Månedsarkiv: marts 2019

Common Sense About Drama and the F-35.

Today is Friday and it’s the 22nd of March. According to the ‘Illuminati’ this makes it a ‘magic date’ – as 322 is supposed to be a ‘magic number’. Please don’t ask me why, as I don’t know or at least don’t seem to remember.

But to stay in that vein a little – yesterday reportedly was Purim. And if you occasionally have been critical towards Mozzard abuse, like you probably have been towards abuse more or less everywhere else, then you might want to tread carefully today? (link 1).

My kitchen i my small flat has a double function as photographic dark room. This is possible on account my old frind K.N. at some point graciously offered to make a light tight, easily removable screen for the one window.

An old, wooden table, both light and sturdy, discarded by some nice person a few years ago fits perfectly i the corner beside the fridge.

The table, presumably almost century-old, has one shallow drawer and round legs turned in a lathe. A plan that makes plenty of room for stuff and things under the table, ofcourse.

This morning I wanted to check on my enlarger, standing tall on that wonderful old table. It’s a professional model LPL 4×5″ variable contrast enlarger, still quite sought after, by the way, even in our digital age.

Only problem – I don’t use it often enough. This particular model use a electro-mechanical switch to turn on the halogen lamp and its cooling ventilator. If this switch isn’t activated more or less regularly it becomes unreliable.

Hence I wanted to check it out today. And sure enough – it turned out to be quite unreliable.

Wanting to check the power outlet and cables under the table I was reminded of a couple of bags with books more or less hiding in the shadows and obviously unattended for a few months.

One of the bags turned out to hold about a dozen books from one of the ’75-cents-books-sales’ last year, and mostly unreported in these pages until now. Here is yet another handful of micro-(micro)-reviews, then:

I believe the only exception from being unreported is this amusing little book

1. ROTTEN REJECTIONS – A Literary Companion. Edited by André Bernard. 1990, Pushcart Press, Wainscott, NY. 101 p. Bound in whole cloth with orig. dustjacket.

But just to make sure, here is a couple of samples:

‘It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it’. (THE TORRENTS OF SPRING, by Ernest Hemingway, 1926).

‘I haven’t the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say. It is about a group of American Army officers stationed in Italy, sleeping (but not interestingly) with each others’ wives and Italian prostitutes, and talking unintelligibly to one another. Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level. He has two devices, both bad, which he works constantly … This, as you may imagine, contitutes a continual and unmitigated bore’. (CATCH-22, By Joseph Heller, 1961).

‘It is impossible that it could be true and therefore it is without real value’. (TYPEE, By Herman Melville, 1846)

‘Retired curry colonels writing their reminiscences of India are two a penny’. (BRUTAL AND LICENTIOUS, By John Masters, 1958)

‘Not desirable. I do not find the thing good of its kind and few people like that kind … Some of the talk is clever and some of the characters interesting, but much of the long discussion of the author’s philosophy of life is tedious and the author’s view pessimistic and hopeless … I do not think that the book would have a large sale here, and while I would not say that it is impossible, I think i is distateful’. (THE RAZOR’S EDGE, By W. Somerset Maugham,1944)

‘The idea of men adrift on a raft does have a certain appeal, but for the most part this is a long, solemn and tedious Pacific voyage.’. (KON-TIKI, By Thor Heyerdahl, 1952).

What’s seems especially interesting about these ‘rotten rejections’ is the editors/readers all seem to ‘speak their mind’. Perhaps you may often find the unmitigated ‘hidden truth’ lurking in or between the lines of these outspoken literary arbiters?

For instance I have owned the last title KON-TIKI for about sixty years, as it was presented to me in school for ‘dilligence and good behaviour’ – I believe while attending Thisted Borgerskole in the North-West of Jutland 1956-57.

(Just for the record – I’m not absolutely sure which of the four schools I have consecutively attended that presented this particular book, as I received book presents from all four: Thisted Borgerskole, Bjerringbro Realskole, Hoersholm Kommuneskole and Rungsted Statsskole. The books should still be lurking on the bottom of a box somewhere).

But this is neither here nor there. The thing is I newer until this day read the book. I have a habit of leafing loosely through any book I pick up, and fancy I have a knack of spotting anything unusual or unsually interesting. And frankly, as a teenager the KON-TIKI book just looked boring to me. Whence I have to join the above verdict ‘long, solemn and tedious’ – if not plainly boring?

2. COMMON SENSE ABOUT DRAMA. By L.A.G. Strong. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1937, 131 p. Whole cloth.

