Eve Tempted — John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

the-temptation-of-eve

Eve Tempted  by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829–1908)

Advertisements

The Achievements of Capitalism (Donald Barthelme)

The Achievements of Capitalism:

  1. The curtain wall
  2. Artificial rain
  3. Rockefeller Center
  4. Canals
  5. Mystification

From “The Rise of Capitalism” by Donald Barthelme, which you can read in full here. (Or in Sixty Stories, a perfect book).

Falsehood — Giovanni Bellini

137alle2

Falsehood (or Wisdom) from Four Allegories, c. 1490 by Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430-1516)

Memory of Past Fragrments — Leonor Fini

Mémoire Des Fragments Passés (Memory of Past Fragments), 1984 by Leonor Fini (1908-1996)

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music”

Breakfast Piece — Herbert Badham

6381##S

Breakfast Piece, 1936 by Herbert Badham (1899-1961)

Claudio and Isabella — William Holman Hunt

Screenshot 2017-05-22 at 8.17.10 PMScreenshot 2017-05-22 at 8.17.40 PMgp01a201312081800

Claudio and Isabella, 1850 by William Holman Hunt (1827–1910)

From William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Act 3, Scene 1:

ISABELLA

Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

CLAUDIO

Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin,
Or of the deadly seven, it is the least.

ISABELLA

Which is the least?

CLAUDIO

If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fined? O Isabel!

ISABELLA

What says my brother?

CLAUDIO

Death is a fearful thing.

ISABELLA

And shamed life a hateful.

CLAUDIO

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

Army of Shadows (Book acquired 16 May 2017)

img_6205-1

I first saw Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 film Army of Shadows about a decade ago, when a friend brought over the Criterion Collection release and insisted we watch it. I watched it again with my uncle, a fan of French cinema and  WWII films in general (and the guy who made me watch both Paths of Glory and Belle de Jour when I was like 14).

Anyway, Contra Mundum is releasing a new translation of Joseph Kessel’s 1943 novel Army of Shadows, which Melville based his film on. The translation is by Rainer J. Hanshe. (I recently talked to Rainer about his translation of Baudelaire’s notebook My Heart Laid Bare).

Here’s Contra Mundum’s blurb:

Originally published in Algiers in 1943, Joseph Kessel’s Army of Shadows is one of the first books to have been written about the French Resistance. Now available in paperback, Contra Mundum Press is proud to present the first new translation in over 70 years, and the first edition since Jean-Pierre Melville’s iconic 1969 film.“What, then, when it comes to recounting the story of France, an obscure, secret France, which is new to its friends, its enemies, and new especially to itself? France no longer has bread, wine, fire. But mainly it no longer has any laws. Civil disobedience, individual or organized rebellion, have become duties to the fatherland. The national hero is the clandestine man, the outlaw.

Nothing about the order imposed by the enemy and by the Marshal is valid. Nothing counts. Nothing is true any more.

 

One changes home, name, every day. Officials and police officers are helping insurgents. One finds accomplices even in ministries. Prisons, getaways, tortures, bombings, scuffles. One dies and kills as if it’s natural. France lives, bleeds, in all its depths. It is toward the shadow that its true and unknown face is turned.In the catacombs of revolt, people create their own light and find their own law. Never has France waged a nobler and more beautiful war than in the basements where it prints its free newspapers, in its nocturnal lands, and in its secret coves where it received its free friends and from where its children set out, in torture cells where, despite tongs, red-hot pins, and crushed bones, the French died as free men.”

Meanwhile.

20140719-140243-50563063.jpg

All the pie and coffee in Twin Peaks

Sunday Comics

img_6219

Today’s Sunday Comics entry is a page from Chris Ware’s magnificent 2012 novel Building Stories (Pantheon Books).

Screenshot 2017-05-21 at 10.56.25 AM

I had occasion to look through Building Stories again this week. I had to paint a room, which required moving books from shelves, which meant unshelving Building Stories, which unwieldy beast that it is, has been covered in other books for a few years. Building Stories takes the form of 14 different sized books in a box—it’s pretty hard to shelve in any accessible way, which is a shame (but also a pleasure). Ware’s opus seems to me one of the best American novels of the past decade, but I think its greatness tends to get overlooked because a) people are still prejudiced against comics and b) it challenges all the “reading rules” we bring with us to novels—there’s not a “right way” to read the novel. You have to put it together your self, in a sense. Anyway, for me the page above, which is the last page of the chapter called “Disconnect,” is the “conclusion” of the novel, a sort of metacommentary epilogue that (somehow) ties the narrative threads together in a moving and satisfying “end.”

Screenshot 2017-05-21 at 10.57.19 AM

Twin Peaks postcards by Paul Willoughby

willoughby-audrey willoughby-donna willoughby-jocelyn willoughby-laura

From the Twin Peaks 20th Anniversary Art Exhibition.

Poisoned Well with Chimera — Jacek Malczewski

poisoned-well-chimera

Zatruta studnia z chimerą (Poisoned Well with Chimera), 1905 by Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929)

Penitent St. Jerome — Albrecht Altdorfer

penitent-st-jerome-1507Screenshot 2017-05-19 at 8.20.42 AMScreenshot 2017-05-19 at 8.20.27 AMScreenshot 2017-05-19 at 8.20.13 AM

Büssender Hl. Hieronymus (Penitent St. Jerome), 1507 by Albrecht Altdorfer (c. 1480-1538)

Words may be a thick and darksome veil | Nathaniel Hawthorne’s journal entry for May 19th, 1840

May 19th.–. . . Lights and shadows are continually flitting across my inward sky, and I know neither whence they come nor whither they go; nor do I inquire too closely into them. It is dangerous to look too minutely into such phenomena. It is apt to create a substance where at first there was a mere shadow. . . . If at any time there should seem to be an expression unintelligible from one soul to another, it is best not to strive to interpret it in earthly language, but wait for the soul to make itself understood; and, were we to wait a thousand years, we need deem it no more time than we can spare. . . . It is not that I have any love of mystery, but because I abhor it, and because I have often felt that words may be a thick and darksome veil of mystery between the soul and the truth which it seeks. Wretched were we, indeed, if we had no better means of communicating ourselves, no fairer garb in which to array our essential being, than these poor rags and tatters of Babel. Yet words are not without their use even for purposes of explanation,–but merely for explaining outward acts and all sorts of external things, leaving the soul’s life and action to explain itself in its own way.

What a misty disquisition I have scribbled! I would not read it over for sixpence.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s journal entry for May 19th, 1840. From Passages from the American Note-Books.

Portrait of Edith Schiele, the Artist’s Wife — Egon Schiele

Portrait-of-Edith-Schiele-in-a-Striped-Dress

Portrait of Edith Schiele, the Artist’s Wife, 1915 by Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Strawberries — Octav Bancila

c-p-uni-1906

Strawberries, 1906 by Octav Bancila (1872-1944)