Walden Pond - Concord, MA.jpg

Quotable

Oh, cruel time! which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.
— Sir Walter Ralegh, Nature, That Washed Her Hands in Milk (31-36)

Henry James: Cognitive Introspector-in-Chief

I look forward to unpacking and reflecting on this passage from Henry James’s The American:

His smile went through two or three curious phases. It felt, apparently, a momentary impulse to broaden; but this it immediately checked. Then it remained for some instants taking counsel with itself, at the end of which it decreed a retreat. It slowly effaced itself and left a look of seriousness modified by the desire not to be rude.

Soon…

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“Rip Van Winkle’s Lilac” – Melville’s Premonitory Vision of Posthumous Fame

Herman Melville read and studied the poetry of the great romantics. And so he likely had read, at least once, John Keats’s sonnet, “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be.”

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And feel that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

Compare Keats’s sonnet with these lines of verse that conclude Melville’s prose-and-verse piece, “Rip Van Winkle’s Lilac.” Keats, young; Melville, elderly; both writing in verse to express their hope for posthumous literary fame and glory. Neither knew wide-spread fame while alive, but because of the few friends and family who did understand and appreciate their work, they each flourished creatively.

                                Came about
That neighbors, unconcerned before
When bloomed the tree by lowly door,
Craved now one little slip to train;
Neighbor from neighbor begged again.
On every hand stem shot from slip,
Till, that region now is dowered
Like the first Paradise embowered,
Thanks to poor, good-for-nothing Rip!

Some think those parts should bear his name;
But, no, — the blossoms take the fame.
Slant finger-posts by horsemen scanned
Point the green miles–To Lilac Land.
Go ride-there down one charmful lane,
O reader mine, when June’s at best,
A dream of Rip shall slack the rein,
For there his heart flowers out confessed.
And there you’ll say,–O, hard ones, truce!
See, where man finds in man no use,
Boon Nature finds one–Heaven be blest!

Imaginarium: Sightings, Galleries, Sightlines – A New Book of Poetry by A. Robert Lee

 

imaginarium-book-preview-covers-300

A. Robert Lee

has just published another volume of poetry:

Imaginarium: Sightings, Galleries, Sightlines

This is his latest collection of poetry and is published by 2Leaf Press.

From the publisher’s website:

The term “imaginarium” refers to a “place” devoted to stimulating and cultivating the imagination, towards scientific, artistic, commercial, recreational, or a spiritual end. In this collection, Lee explores two connecting keynotes: imagination and sight that explores the way we go about imagining as much as seeing reality. Lee goes about this using an ekphrastic approach by commemorating a dozen or so celebrated visual artists and their works, among them J.M.W. Turner and Frida Kahlo. He extends the usual meaning of the term to include vantage-points like a French archeological cave, and then expertly frames a run of personal encounters within the heights and widths of buildings and landscapes.

To learn more about Lee’s new poetry volume, click here to visit the 2Leaf Press website.

This is A. Robert Lee’s third recent volume of published poetry. For more about the other two recent volumes – Ars Geographica and Portrait and Landscape – published by Printed Matter Press, click here.

Ars Geographica
Portrait and Landscape

 

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Culture, Philosophy, Humor

Malcolm X - The Ballot or the BulletFifty years ago today, as he was preparing to deliver a speech to the Organization of Afro-American [...]

Animated Fibonacci SculpturesWhen math is expressed aesthetically, and when art is expressed with the precision and rigor of math [...]

Pascal's Wager - Betting on InfinityBlaise Pascal is, in my mind at least, almost always a mixed bag. Many of the thoughts he expressed [...]

Ed Yong - Suicidal Wasps, Zombie Roaches & Other Parasite TalesBy its very nature, philosophy is an iconoclastic discipline, dedicated to questioning and dissectin [...]

Lawrence Lessig - We the People, and the Republic We Must ReclaimThe grand Enlightenment experiment in political self-rule and representative democracy that the Unit [...]

Diotima's Ladder - From Lust to MoralityJust about everyone has some idea about what platonic love is: a spiritual form of love in which wha [...]

Dropping a Bowling Ball and a Feather Inside a Vacuum ChamberOne of the ways in which Galileo revolutionized the world of physics was by challenging the Aristote [...]

Steven Pinker - Linguistics as a Window to Understand the BrainOne of the things I first enjoyed when I was introduced to philosophy was its recursive nature: we c [...]

In ancient Greece, when visitors went to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the very first thing they e [...]

Beyond Freakonomics: Musings on the Economics of Everyday LifeFor most of its history, economics has been an esoteric discipline concerned with abstract concepts [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc

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Science News

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Pioneering Women of PhysicsMonday Feb 23, 2015 They discovered pulsars, found the first evidence of [...]

Perimeter Faculty Member Wins Sloan FellowshipMonday Feb 23, 2015 Perimeter Faculty member Pedro Vie [...]

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20 Illuminating, Enlightening, Day-Brightening Facts About LightThursday Jan 08, 2015 In celebration [...]

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