6.30.2010

Notes from week 36: Norpois

  • Ernest LEGOUVÉ  (Secretary of the Académie Française, 1807–1903)
  • Nicolas BOILEAU-DESPRÉAUX  (French poet & critic, 1636–1711).
  • Paul CLAUDEL (French poet & diplomat, 1868–1955).
  • Phèdre. Jean Racine  (December 1639 – April 21, 1699): French dramatist, one of the "Big 3" of the 17th century (along with Molière and Corneille); one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition.
  • La Revue des Deux Mondes (Review of the Two Worlds): French language monthly literary and cultural affairs magazine that has been published in Paris since 1829. Website here.
  • Andromaque (1667 RACINE play): tragedy based on the legend of Troy. Andromaque, widow of the slain Trojan hero Hector, is the beloved captive of King Pyrrhus. (Hmmm, did you say "captive?"...)
  • Alfred de MUSSET (French poet & playwright, 1810–57). The Moods of Marianne (Les Caprices de Marianne), is his 1833 play, which later was the basis for Jean Renoir's 1939 film, The Rules of the Game.
Assumption of the Virgin [“Frari Titian”] (1516-18 TITIAN painting)

Paintings by Carpaccio in San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (Venice)

Anatole FRANCE (French writer, 1844–1924).


Tombs of the Medici (Michelangelo) 

6.29.2010

Who Was King Theodosius?

The first Theodosius (Roman Emperor) outlawed homosexuality in CE 390, punishable by death.
The second Theodosius (Eastern Roman Emperor) in CE 438 codified all existing law into the Theodosian Code, which also expanded proscriptions against homosexuality.
In 342 (Codex Theodosianus, 9, 7, 3,) the first law was enacted in Milan regarding passive homosexuals. Harsher penalties were introduced by Theodosius I in a law addressed to the prefect of Rome in 390, with execution by burning for "those given to the infamy of condemning the male body, transformed into the female, to the toleration of practices reserved for the other sex" (Coll. Legum Mos. et Rom., 5.3). This law was inserted in the Theodosian Code of 438 (9, 7, 6), but substantially modified and with a wider scope. The new compilation condemned to burning all passive homosexuals without distinction. With the Emperor Justinian the legislation was broadened; every kind of homosexuality was repeatedly condemned with the death penalty. Theodosius gave as his reason the desire to rid Rome, "the mother of all virtues," from all contamination. Justinian also added religious reasons. The Theodosian laws, followed by those of Justinian in the Corpus Iuris, represent the heritage which late Roman law was to leave to posterity.( Taken from: L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 19 March 1997, p.10)

La Berma

Bernhardt as Phèdre in Racine's Phèdre. From the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Photograph: Paul Nadar, negative about 1874, print about 1880s, albumen silver print (cabinet card), 5 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. Introduced in the 1860s, cabinet cards were studio photos mounted on card stock for public sale. Widely collected, they often featured portraits of celebrities of the day (writers, musicians, actors). This Nadar photo of The Divine Sarah is from a collector's album of cabinet cards. The New York Times reviewed this in 1905.

6.12.2010

Notes from week 35: Dinner guests

Jockey-Club de Paris: The Jockey Club de Paris is best remembered as a gathering of the elite of nineteenth-century French society. The club still exists at 2 rue Rabelais, and hosts the International Federation of Racing Authorities. From Wikipedia: "Proust's Charles Swann was a member, a fact that Proust more than once noted as a signal honour, given his Jewish background."
Dr. Jules Cotard: Was he the model for Proust's character?
    Comments by other Proust readers onine:  C. Matthews here and D.Abrams here

    Note that Seize Mai was the day of a constitutional crisis, MacMahon resigned, and back in the park, while two men watched Odette parading down the avenue, one made a comment about being with her on that day (1877, in real history time). The parading, since Gilberte is already 12-ish, would have to be about 14-15 years later, say 1891-ish. This part of the novel was originally part of Place Names: The Name, but Proust's publisher thought v. 1 was getting too long, and so it was cut, to begin v.2.

    There is so much space given to describing the changes of Cottard and Swann, that you could even say that the doctor changed from a buffoon to a well-respected man and Swann changed in the opposite way.


    La Berma = Sarah Bernhardt
    Here are some photos in the Library of Congress of Bernhardt performing in the U.S. Nice crowds.
    In this exquisite portrait by Nadar (there were many, and he was the best), La Berma was only 20 years old. BTW, born Jewish & illegitimate.
    Here she is full-face. 

    6.11.2010

    Printable Photos of the Proust house at Illiers-Combray

    The Architectural Digest article begins here and the photos are here.

    6.10.2010

    For sale

    A site called Art.com offers a photograph of Proust, framed or unframed, then offers views of how it would look in various rooms of your home. I'm thinking about where he'd look best...

    6.01.2010

    Pages for June


    Week 34: June 3   (Finish PLACE-NAMES - THE NAME)
    A spring day in winter: joy and disappointment (575). The Swann of Combray has become a different person: Gilberte’s father (578). Gilberte tells me with cruel delight that she will not be returning to the Champs-Elysées before the New Year (580). “In my friendship with Gilberte, it was I alone who loved” (585). The name Swann (586; cf. 202). Swann meets my mother in the Trois Quartiers (588). Pilgrimage with Françoise to the Swanns’ house near the Bois (591). The Bois, Garden of Woman. Mme Swann in the Bois (594). A walk through the Bois one late autumn morning in 1913 (598). Memory and reality (606).

    Week 35: June 10 (Beginning WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE)
    Part 1 MADAME SWANN AT HOME :: A new Swann:  Odette’s husband (1; cf. 112 sqq.). A new Cot­tard: Professor Cottard (3). Norpois (5); the “governmental mind” (6); an ambassador’s conversation (8). “ ‘Although’ is always an unrecognized ‘because’ ” (10). Norpois advises my father to let me follow a lit­erary career (13).

    Vacation... for Week 36: July 1 ( WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE; recording)
    My first experience of Berma (15). My high expectations of her, as of Balbec and Venice (17). A great disappointment (20). Françoise and Michelangelo (21). The auditorium and the stage (24; cf. I 100).

    Norpois dines at our house (29). His notions about litera­ture (31); financial investments (33); Berma (37); Françoise’s spiced beef (39); King Theodosius’ visit to Paris (41-48);