Edgar Degas (1834-1917) (pronounced "day-dahs" but in later life he changed the pronunciation to "day-gah") never wished to be called an "Impressionist" instead preferring to be called a "Realist." In his paintings he was obsessed with motion, particularly of dancers, which occupied nearly half of his works. Degas was raised in an upper middles-class family. … Continue reading The Story of French Impressionism, Part VII: Edgar Degas
Aristophanes's Archanians is his third comedy, and his earliest surviving play that has come down to us from antiquity. It won first prize at the Lenaia in 425BC, under the production of Callistratus, as Aristophanes was a young dramatist at the time. Like The Clouds, The Acharnians begins with a lone soliloquy. A rustic arrives very early … Continue reading Treason in the Acharnians
I recently detoured from reading the Pulitzer Prize winning novels to venture into the harsh but pleasantly forgiving fields of Willa Cather's pioneers on the prairie. When Willa Cather was thirty-nine years old she wrote her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, which was published as a serial in McClure's Magazine in 1912. It was a tragic story … Continue reading The Harsh But Forgiving Prairie in O Pioneers!
The traditional Hebraic title for the book of Numbers is "Bemidbar" meaning "In The Wilderness." It is titled to honor the census that takes place in its opening chapters, followed by a reiterating of the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness following the embodiment of the Lord in a cloud. Eventually, at Chapter 11, the Israelites complain … Continue reading Notes on Numbers
Zemlaya (Earth) (1930) Director: Alexander Dovzhenko Zemlaya is silent Soviet propaganda film, and is Dozhenko's best known film in the West. It is part three of his Ukraine trilogy (he only personally directed seven films during his lifetime, before focusing on novels, instead). The story loosely follows a family of farmers in Ukraine, during the … Continue reading Zemlaya (Earth)
Plato’s famous dialogue, the Symposium, takes place the day after the tragic poet, Agathon, wins his first and only award at the Lenaia in 416 BC, the year before Alcibiades’s failed quest to Sicily. The dramatic setting occurs with a group of Athenians gathered at Agathon’s house in Athens in celebration of his victory. It is a … Continue reading What is Love in the Symposium?