When I write I disturb. When I make a film I disturb. When I paint I disturb. When I exhibit my paintings I disturb, and I disturb if I don’t. I have a knack for disturbing. (Jean Cocteau, Diary of an Unknown)
On the 11th of October 1963, a French poet, novelist, designer, playwright, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau died in his country house in Milly-la-Forêt, France. The multi-talented dandy …
Source: Piaf and Cocteau: Les Enfants Terribles | A R T L▼R K
Josephine Baker in Paris, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (right). © ESTATE OF BEAUFORD DELANEY BY PERMISSION OF DEREK L. SPRATLEY, ESQUIRE, COURT APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR, COURTESY OF MICHAEL ROSENFELD GALLERY LLC, NEW YORK, NY; PUBLIC DOMAIN
MONIQUE WELLS MOVED FROM TEXAS to Paris in 1992 for a job, and she ended up staying indefinitely. Like generations of Americans before her, Wells and her husband fell in love with the City of Light. But since she went there as a veterinary pathologist, and not as a tourist, it was years before she asked herself where she’d go if she only had a few days in Paris.
Then Wells and her husband, Tom, started a company that created custom travel itineraries. Travelers would…
Source: The Hidden Histories of Black Americans in Paris – Atlas Obscura
A thread has recently blown up on Reddit which asked the question: Germans, Japanese, and Italians of Reddit, What did you learn about WW2 in School? The questioner was specific to the axis countri…
Source: How WWII is Taught Across Europe (and Japan).
Dick Turpin (1705-1739) is perhaps the most famous highwayman in English history after Robin Hood (fl. 12th-13th centuries). He is remembered today as a heavily romanticised noble, gallant figure, having allegedly rode his horse from London to York in one day upon his trusty horse, Black Bess, the real Dick Turpin, as you would expect, was a wholly different man. This post gives a brief overview of his life and the legend which grew around him.
Dick Turpin was born in East Ham, in Essex, and received quite a good education, learning how to read and write. It was this good education which, as we will see, proved to be his ultimate downfall. At a young age he was apprenticed to a…
Source: Dick Turpin (1705-1739)
According to Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg was one of the three poets of significance who died during the First World War. Although his reputation has been overshadowed by Wilfred Owen (who died in 1918, the same year as Rosenberg), he was an important voice during WWI, as his short poem ‘The Troop Ship’ demonstrates. Here is the poem, followed by a brief analysis of its features.
The Troop Ship
Grotesque and queerly huddled
Contortionists to twist…
Source: A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature
Source: Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository.
The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics was a monthly periodical that was published from 1809 to 1829 by Rudolph Ackermann. It is often referred to as Ackermann’s Repository of Arts or simply Ackermann’s Repository.
As its full name suggests, Ackermann’s Repository was not just a fashion periodical but covered a wide range of subjects within its pages. The magazine included travel writing and poetry, comments on the arts and details of new publications, society reports, forthcoming lectures and musical reviews. It also included more serious material – a ‘retrospect of politics’, reports on law, medicine and agriculture, a meteorological journal and details of the London markets.
The Repository was quite an expensive magazine – in 1817 its cover price was 4s which is equivalent to about £11 in 2010 (1).
Cultivating a taste for the arts
In the first issue, published for January 1809, Ackermann included an ‘introduction to…
Source: Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository.
Source: Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)
Jack Sheppard (1702-1724) is one of my favourite thieves, second only, in my opinion, to Robin Hood. He was rather like an eighteenth-century Artful Dodger, a proper cheeky chappie who thumbed his nose at authority, escaping from gaol no less than four times. This post gives a brief overview of his life and legend.
Jack Sheppard was born in Stepney, London in 1702. His father died when he was young, and Sheppard was placed into the care of the Parish Workhouse, where he remained for some time before being apprenticed to a carpenter named Mr. Wood, of Wych Street near Drury Lane. Contemporary accounts such as The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard (1724), the authorship of which has been credited to Daniel Defoe, tell us that Sheppard was in his early years a perfect apprentice.
Sheppard’s downfall into criminal ways, however, seems to be traced to the time…
Source: Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)
So committed to historical accuracy were Alexander Smith and Charles Johnson that in their respective History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1714) and Lives and Exploits of the Most Noted Highwaymen (1734) they give us the life of Sir John Falstaff.
Falstaff lived, we are told by Smith and Johnson, during the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V. Being born of no great or distinguished parentage, they tell us that Falstaff took to the road with three accomplices to support his extravagant lifestyle. He was a very fat man, and his nicknames were:
– Ton of Man (a pun on the Biblical term ‘Son of Man’)
– Sack and Sugar
– Fat-Kidneyed Rascal
Apparently Henry IV, who Smith tells us took to life upon the road for a short while, said to him:
You are so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches in the afternoon.
He was also a womaniser, and could often be found in the lowest bawdy houses of London, according to Capt. Charles Johnson.
Then came the wars of the roses, we are told by Smith and Johnson, and as a consequence of his acquaintance and friendship with King Henry, Falstaff received a commission to serve as a…
Source: Sir John Falstaff, the Notorious Highwayman – Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood…
Originally posted on Spitalfields Life.
The ‘Cockney’ – that is the born East Ender – has long since been a regular figure in fiction. Originally, in appearances from Jacobean plays to mid-nineteenth century sporting fiction, the type was not working-class. It was the geography not the sociology that mattered. Wealthy merchants were still Cockneys and revelled in the name.
The East End of modernity, which (at least until recently) meant primarily poverty, is a mid-nineteenth century invention. Its citizens emerge, struggling and insecure, via the pages of Henry Mayhew’s pioneering sociological study, London Labour and the London Poor (1851). They are further investigated by Mayhew’s many successors, notably James Greenwood, but not until the nineteenth century was nearly over, were they fictionalised.
Dickens had portrayed Cockneys, but mainly as comic walk-on parts or, as in Oliver Twist, criminals who properly spoke cant. Other novelists, often temperance advocates whose ‘novels’ may as well have been tracts, looked East, but they made no attempt to put flesh on their caricatures. They were all in dreary earnest, propagandizing the proles, permitting neither…
via The Cockney Novelists | Spitalfields Life.
“This is not the Laughing, but the Hippocrene or Poetic Gas, Sir.” Colored etching by R. Seymour, 1829, via the Wellcome Library.
What’s mistake but a kind of take?
What’s nausea but a kind of -ausea?
Sober, drunk, -unk, astonishment.
Everything can become the subject of criticism—how criticise without something to criticise? Agreement—disagreement!!
These words were set to paper in 1882 by William James, one of the most celebrated proponents of the new science of psychology, and a newly minted assistant professor of philosophy at Harvard. James was in many ways the paragon of an eminent Victorian—his writing tends to summon images of the author ensconced beside a roaring fire in some cozy wood-paneled study in Cambridge. And yet here James comes off as utterly, absurdly stoned.
Because he was.
After huffing a large amount of nitrous oxide, James set out to tackle a prominent bugbear of 1880s intellectual life: Hegelian dialectics. He came up with a stream of consciousness that centered on a kind of ecstatic
Continue reading: Paris Review – The Literature of Laughing Gas, Benjamin Breen.