A few samples:

(From page 9)

‘In the early days of the Elizabethan stage there was no scenery. The audience was shown a placard, telling them what the next scene was.

‘The Chinese play, Lady Precious Stream, drew large London audiences who laughed at its ‘quaintness’, its conventions, or, if you prefer it, its absence of conventions. It seemed to these audiences funny that an actor, to express a journey on horseback, should jog once or twice around the stage as if he were riding a hobby-horse.

‘The whole thing depends on the point of interest. The Chinese audience was not primarily interested in the journey. They were interested in what happened after it, and therefore accepted any means of conveying the otherwise unimportant information that the journey had been made…

‘The Elizabethan audience was not interested in the scene, but in what happened upon it; and so they accepted without difficulty the crude, non-realistic method of the placard…

‘The Elizabethan dramatist was interested in character rather than in apparatus. Even when scenery was used, it was of the simplest kind: just so much as was necessary to convey to the audience the sort of place in which the action lay. And the audience, impatient for what was to happen next, accepted the hint at once.’

(From page 35)

‘The earliest and simplest form of drama is the dance. Self-expression through rhytmic muscular action must have preceded speech: We find it in the courtship of birds.

‘In primitive religion, ceremonial dancing was the chief expression of worship (note 1). The gesture was supplemented by the spoken word, and the two forms for a long time grew together.

‘It is only in comparatively recent times that dancing has come to be a separate art, lingering on as ballet in opera – its one surviving association within another form of drama – and subsisting triumphantly by itself.

‘Though we are here concerned chiefly with spoken drama, we must not for a moment forget that mimed drama and sung drama have equal rights. In one, the actor uses speech and gesture; in another, song and gesture; in the third, gesture alone.

‘Nor is it reasonable to regard one as more or less ‘real’ than the others. Each expresses emotional truth in terms of an agreed convention.

‘The general preference for spoken drama is due to the fact that most people find it easier to understand, and to the number of masterpieces available, a far greater repertory than that possessed by opera of by the ballet.’

(From page 36)

‘From the beginnings of history, drama has been closely associated with religion. The ritual dances of East and West, the religious and mythological themes of Greek tragedy, the sacred drama which is the chief expression of Christian worship, the old English Morality and Miracle plays, all attest that the art of the theatre has noble origins, and should not exist to stupefy men’s minds.

‘The Morality and Mystery plays are worth attention too, for they show us something we are in danger of forgetting; that those whose religion is firmly rooted need not fear to mingle laughter with worship.

‘The writers of those plays did not hesitate to introduce scenes of broad comedy, and to treat Biblical characters with a contemporary vigour.

‘Indeed, when we look at the drama’s origins, and consider the nobility of thought and force of criticism of which it has been the vehicle: when we remember that Aristophanes in his Lysistrata dared to make fun of the war in which his countrymen were engaged, and had an audience who could receive it (whereas, early in the Great War ((1914-19)), newspapers reported with dignified approval that a number of officers had walked out of a performance of Shaw’s ‘Arm and the Man’); when we see what an instrument of human enlightenment the theatre can and should be, we cannot help lamenting the degradation and timidity which have almost overcome it to-day.’

(From page 59)

‘Chapter I. ended with the assertion that drama was an inescapable condition of our lives. I should like to go back to that idea for a few minutes, and consider the dramatist that resides in each one of us, whether we want him or not: the dramatist in our subconscious mind.

‘This is a subtle craftsman, of great skill and great integrity. Even though we very often do not realize, or will not acknowledge, what he is at, nothing we consciously say or do will deter him from representing in character and parable what comes before him.

‘Since he is an honest artist, and represents what he sees, he is frequently in conflict with our conscious mind, which acts as a censor, and is often shocked by the dramas he presents. They represent a view of life of which we altogether disapprove. They suggest things we are afraid of; consequently, we often attempt to forbid them altogether.

‘He works best at the time when our conscious mind is least able to interfere with him, and, while we are asleep, produces the shows we call our dreams.

‘Dream life is as complex as waking life, and no one explanation will cover every type of dream. There is, as common sense has always insisted, the dream that is due to objective causes, such as a striking clock or too much lobster salad.

‘The point is that we need necessarily go no further than this universally admitted type of dream in order to accept the existence of the dramatisk in our subconscious midst. Realization of his existence commits us to belief in no modern school of thought on the subject. We can admit him without ever mentioning psycho-analysis of the names of Freud, Jung, and Adler.’

3. BREVE OM ITALIEN. Af Christian Elling. København, Boghallen, 1945, 90 p., softcover booklet.

From page 27ff: ‘Om Maskefrihed’.

