Piaf and Cocteau: Les Enfants Terribles | A R T L▼R K

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

The Hidden Histories of Black Americans in Paris – Atlas Obscura

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

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

Dick Turpin (1705-1739)

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)

A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature

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

Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository

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.

Jack Sheppard (1702-1724)

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)

Sir John Falstaff, the Notorious Highwayman – Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood…

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’)
– Chops
– Sack and Sugar
– Fat-Kidneyed Rascal
– Bombast

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…

November 5 in Literary History: Guy Fawkes Night

Interesting Literature

The most significant events in the history of books on the 5th of November

‘Remember, remember, the Fifth of November’, as the old rhyme has it – and November the 5th tends to be associated with one particular historical event. But it was also the day of several notable literary birthdays and deathdays…

1605: Guy Fawkes Night comes into being when the Yorkshire revolutionary is caught red-handed underneath the Houses of Parliament. We all know the song: Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. But did it actually happen on the 5th of November? Fawkes was actually apprehended a few minutes before midnight, which means that ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ should probably be a day earlier. The illustration below right is by George Cruickshank for Harrison Ainsworth’s 1840 novel Guy Fawkes.

View original post 364 more words

The Cockney Novelists | Spitalfields Life

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.

The Origins of the Unicorn

Mimi Matthews

The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.The Maiden and the Unicorn by Domenichino, 1602.

According to historians, the legend of the unicorn first emerged in 398 BC courtesy of the Greek physician Ctesias.  Ctesias wrote an account of India, titled Indica.  He attests that all recorded within his account are things that he has witnessed himself or that he has had related to him by credible witnesses.  This account of India, though largely lost, has been preserved in a fragmentary abstract made in the 9th century by Photios I of Constantinople.  In the twenty-fifth fragment, Ctesias writes of the unicorn, stating:

View original post 1,651 more words

A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

The Genealogy of Style

Man putting flower in National Guard gun


Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated…

View original post 210 more words

The “John the Baptist” of Fascism

toritto

Italians in Fiume cheering D’Annunzio in September 1919

.

There murmur swarming through my drowsy head
In this vast furnace of a summer day
Relentless verses clamoring to be said,
As beetles round a putrid carcass play.

Gabriele D'Anunnzio.png

One doesn’t often run into a Fascist poet although Ezra Pound was considered one. Usually poets tend to be dreamers of leftish persuasion – not Fascists.

Yet the “John the Baptist” of Italian fascism was a poet – Gabriele D’Annunzio. He was the model on which Benito Mussolini would later build the full Fascist state.

D’Annunzio was born in the Abruzzi region of Italy in March 1863 as the bastard child of a wealthy landowner. His mother’s name was Rapagnetta and it was his surname until he was adopted by a retired wealthy uncle Antonio D’Annunzio, who sent him to a fine private school to continue his education. It was there, at 16…

View original post 777 more words

Paris Review – The Literature of Laughing Gas, Benjamin Breen

“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!!
Emotion—motion!!!

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 readingParis Review – The Literature of Laughing Gas, Benjamin Breen.

Guest Blog: Meeting Catherine – My Journey from Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ to ‘Catherine de Valois’

Interesting Literature

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Henry V is one of the most beloved plays of all time. Though mostly about King Henry’s war with France and his victory at Agincourt on 25th October 1415, the play introduces us to Henry V’s future queen Catherine de Valois from Henry’s decidedly biased point of view.

But was Shakespeare’s version of Queen Catherine truly historical?

Following my successful launch of my short biography Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni aimed at primary- and middle-school children in March, I decided to take on this very question. What I discovered along the way now makes me wonder how Shakespeare ever kept his head on his shoulders in light of the fact that Queen Elizabeth I was Catherine’s – but not King Henry’s – descendant.

Catherine_of_FranceCatherine de Valois was born 27th October 1401 in Paris, the youngest daughter of the paranoid schizophrenic King Charles VI and…

View original post 451 more words