Booklist update

Just a quick note that my “Reading in German Booklist” Page has been updated.

 Scene from the 1945 film version of, And Then There Were None

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 8:43 am  Comments (9)  
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Pre-Raphaelites: Truth to Nature

  Bocca Baciata by Rossetti (model: Fanny Cornforth)

 William Hunt’s, Awakening Conscience


  Millais, Eve of St. Agnes

In 1848, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  By autumn, they were joined by William Michael Rossetti, Thomas Woolner, James Collinson, and Frederic George Stephens.  Believing that the  methods taught by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of The English Royal Academy of Arts, were too formulaic and frivilous, they wished to return art to the lofty “truth to nature.”  They turned their attentions away from Raphael (whose work they considered too theatrical) and back to the artists who came before him- appreciating the more simplistic, yet detail-riched,  and vibrant colors of  the past.

They declared their main goals were:

  • To have genuine ideas to express;
  • To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
  • To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote;
  • And, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.
  •   Rossetti’s, Lady Lilith

     Rossetti’s, Damozel


      Rossetti’s, Bower Meadow

    The Pre-Raphaelitess were also influenced by Romanticism which emphasized that individual freedom and responsibility were inseparable, and  aimed to only paint earnest subjects.   Their style was remarkably focused as they insisted on painting from direct observation.  Therefore, while many of their subjects came from poetry, legends, and plays, they were drawn in an intensely realistic manner. 

    The painters went through great lengths to achieve this photographic realism.  (as did their models)  One famous example of this is the painting, Ophelia, by Millais.  For four months, he painted the wildflowers and vegetation on one exact spot  in Surrey, England.  He then returned to London to paint his model, Elizabeth Siddal, posing in a bath full of water,  to capture the doomed woman’s demise as accurately as possible.

    In 1872,  Dante Rossetti also used Siddal  in his painting, Beata Beatrix.  In it, he depicted Elizabeth as the Beatrice of Dante Alighieri’s poem, La Vita Nuova, at her moment of death.   Dante Rossetti had to paint Elizabeth Siddal from old drawings he had of her.   For his favorite  model (and his wife) had been dead, herself, for ten years.

    Quotes from the Romantics

     Friedrich, “Wanderer Above the Mists”

    1.  “A cheerful life is what the Muses love, A soaring spirit is their prime delight. ” – William Wordsworth

    2. “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. “- Wordsworth

    3.”Faith is a passionate intuition. “- Wordsworth

    4. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”- Wordsworth 

    5.  “Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.”- Wordsworth

    6. “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. “- Wordsworth

    7.  “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”- Wordsworth

    8. “That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”

    9.  “To begin, begin.”- Wordsworth

    10.  “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. “- Keats

    11.  “He ne’er is crowned with immortality Who fears to follow where airy voices lead. “- Keats

    12.  “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.”- Keats

    13. “It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.”- Keats

    14. “Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance. ”

    15.  “Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works. ”

    16.  “You speak of Lord Byron and me; there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.”- Keats

    17.  “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. “- William Blake

    18.  “Active Evil is better than Passive Good. “- Blake

    19.  “As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.”- Blake

    20. “Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction.”- Blake

    21. “Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.”- Blake

    22.  “For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.”- Blake

    23. “Great things are done when men and mountains meet. “- Blake

    24.  “I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create. “- Blake

    25.  “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”- Blake

    26.  ” If a thing loves, it is infinite. “- Blake

    27.  “Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. “- Blake

    28.  “In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”- Blake

    29- “The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: the bad artist seems to copy a great deal; the good one really does. “- Blake

    30.  “The soul of sweet delight, can never be defiled.”- Blake

    31.  ” The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. “- Blake

    32.  “Those who restrain their desires, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. “- Blake

    33.  “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. “- Blake

    34.  “What is now proved was once only imagined.”- Blake

    35.  “If I could always read, I should never feel the want of company.”- Byron

    36.   “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”- Byron

    37.  ” In solitude, where we are least alone. “- Byron

    38. “The ‘good old times’ – all times when old are good. “- Byron

    39.  “The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.”- Byron

    40.  ” Truth is always strange, stranger than fiction. “- Byron

    41.  “To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all. “- Byron

    42.  “A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. “- Percy Shelley

    43.  “Death is the veil which those who live call life; They sleep, and it is lifted.”- Shelley

    44.   “Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.”- Shelley

    45.   “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. “- Shelley

    46.”The pleasure that is in sorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself. “- Shelley

    47.  “The soul’s joy lies in doing.”- Shelley

     “Funeral of Shelley” by Fournier

    Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Comments (14)  
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    Maria Bronte: The Spirit of the Brontes

    In 1820, after his wife succumbed to cancer, Patrick Bronte was left with the responsibility of raising six children on his own:  Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne.  Although Patrick’s spinster sister-in-law came to the parsonage in Haworth to care for the children, they turned to  Maria for guidance and maternal affection.