‘I det 18. aarhundredes Venedig kunde man hyppigt møde en mand, der bar en miniatyrmaske i haanden eller hængende ved en knap i sin kjole. Denne lille maske betød en hel del, mere end et ridderbaand.

‘Thi mens det sidste blot angiver, at dets bærer er større end han synes, oplyste masken, at manden i det øjeblik var noget helt andet end det, han saa ud til.

‘Masken var en signatur, der kort og godt forkyndte, at den paagældende person optraadte som maskeret og ikke vilde kendes. Han figurerede i rollen som incognito.

‘Den lille stump legetøj traadte i stedet for den store, den rigtige maske for ansigtet, der almindeligvis blev benyttet. Og den gjorde god fyldest.

‘I Danmark stikker vi en hvid pind i munden og forsvinder – det er eventyr, billedtale for en begivenhed, der havde hverdagens realitet i Venedig.

‘Fænomenet er ret beset meget mærkeligt. Mest forbavsende er det, at det lille signal altid blev respekteret. Som et magisk tegn gjorde det sin indehaver usynlig, indspandt hans borgerlige person i en tryllekappe.

‘Den hornformede tingest, der ofte hang ved Italiernes urkæde lige op til vor tid (jeg har flere gange set den), beskyttede manden mod folk med onde øjne.

‘Maskebilledet værnede ham mod alles øjne, tilsikrede ham en fuldkommen integritet som et væsen hinsides den trivielle verden.

‘Det er vanskeligt, ja vel egentlig umuligt at finde en haandgribelig analogi i nutidens liv til denne sælsomme foreteelse. Den venezianske skik er et kulturfænomen, der har opnaaet en abstraktions rene skønhed. Saadanne symboler har altid ladet et langt stykke historie bag sig i støvet, før de foldede sig ud. Saaledes ogsaa i Venedig…’

‘Karnevalet i Venedig varede længere end i nogen anden italiensk by – flere maaneder. Her havde maskeringen ogsaa en anden karakter, thi den var overvejende uniform og ens for begge køn: en lang kappe og en hvid, grotesk fremspringende ansigtsmaske fæstnet under den trekantede hat.

‘Alle kunde bære den, fra skoledrengen til patriarken, og de fleste gjorde det. Synet af alle disse spøgelser har været fantastisk. I theatrene herskede endogsaa masketvang. En person kaldtes blot ‘Hr. Maske’.

‘Maaske halvdelen af den store bys indbyggere gled omkring som figurer i et elegant spil, tilsyneladende irreelt som en drøm, i virkeligheden spejlklart, udkrystalliseret af et samfund, hvis adelige mennesker elskede uafhængighed. De var stærke nok til at sætte det i system og saa meget artister, at systemet blev skønt som en Isblomst…’

‘Men den levende digter med masken vil vedblive med at mystificere os. Ogsaa derfor er han til. Det er hans ret, det er en part af hans kunst. Han leger med sine kammerater; Du og jeg staar udenfor kredsen. Maaske faar vi lov til at være med i en tur, hvis vi vil lære reglerne.’

Finally, let’s take a quick look at a few recent tweets (may not yet be tweeted):

*Trump’s Mideast Bombshell: US Must Back Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights.
Syria recently threatened war if Israel didn’t end its occupation.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-21/trump-tweets-mideast-bombshell-us-must-back-israeli-sovereignty-over-golan-heights

*US Duplicity Over Golan Demolishes posturing on Crimea, says Finian Cunningham.

US Duplicity Over Golan

>Would that be a ‘tit-for-‘tat for Russia’s accepting Crimea’s desire to reconnect with Russia? I wonder if the Golan’s want to ‘reconnect’ with IL?

*Gucci Is Selling $870 Sneakers That Look Dirty Poor
“Looking Poor Is In Fashion”
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-20/gucci-selling-870-sneakers-look-dirty

>Is it now smart mocking the thousands of homeless in the US and the world? Off-hand seems callous and distasteful in the extreme.

*Governments have lost control of the narrative that they are in control of events… and they are scared to death…
Censorship Tightens As Governments Lose Control
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-20/censorship-tightens-governments-lose-control

*America’s Generals Have Learned Nothing From Our Failed Wars.
The senior officials responsible for our military failures are guiding us to more of the same.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-20/americas-generals-have-learned-nothing-our-failed-wars

*It’s like the reverse Marshall Plan. Wage a war on a foreign country. But this time lose and block rebuilding by declaring anyone that does so to be an ‘enemy of peace.’
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-20/empire-chaos-crumbles-iran-outflanks-us-iraq-beyond

>If the Illuminati-Globalists secret agenda is disruption, chaos and destruction, they will ultimately loose control, of course; As they seem totally unable to put something healthy in place of destruction and chaos. Say Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria (and the U.S.?). Chaos everywhere.

