunted…/ Learned to microwave.’
  13. Stoicism is the virture of old age, when one’s progress is a best horizontal.
  14. It is a matter of living with and within the choices one has made
  15. ….like the old couple in A Walk.
  16. Two sonnets: first about parental devotion in a pastoral landscape
  17. second about Heaney’s married relationship that has lasted more than three decades.



  1. Helen Vendler is not  easy to read.
  2. She is an important literary scholar
  3. …and her vocabulary is challenging.
  4. But this book was worth every minute I spent reading it
  5. Every minute.
  6. It is the first book I’ve read about
  7. …the changes in a poet’s writing through the years.
  8. Heaney started as an anonymous narrator in his early collections.
  9. He became political  because of
  10. …his experiences during The Troubles.
  11. Later he turned to the everyday-ness of life.
  12. As he says…the music of what happens.
  13. As the American poet Christian Wiman said in his essay
  14. Take Love (Poetry Ireland Review, 27 September 2104):
  15. Seamus Heaney   “…could take the edge of existence and
  16. give it actual edges.
  17. He could bring the cosmic into commonplace.
  18. #MustRead



St. Joan


  • Author: G.B. Shaw
  • Title: St. Joan (1412-1431)
  • Produced : 29 March 1924,  New Theatre London
  • Three-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad will take on the title role.
  • Shaw  wrote the play when he was 70 years old.
  • The title role had been written with Sybille Thorndike specifically in mind.
  • Trivia: Nobles Challenge
  • Trivia: Shaw was awarded the  Nobel Prize for Litrature 1925
  • Trivia: This play helped Shaw  win Nobel Prize for Literature 1925
  • Trivia: St Joan will open on Broadway on the 25th of April 2018.
  • Trivia:  Monthly planning 2018


  1. St. Joan
  2. Robert de Baudricourt  (local squire where Joan lives)
  3. Richard de Beauchamp (Machiavellian English Earl of Warwick)
  4. Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, tried to find Joan a loophole in the Inquisition.
  5. John De Stogumber is Warwick’s chaplain (religious fanatic).
  6. Dauphin, Charles (heir to the throne)
  7. Archbishop of Rheims
  8. Dunois, Commander of the French troops at Orleans
  9. ..and God and France are also major players in this play



  1. We all know the plot:  (1 act with 7 scenes)
  2. Joan of Arc, claiming to have been told directly by God to
  3. flush the English out of northern France.
  4. She was granted control of the French army in 1429.
  5. She went on to break the siege of Orléans, only to be captured by the English.
  6. In the end she was tried for heresy and burnt at the stake.
  7. Timeline: 
  8. scenes  1-5 (February – July 1429);
  9. scene  6 (May 1431, trial and burning at the stake)
  10. scene 7 (25 years later…1456) epilogue



  1. This is a tragedy …with comic moments.
  2. Shaw’s  melancholy attitude in part the result of his reaction to WWI.
  3. It took the Church of Rome nearly 500 years
  4. ….to decide whether she was a heretic or a saint.
  5. It took the Church of Rome only 30 minutes to burn her!
  6. Shaw wrote the play 3 years after St. Joan’s canonization.
  7. The play contains some of the playwright’s most acerbic writing.
  8. Strong point: Girl power
  9. the role of Saint Joan is …considered the actress’s equivalent of Hamlet
  10. It is not an easy role.
  11. Joan gushes sentimentality and melodrama yet she must…
  12. make Joan believable with her passion for both soldiering and religion.
  13. Strong point: epilogue
  14. This is THE most powerful part of the play….magnificent!
  15. #MustReadClassic …once in your lifetime!
  16. I read the play  (free online)
  17. and listened to an audio version.
  18. I highly recommend St. Joan with Siobhan McKenna.
  19. It is available at


Last thoughts:

  1. I was surprised to learn that Shaw made specific notes about the play.
  2. He did NOT want it to be preformed in a medieval setting!
  3. On opening night…..faced with medieval stage decor, Shaw said:
  4. “They’ve killed my play.”
  5. National Theatre London broadcast on 16th February 2017 
  6. St. Joan with Gemma Arterton  live from the Donmar Warehouse.
  7. Here is a short trailer just to give you an impression.
  8. I hope this performance will be available on DVD soon.







Lord of the Flies



  1. This is not a story that is scary because of plot twists or original characters.
  2. It is scary because it will frighten anyone in the deepest way to see
  3. what happens when man loses his sense of  civility.
  4. The plot is simple.
  5. School boys crash land on a remote island with no adults.
  6. The boys set up their own government, with Ralph in charge.
  7. But things start to fall apart very quickly.
  8. The book it provokes fear on a most basic level.


What was the  inspiration for the book ?

  1. Golding was tremendously affected by the WW II.
  2. The war had done something to him.
  3. Golding was involved as a marine officer.
  4. He was aboard the destroyer chasing the German battleship Bismarck.
  5. …he participated in the Normandy invasion.
  6. In Lord of the Flies  Golding had shown
  7. …how cruel authorities are able to act.
  8. There are always people who follow them,
  9. …nevertheless, obediently.
  10. Examples: Hitler in  Germany — Stalin in  Russia


What are the reasons for its enduring legacy ?

  1. We are still fascinated by the central theme of the book:
  2. intelligence (Ralph, democratic leader) VS
  3. irrationality (Jack, totalitarian leader)
  4. The conch and Piggy´s glasses …become damaged.
  5. They are the symbols of the collapse of a democratic society.


Last thoughts:

  1. I read Lord of the Flies in high-school
  2. During this re-reading  I finally understood  the allegory.
  3. It has to do with my own development.
  4. I now understand more about
  5. …the ‘powers that be’  who ruled (rule) the world.
  6. #Classic