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Month: February 2009

Under the Weather

Under the Weather

 

Storm in the Rockies, by Albert Bierstadt. 1866
Storm in the Rockies, by Albert Bierstadt. 1866

We have some new fiction on tap, by Nels Hanson: In Pace Requiescat. Persectivalism, elective affinities and religious sensibilities. What is a hero? Why do some of us view the same people in such radically different ways? Your comments about the story are welcome.

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I’ve been a part of the flu crew for more than a week now. Still can’t kick it. It’s a strange time, and brings on feelings of pure selfishness and self-pity unlike few other states. Being sick also seems to create infinite loops and obsessions while caught between sleep and wakefulness.… |To be Continued “Under the Weather”

Nels Hanson: The Case of the Anti-hero

Nels Hanson: The Case of the Anti-hero

In Pace Requiescat


And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

—W.B. Yeats
 
To Poe’s so acute, so prophetic meditation of 150 years ago—that the truly extraordinary mind or spirit would necessarily find itself isolated, hated, and misunderstood by the society in which it appeared, and, especially, that news of the eminently great should not be sought in biographies but in “the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows”—the life of Joseph Clifton Case bears haunting testimony.

In all of recorded history, who but Case so intimately sensed the dread duality of all things, and so personally suffered this jarring collision of opposites, with less rancor or self-pity, less sorrow or hope?… |To be Continued “Nels Hanson: The Case of the Anti-hero”

Rilke’s Revolutionary Notebooks

Rilke’s Revolutionary Notebooks

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainer Maria Rilke. 1910
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainer Maria Rilke. 1910

Rilke’s one and only novel is a mysterious, beautifully written, baffling modernist stew. Reading it for the third time, I was struck again by its yearning and incompleteness, its meditative and incantatory qualities, and the sense it gives us of loneliness and despair, without removing hope and the potential for redemption.

The protagonist is a struggling young poet, living in Paris, poverty stricken, seemingly quite alone. He is neither successful at his craft, nor completely defeated. Rilke presents Malte in the present, lets him take us back in time into his childhood, and also much further back, into the Middle Ages.… |To be Continued “Rilke’s Revolutionary Notebooks”

The Mystery of the Rose

The Mystery of the Rose

Mysteries, by Knut Hamsun. 1892
Mysteries, by Knut Hamsun. 1892

Okay. So, yes. The title of my blog post is a bit misleading, if not melodramatic. It’s a bald attempt to merge two new additions to Spinozablue — by Alexis Wingate and George Spencer, respectively. Here and here. Alexis brings us a provocative essay on Knut Hamsun’s novel, Mysteries, and George gives us his unique improvisation from a line of Barbara Guest’s poetry.

But there is a precedent for that merger. Women and roses have been connected for millennia, in obvious and covert ways. Mysterious ways. Wild, secret, deep under the surface ways. Secret societies used The Rose as a multi-faceted symbol for woman, growth, love, birth, beauty, the unfolding of life, surprise, shock and awe.… |To be Continued “The Mystery of the Rose”

Hamsun's Mysteries

Hamsun's Mysteries

Alexis Wingate — The Mystery of Mysteries


To dissect Knut Hamsun’s Mysteries as one would an ordinary novel is impossible. This is a book in which nothing is quite as it seems to be, and the more closely the reader examines it or tries to make sense of it, the more inexplicable it becomes. At the core of the story is Johan Nagel, easily one of the most enigmatic characters in literary history. His arrival in a small Norwegian town in 1891, with no visible aim or purpose, is the first piece in a puzzle that doesn’t ever quite fit together.… |To be Continued “Hamsun's Mysteries”

George Spencer's The Guesting Rose

George Spencer's The Guesting Rose

A Line from Barbara Guest’s Roses


That air in life is important but may be less so in the arts interests me. But we are 60% water and worth $28.49 in bone, fat and chemicals so should we focus more on water and $’s and less on air. But you may respond the atmosphere that encases us is all air but this is not completely true since there is pollution and those little filaments we see when light shafts float into a room and illuminate the air. Then we see what we think is truly there. Of course this ignores the question of the further reaches of space where air may be solid and water may be a gas.… |To be Continued “George Spencer's The Guesting Rose”

Charles the Liberator

Charles the Liberator

Charles Darwin. 1880
Charles Darwin. 1880

Much has been made recently of the fact that Lincoln and Darwin share a birthday. Two hundred years ago, this past Thursday. A new book talks about another thing they share. Their hatred of slavery. It sounds like a great read. Here’s a short excerpt from the introduction:

 

 

Darwin’s Sacred Cause
How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution
By Adrian Desmond & James Moore
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 448 pp. $30
Feb. 15, 2008
Introduction

How did a modest member of Victorian England’s minor gentry become a twenty-first-century icon? Celebrities today are famous for being famous, but Darwin’s defenders have a different explanation.

|To be Continued “Charles the Liberator”
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