*The Fed’s constant intervention in the market has created a moral hazard on a scale that has never been experienced before by humanity.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-21/why-fed-keeps-propping-market

>Obviously the Fed’s constant ‘money-printing’ to the tune of trillions for the benefit of a select few (billionaires) is a deadly poison in the economic organism at large. Destruction and chaos will certainly ensue.

*With facial recognition, shoplifting may get you banned in places you’ve never been.
There are hundreds of stores using facial recognition — none that have any rules or standards to prevent abuse.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

*Supermarkets in the UK are using it to determine whether customers are old enough to buy beer. Millions of photos uploaded onto social media are being used to train facial recognition without people’s consent.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

*Accuracy rates matter — it’s the difference between facial recognition determining you’re a threat or an innocent bystander, but there’s no standard on how precise the technology needs to be. The time is now to regulate this technology before it becomes embedded in our everyday lives.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

*Without any legal restrictions, companies can use facial recognition without limits. That means being able to log people’s faces without telling customers their data is being collected.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

*People don’t have to be convicted of a crime to be placed on a private business’ watch list. There aren’t any rules or standards governing how companies use facial recognition technology.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

*Facial recognition:
One mistake could mean never being able to shop again.
Privacy advocates fear that regulations can’t keep up with the technology — found everywhere from your phone to selfie stations — leading to devastating consequences.
https://www.cnet.com/news/with-facial-recognition-shoplifting-may-get-you-banned-in-places-youve-never-been/

>Facial recognition: Obviously a monster awakening. But not really surprising – the Illuminati-Globalists want to disrupt and destroy all sane, sound and healthy social life (above).

Wonder how many F.R. spots are now up and running in Denmark? Probably no-one knows for sure, except perhaps the Secret Police – except they may not want to know? Surely there is F.R. at the main entrance to the Copenhagen Central Library? How about the Metro-trains and stations? One has to remember, that with constant real time video-surveillance any alien Secret Service (say CIA, NSA, Mossad & etc) will be able to run F.R., if necessary via hacking.

*Har Pia tabt sutten?
https://ekstrabladet.dk/plus/politik/revser-mutter-skrap-har-pia-tabt-sutten/7563614

>’Pia’ is the president of the Danish Parliament. Everyone loves to mob her, probably mostly because she don’t have a university degree.

The above link relates to her asking a foolish member of parliament to not bring her toddler into a parliament sitting. This has raised outrage among a lot of likewise quite foolish observers, – although should really be a non-issue.

*Aktie von Bayer bricht nach Gerichtsverfahren in den USA ein

Aktie von Bayer bricht nach Gerichtsverfahren in den USA ein

>Incredible that Bayer has learned nothing from the Mercedes-Chrysler debacle, that cost Mercedes billions.

*While The Nation Fragments Socially, The Financial Aristocracy Rules Unimpeded
America’s aristocracy is not formalized, and that’s the secret of its success.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-19/while-nation-fragments-socially-financial-aristocracy-rules-unimpeded

>Interesting observation; the modern (plutocratic) Royalties are much more intangible and shady than the old, European Royal Houses. Of course this plan makes it much more difficult for ‘the man in the street’ to recognize patterns, i.e. he knows not who’s pulling the strings.

*Senators Stunned By Air Force Plan For More Boeing F-15X Fighters, F-35 Cuts
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-19/air-force-plan-more-boeing-f-15x-fighters-met-pushback-f-35-proponents

>The F-35 has already been a farce for some time and now seems slated for failure? Some weeks ago Germany cancelled orders for the F-35 (I believe this news has been totally suppressed in the Danish press – Denmark has obviously decided to remain a total, blind US-puppet – willingly seconded by our press?). But now also the US-AirForce make cuts in their orders.

Note 1.
This brings to mind what the Danish historian Rosenberg has told somewhere about the Summerian priests, that had to ‘dance’ around the altar ON ONE LEG, presumeably in a certain plan or pattern. Whence the modern childrens play or game with hopping on one leg from space to space in a certain plan or pattern.

Link 1.
Operation eller mission?

(22./23.Mar.2019)

Crossposted on www.gamleboeger.dk and http://blocnotesimma.wordpress.com

Tweets on www.twitter.com/gamleboeger

Eliot, Arnold and Reich-Ranicki

In the last post I did a ‘micro-review’ of Philip Henderson’s wonderful little book ‘Literature’ from 1935. Likewise I hinted at plans to do some more micro-reviews of ‘1.50-dollar-books’, all from the February Dutch book-sale in the Heilig-Geist Church House in downtown Copenhagen.