    Thus, at seven years-old, Maria became a mother to her brother and sisters.  She entertained them by reading to them from daily newspapers and creating games for them to play together.  From the beginning, Patrick had declared his eldest child the most gifted one of them all.  He stated she possessed, “a heart under Divine Influence.”  Named after her mother, the young girl had a “powerful, intellectual mind.”  He further stated that even at her young age, he could, “converse with Maria on any of the leading topics of the day as freely,  and with as much pleasure, as with any adult.”

    Worried about his daughters’ formal education, and unable to afford one of the better schools in the area, Patrick thought he’d discovered the perfect solution when the Clergy Daughters’ School opened at Cowan Bridge in 1823.   He sent Maria and Elizabeth there on July 21, 1824.  Charlotte followed six weeks later, and Emily, the following autumn.   However, the school conditions were harsh and unsanitary.  Maria  returned home in February 1825 after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Elizabeth followed on May 31st.  A few days later, Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily.  While his youngest daughters had fortunately not fallen ill, it proved too late for his two eldest.  Maria died on May 6th, and Elizabeth fell soon after.

    Of the quiet Elizabeth, not much is known.  But the death of Maria would haunt the rest of the family for the rest of their lives.  Branwell and Charlotte, were affected most of all.   Family servant, Sarah Garrs, reported that Branwell wrote morbid poetry about Maria for years after her death.   Branwell, himself, often claimed that he heard Maria wailing outside his window at night.    This apparition may have inspired Emily when she later wrote of Cathy’s spirit tapping on Lockwood’s window in Wuthering Heights:  “Let me in!  Let me in!…It’s twenty years, twenty years…I’ve been a waif for twenty years.”

    Charlotte immortalized her eldest sister in the character of Helen Burns, the pious girl who Jane Eyre befriends.   After some critics complained that Helen was too sweet, too good to be true, Charlotte wrote, “…she was real enough.  I have exaggerated nothing there.”

    In the Life of Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell described one of the incidents that Maria had suffered through at Cowen:  “The dormitory in which Maria slept was a long room, holding a row of narrow little beds on each side, occupied by the pupils, and at the end of this dormitory there was a small bed-chamber  opening out of it, appropriated to the use of Miss Scatcherd.  Maria’s bed stood nearest to this door of this room.  One morning, after she had become so seriously unwell ….poor Maria moaned out that she was so ill, so very ill, she wished she might stop in bed; and some of the girls urged her to do so, and said they would explain it all to Miss Temple, the superintendant.  But Miss Scatchered was close at hand, and her anger would have to be faced before Miss Temple’s kind thoughtfulness could interfere; so the sick child began to dress, shivering with cold, as, without leaving her bed, she slowly put on her black worsted stockings over her thin white legs.  Just then Miss Scatcherd issued from her room, and, without asking a word of explanation from the sick and frightened girl, she took her by the arm…and by one vigorous movement whirled her out into the middle of the floor, abusing her all the time for dirty and untidy habits.  There she left her.  …Maria hardly spoke, except to beg some of the more indignant girls to be calm; but, in slow, trembling movements, with many a pause, she went down stairs at last- and was punished for being late.”

    Charlotte wrote in Jane Eyre: “…I saw the girl with whom I had conversed in the verandah dismissed in disgrace by Miss Scatchered, from a history class, and sent to stand in the middle of the large school-room.  The punishment seemed to me in a high degree ignominous, especially for so great a girl- she looked thirteen or upwards.  I expected she would show signs of great distress and shame; but to my surprise, she neither wept nor blushed: composed, though grave, she stood, the central mark of all eyes.”

    Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm  Comments (26)  
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    Plans for a Victorian in the New Year


    So, it’s the new year.  A new decade, okay not technically a new decade, but it still begs the question:  what is a half-luddite, Victorian-obsessed gal doing in the year 2010?   Since I have lots of other things to do today, I won’t even attempt to try to answer that.

    Regarding the new year, I’ve never been one for resolutions.   Kelly over at Mysterious Musings recently wrote about concentrating on progress rather than goals.   That is something I strongly agree with, as too many people who make firm goals tend to criticize themselves too harshly at the end of the year if they weren’t able to achieve said goal, rather than looking at how far they may have come.  This does not mean that I think having goals is a bad thing.  Certainly not.   Just don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t accomplish the goal in its entirety.   If you strove and made progress, that counts for a lot.

     So I’ve simply been musing on things I want to work on.  It comes down to continuing growing as a writer, and improving my German.

    So, the plan is:

    1. continue  daily writing on my WIP

    2. Along with my normal studies, read twelve novels in German to increase my reading comprehension.  I’ll be making a page highlighting which books I’m reading in that language.   Surely of little interest to anyone else, but it will be there if you do happen to be curious, or well, just bored or procrastinating.

    There it is.  Nothing fancy.  Really nothing I’m not already doing.  (except increasing the quantity of my German reading).   But it’s all about continued progress, learning, and growth.

    And, lest I  forget:

    3. Find Sput a hobby so she gets over this rather peculiar obsession with regaling me non-stop about the wonders of her city.  (not that it bothers me, I just worry about the poor dear)

    Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm  Comments (19)  
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