Art to amplify experience

Art to amplify experience

Always interested in how people view the point or at least the benefit of literature and other arts.  Here is George Eliot, whose writing is a plea for humanity, as well as a masterpiece of characterization, arguing for literature to extend empathy towards our fellow...
On the culling of books

On the culling of books

I have long put off writing this post because I have an aversion to it.  A while back I bought a second hand book by Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (to be reviewed – at only 124 pages it packs in well over 124 things to think about or follow...
The delusional business of book selling

The delusional business of book selling

This lovely, zestful, imaginative novel has one of the protagonists finding a job in a bookshop.  He tentatively shares with his boss the fact that he seems to be seeing things, namely a full grown living lion on the streets of a town far from any leonine landscapes. ...
A mosaic of letters

A mosaic of letters

Referring to the letters between Mary Delany and her beloved sister Anne, Molly Peacock aptly describes them as a paper mosaic, given that Mary more or less invented the art of collage. ‘In a way, Mary’s letters to Anne are a paper mosaick of days and weeks,...
Wine-tasting à l’aristocrat

Wine-tasting à l’aristocrat

One of the charms of Brideshead is the free run the two young men occasionally enjoy of this vast, rambling pile, including its copious wine supply.  Left to their own devices, they decide to ‘study’ wine-tasting, following the book until it all becomes a...
Picking up bear habits

Picking up bear habits

Aloysius must be one of the most famous bears in literature (apart from Winnie the Pooh) although Sebastian’s curious relationship with him is never explained. After throwing up through Ryder’s window, Sebastian sends a note saying that unless he is...
Will to live or fear of death?

Will to live or fear of death?

This refers to the looming death of the Brideshead patriarch, surrounded by his family. I was struck by the implication that the will to live gives strength, while the fear of death drains it. If you extend that, it might suggest that people are more motivated by...
Evidence of life?

Evidence of life?

This response by Charles Ryder to his wife’s question is striking.  While change is inevitable, I am not sure it is ‘evidence of life’.  The dead also change. Yet given the state of his marriage when his wife posed the question, and the...

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