Here we go then.

1. THE LITERARY CRITICS – A STUDY OF ENGLISH DESCRIPTIVE CRITICISM.
By George Watson. Penguin Books, England, 1962, 248p, paper-back in pocket-book format.

Here is another author – an 35-year old Australian lecturing in Cambridge – that entices you with his semingly endless stock of knowledge about literature as well as of acute thinking and common sense.

Like most always I can only bring a few specimens, that popped up more or less arbitrarily. From the first page of Chapter 9, ‘The Early Twentieth Century’ – and T.S.Eliot:

‘The question sounds eminently reasonable, but remains unanswerable: what is revolutionary in the criticism of T.S.Eliot? Everyone – except, apparently, Mr Eliot himself – can see that the critical tradition of the whole English-speaking world has been turned upside down by the trickle of articles and lectures – there has never, strictly, been a critical book – issuing from his pen since the First World War.

‘But the nature of Eliot’s influence as a critic has always been felt to be mysterious and indefinable. E.M.W.Tillyard, in his history of the Cambridge English School, has told how the essays in THE SACRED WOOD (1920), when they first appeared, ‘made me uncomfortable, and I knew they could not be ignored’.

‘Disciples – even enemies – have hardly succeded in identifying what is new and special in Eliot’s criticism, though they have been loud in praise and censure. The most discreet of major English critics, he has practised evasion and reticence with determined skill.

‘In his earliest period, positions are tentatively stated and argument disarmed by a certain irony; in his middle years, argument is openly spurned; and in the later years, since the Second World War, he has elaborately pretended never to have been a major critic at all.

‘Altogether, his critical career might have been planned as a vast hoax to tempt the historian into solemnities for the sport of the Philistines.

‘The key to Eliot’s reticence as a critic surely lies in the relationship betwen his criticism and his poetry. In a sence, his criticism is a smoke-screen to the rest of his career.

‘It misleads as much as it reveals about the quality of his poems, and the smoke-screen grows thicker as the years pass. By the 1950s Eliot’s determination to hide himself from the devotees of his poetry by means of critical red-herrings had grown so obvious as to suggest a motive: the intense love of privacy, perhaps, of a fastidious New Englander whose poetry has led him into the indignity of spiritual self-exposure.

‘We fear something of the kind as early as a Harvard lecture of 1932, where he attempted to disarm analysis of ASH-WEDNESDAY (1930), a poem intimately tracking the path of a religious conversion, by suggesting the addition to the poem of a Byronic motto:

“But the fact is that i have nothing planned,
“Except perhaps to be a moment merry…

‘The mask of the sage slips as such moments of embarrassing whimsy, to reveal the face of injured piety.’

From Eliot we move back in time a bit to Matthew Arnold, who has all of Chapter 7 dedicated to him, twenty pages in all. On page 160f we read:

‘A historical estimate of Arnold must always conclude him to have been the most influential force among the Victorian critics. But there seems no good reason now for accepting his claims to greatness as a critic.

‘Those who see civilization as a cause rather than a condition of mind will always be attracted to this most insistent and eloquent of its advocates. But to enjoin and encourage men to be critical is no more like being a good critic oneself than to urge men to be good is to be a serious contributor to the study of ethics.

‘Those who see in Arnold’s essays evidence of a major critical intelligence should set themselves to consider the following objections. Where, first, in the entire corpus of Arnold’s criticism, do we see ‘the great critical effort’ at work upon any English text – upon a single play of Shakespeare or poem of Milton, Wordsworth, or Keats?

‘The admirers of Johnson, Coleridge, even Hazlitt, can point to demonstrations of critical finesse. The admirer of Arnold’s criticism has to accept the word for the deed. Again, to seek out and advocate the best is not only hopelessly question-begging: it is also hopelessly out of key with Arnold’s own achievement.

‘The ESSAYS IN CRITICISM and the Biblical reinterpretations are not even remotely disinterested. They are works of passionate partisanship by a skilful, urbane, not always candid controversialist with a zest for opposition. Their virtues, which are considerable, are essentially polemical.

‘If Arnold had seriously tried to be ‘disinterested’, his career as a critic would not have happened at all. And it is no defence to argue that Arnold’s passionate partisanship is all in favour of such désintéressement.

‘There are Arnoldian values clearly implicit in his preference for French civilization over English, Joubert over Coleridge, Renan over St Paul, Wordsworth over Shelley, and Goethe over both. Those who cannot see such values as especially and distinctively Arnoldian disqualify themselves by their very discipleship from the task of judicious appraisal.

