Saturday, February 21, 2004
The second volume of R F Foster's definitive and exhaustive biography of Yeats is out
Taken together the 2 volumes are around 1500 pages, but Christopher Cahill's review underlines how endlessly fascinating his life was.
By 1916 Yeats was over fifty and wanted to be married and to produce an heir. He knew that Maud, for all the beauty he had once seen in her, or thought he'd seen in her (in photographs she looks like a towering, lantern-jawed man), had gone too far down the road of rabid revolutionary political activism, chloroform addiction, and increasingly Christian mysticism to be anything like a suitable wife. So when he made his request this time, it was really only because he thought he should, because her estranged husband, John MacBride ? a drunken gunman, the father of her son, and the molester of her daughter ? had recently been executed by the British for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Yeats made his proposal in a perfunctory fashion, with conditions attached, expecting and somewhat hoping to be turned down yet again, as he was. As R. F. Foster writes in this much anticipated second and final volume of his biography of the great Irish poet, occultist, and sucker for romantic punishment, "When he duly asked Maud to marry him, and was duly refused, his thoughts shifted with surprising speed to her daughter."Foster apparently had unprecedented and unlimited access to Yeats' papers.
3:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
The Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, the newly translated volume by Italo Calvino looks like a good introduction to his gestalt: review
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Friday, February 20, 2004
R.I.P. Dr Humphrey Osmond
He gave Aldous Huxley the hit of mescaline that inspired The Doors of Perception, and coined the term "psychedelic" to describe the effect of hallucinogenic drugs.
Osmond came to Huxley's attention for his research on schizophrenia -- he suspected a substance like LSD -- secreted internally -- caused their disorder.
Wouldn't be surprised if that's confirmed someday.
3:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
"The other night, I wet the bed like a little girl."
Conan's apology to the Quebeçois
10:55 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Heard about Robert Newman's new book The Fountain at the Center of the World through a Greg Palast email today; sounds worth a look
...it reads like what you'd get if Tom Wolfe clambered inside the head of Noam Chomsky -- it elegantly and angrily scorches a lot of earth...I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if The Fountain at the Center of the World became the talismanic Catch-22 of the antiglobalization protest movement, the fictional complement to Naomi Klein's influential treatise No Logo
2:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
amazon.ca glitch that revealed authors reviewing their own books etc. shows the power of amazon, how the Net redefines the lines between the artist and the public, and the humanity of the writers -- as well as the small world booklovers live in
1:15 AM - [Link] - Comments ()