‘More than that, there is no coherent theory of poetry in Arnold’s criticism. This might not matter very much if, as in Johnson, a certain incoherence of ideas were compensated for by vigorous critical demonstration. As it is, Arnold’s notion of a poetry purged, like religion, of fact and dealing in analogical truths is explored in vacuous and tautological language.

‘For a critc who enjoyed the benefits of a public career, and who spent a dozen years in writing essays on religious and social questions, arnold is culpably vague concerning the proper subject of poetry. The 1853 preface is free with advice to poets to be ‘particular, precise, and firm’ – about what?

‘Arnolds own answer, in this first of his critical essays, is as ‘general, indeterminate, and faint’ as could well be. The true subject of poetry, he claims, is ‘an excellent action’ appealing to ‘the great primary human affections’.

‘This account, surprisingly, is never enlarged upon in the religious essays, though an image of perfection emerges in the ‘sweetly reasonable’ Jesus of LITERATURE AND DOGMA (1873), a figure that combines the virtues of a liberal Protestantism with the Hellenist ethos of Rugby School.

‘It may be – and reference to the poems would, on the whole, support this claim – that an action is ‘excellent’ to the extent that it recommends such values as loyalty and openmindedness. But, given Arnold’s generous use of such terms as ‘good’, ‘true’, ‘sound’, and ‘sweet’, it is hardly fairminded of him to leave us so profoundly in the dark concerning the nature of light.

‘The deep voids and gaping incongruities of Arnoldian criticism are so evident that they call for explanation rather than analysis. It is well worth asking how it happened: Arnold remains in most respects the most seductive of the great Victorian pundits, more variously and wittily intelligent than those great juggernauts Ruskin and Carlyle. He is almost never dull. And the vast contradictions that underlie his programme for the poetry and the civilization of England do not in any way dimish its fascination’.

Finally a few samples from

2. ÜBER RUHESTÖRER – JUDEN IN DER DEUTSCHEN LITERATUR. By Marcel Reich-Ranicki. 1973, Piper, München. 103 p., paper-back in pocket-book format.

First a bit about the author (p.99):

‘Marcel Reich-Ranicki wurde am 2. Juni 1920 in Wloclawek an der Weichsel geboren. Sein Vater stammte aus Polen, seine Mutter aus Deutschland. Ab 1929 wohnte die Familie in Berlin. Im Herbst 1938, kurz nach dem Abitur am Berliner Fichte-Gymnasium, wurde Reich-Ranicki nach Polen deportiert. Von 1940 bis 1943 lebte er im Warschauer Getto, spaeter – nach der Flucht aus dem Getto – illegal ebenfals in Warschau.

‘Seine literarische Arbeit begann nach dem Krieg in Polen. Zunaechst als Verlagslektor taetig, war er ab 1951 freier Schriftsteller in Warschau. Anfang 1953 wurde gegen ihn aus politischen Gruenden ein generelles Publikationsverbot erlassen, das bis Mitte 1954 in Kraft blieb….

‘Im Jahre 1958 siedelte Reich-Ranicki nach der Bundesrepublik um. Er wohnt seit 1959 in Hamburg. Nachdem er zuerst fuer die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung und Die Welt gearbeitet hatte, ist er seit 1960 staendiger Literaturkritiker der Wochenzeitung Die Zeit.

‘Ausserdem veroeffentlichte er Essays in den Zeitschiften Neue Rundschau, Der Monat, Merkur und Neue Deutsche Hefte sowie in zahlreichen Sammelbanden. Seine Arbeiten sind auch in englischer, franzoesicher, italienischer, daenischer, japanischer und hebraeischer Uebersetzung erschienen. Er war von 1965 bis 1972 Mitarbeiter der Encyclopaedia Britannica.’

Here are two small specimens from Kapitel 1. ‘AUSSENSEITER UND PROVOKATEURE’ (p.13f/p.15):

‘Von Heine stammt das Bonmot: “Die Juden, wenn sie gut, sind sie besser als die Christen, wenn sie schlecht, sind sie schlimmer -“. Das mag eine hoechst fragfuerdige Verallgemeinerung sein; worauf sie aber letzlich abzielt, ist so abwegig nicht.

‘Denn Heine duerfte nichts anderes gemeint haben als die beruehmte und beruechtigte Intensitaet der juden, ihre bisweilen verblueffende und sogar als erschreckend empfundene Radikalitaet, ihre Neigung zur Kompromisslosigkeit und ihren gelegentlich bewunderten und haeufig missbilligten Hang zum Extremismus. Nur dass alle diese Eigenheiten und Tendenzen wohl eher im Intellektuellen und im Aesthetischen zum Vorschein kamen und kommen als in dem Bereich des Moralischen, auf den Heine offenbar anspielte.’

And from page 21:

“In den Jugendjahren eines jeden deutschen Juden gibt es einen schmerzlichen Augenblick, an den er sich zeitlebens erinnert: wenn im zum ersten Male voll bewusst wird, dass er als Buerger zweiter Klasse in die Welt getreten ist, und dass keine Tuechtigkeit und kein Verdienst ihn aus dieser Lage befreien kann”

‘Auch wenn der deutsche Jude, der diese Worte schrieb, mitnichten ein Buerger zweiter Klasse geblieben ist – es handelt sich um Walther Rathenau, den Reichsaussenminister, der freilich 1922, wenige Monate nach seiner Ernennung, ermordet wurde -, scheint mir seine Aeusserung hoechst aufschlussreich, denn sie akzentuert ohne Umschweife die psychischen Voraussetzungen, die in einem grossen Teil der von Juden stammenden deutschen Literatur ihre direkte und, haeufiger noch, indirekte Widerspiegelung gefunden haben.’

It’s a pleasure to read the crystal clear german of Mr Reich-Ranicki. Only a modern reader might perhaps have wished for a slightly less lopsided treatment of difficulties of the Jews in Europe through the ages; it generally seems that Mr Reich-Ranicki honestly believes these difficulties emanates solely from the Europeans and never from the Jews themselves?

In the next post I’ll endeavour to manage a few more micro-reviews (or micro-micro-reviews) of the books/booklets acquired at the February-sale.

(12./14.Mar.2019)

Crossposted on www.gamleboeger.dk and http://blocnotesimma.wordpress.com

Tweets on www.twitter.com/gamleboeger

Wiking Seafarer, Saxon Chieftain and Charles Dickens.

Tonight my dreams were rather helter-skelter and obviously mostly relating to activities the day and evening before. But in the early a.m. I had a clairvoyant vision, or rather a flash-vision. Someone said: ‘I (or we) will send one to kill you’.

Well – great, thanks for telling. But it’s ofcourse really nothing new, as this has been on the agenda for the last decade, and then some.

But evidently I am very heedful of warnings like that – nocturnal or not. After all the mob are real clever, they are doing gods work and can walk on water. Surely not to be trifled with?

However it ofcourse makes me real happy to realize that Danish citizens now have a thoroughly competent, rightful and honourable – perhaps even honest? – M.O.J, – and not just bums hopping from one pub to another?

But it’s now late in the p.m., and it’s a very nice day here in downtown Copenhagen. Bright and sunny, although a bit windy and chilly.

In a recent post (link 1) I told a little bit about some of the ‘1.50-dollar-books’ found in the most recent dutch book-sale in the Heilig-Geist Church House here in central Copenhagen.

I only managed to mention a minor part of the acquisitions that day. Hence a few more are comming up:

1. LITERATURE AND A CHANGING CIVILISATION. By Philip Henderson. London, 1935, John Lane, 180 p. Original cloth.

This small book is really quite unassuming. In fact so much that I almost passed it by – which however would have been a bloody shame. Because Mr. Henderson seems to be a very sensible guy indeed.

He appears to be replete with common sense and also an ability and a desire to think fairly and squarely and independently?

Ofcourse I can only give a few small specimens of this brilliant little book. But in fact, almost no matter what page you happen to open on you are surprised by the authors common sense and acute observations.

Chapter II ‘Feudalism and the Church’ (page 18) begins like this:

‘By the end of the seventh century the Anglo-Saxon pirates had been settled in Britain for about two hundred years.

‘The legends that they had brought with them were of the same order as the legends brought by the Greeks into Aegean, telling of the exploits of supermen and heroes against giants and monsters.

‘Like the Greek legends they were sung to the harp in the hall of the chief, or baron, by wandering bards called scops. They differed from the Greek legends, however, by the heavy grey skies, the bogs and fens of their northern landscape, and by the prevalent mist through which shapes of horror loom and seem to cloud and confuse their very language.

‘But after the Christianisation of the Anglo-Saxons at the end of the sixth century, latin became the language of learning among them, and such men as Bede of Northumbria wrote with a clear and noble simplicity that is free from the heavy weather of their poetry, though the terror of the harsh northern landscape is still there.

‘Thus in Bede’s account of the conversion of Northumbria to Christianity, one of the nobles at Aedwin’s court speaks as follows:

“So, O king, does the present life of man on earth seem to me, in comparison with the time which is unknown to us, as though a sparrow flew swiftly through the hall, coming in by one door and going out by the other, and you, the while, sat at meat with your captains and liegemen, in wintry weather, with a fire burning in your midst and heating the room, the storm raging out of doors and driving snow and rain before it.

“For the time for which he is within, the bird is sheltered from the storm, but after this short while of calm he flies out again into the cold and is seen no more.

“Thus the life of man is visible for a moment, but we know not what comes before it or follows after it. If, then, this new doctrine brings something more of certainty, it deserves to be followed.”

‘It should be mentioned, perhaps, that though Bede wrote in Latin, he was the disciple of the Irish monks settled in Jarrow, and his early training was partly Celtic.

‘But while cloistered scholars were leading lives of extreme simplicity in grey stone monasteries by the sea and in the greenest and most delightful parts of the country, writing ecclesiastical histories, lives of the saints and epics of part wars and marvels, the working population of Britain continued man’s eternal struggle with the earth and the sea.

‘Familiar as we are with the idealisation of the sea in English poetry, there are few poems which give us the stark reality as well as the strange lure of sea-life so well as the Anglo-Saxon SEAFARER.

With a bitter breast-care I have been abiding:
Many seats of sorrow in my ship have known!
Frightful was the whirl of waves when it was my part
Narrow watch at night to keep on my vessel’s prow
When it rushed the rock along. By the rigid cold
Fast my feet were pinched, fettered by the frost,
By the chains of cold. Care was sighing then
Hot my heart around; hunger rent to shreds within
Courage in me, me sea-wearied! This the man knows not,
He to whom it happens happiest on earth,
How I, carked with care, in the ice-cold sea,
Overwent the winter on my wander-ways,
All forlorn of happiness, all bereft of loving kinsmen,
Hung about with icicles; flew the hail in showers.
Nothing heard I there save the howling of the sea,
And the ice-chilled billow, ‘whiles the crying of the swan!
All the glee I got me was the gannet’s scream,
And the swoughing of the seal, ‘stead of mirth of men;
‘Stead of the mead-drinking, moaning of the sea-mew.
(Stopford Brooke’s translaltion)

‘But while another monk in another Northumbrian monastery was celebrating the deeds of the Danish heroes of Gothland in THE LAY OF BEOWULF, whick tells of the victory of the Franks over the Goths between 512 and 520, the Danes themselves came down on the north-east coast of Britain in one of their terrible raids, burning, killing and destroying and rudely breaking in upon the quiet cloistral life that had sheltered Bede, Alcuin and the author of BEOWULF.

‘But these wars in their turn produced a crop of epics of which the fragment of THE BATTLE OF MALDON that has survived, celebtaring the defeat of the East Saxons by the Danes in 993, can be described as part of a rough ILIAD.

‘The poem, record of defeat though it is, is full of gaiety and a wild joy in battle, for when the Saxon chief is mortally wounded he breaks into a laugh and thanks God that he has been allowed to strike great blows before his end.’

To another age entirely, that of the industrial revolution, the following observations pertains (page 83):

‘The novels of Charles Dickens, good bourgeois though he was, partially revealed the appalling squalor in which the lower stratas of the population were sunk.

‘Having himself known what poverty could mean, the terror of once more relapsing into that state became the mainspring of his enormous creative industry, though the root causes of that poverty, buried in the viciousness of the whole enonomic system, are largely obscured in his novels by the sticky mess of sentimental ‘cosiness’ and raucous humour which recommended him to the vast middle-class reading public of his day.

‘Though one can recognise Dickens as an extremely powerful writer, he is, for a generation nurtured on Bernard Shaw, D.H.Lawrence and Aldous Huxley, of all the Victorians the most difficult to read.’

Would have liked to bring a few more samples, but this has to suffice for today.

I was planning to likewise tell a bit about two more, small books:

2. ÜBER RUHESTÖRER – JUDEN IN DER DEUTSCHEN LITERATUR. By Marcel Reich-Ranicki. München, Piper, 1973. 103 p. Pocket-book format.

3. THE LITERARY CRITICS. A STUDY OF ENGLISH DESCRIPTIVE CRITICISM. By George Watson, Penguin Books, England, 1962. 248 p. Pocket-book format.

Both of these titles, incidentally, seem to be of much the same quality-stock as the before mentioned. But due to an appointment I have to leave them to next time.

Thanks for your time and be safe!

Link 1.

La Chanson de Roland des Normands?

(11.Mar.2019)