Sunday, January 16, 2011

3 books... Endo, Brooks and Hollander

Shusaku Endo : Deep River

The cast of characters, interwoven into hints of Japan, France, India, with of a bit of French literature (Therese Desqueroux, looking for what lies in the depths of her heart) ), Christianity, Hinduism, and importance of the Ganges, all search for something larger than themselves. For Isobe, it is understanding there is such a fundamental difference between "being alive and truly living" and in following his wife's request to look for her reincarnation, the reader can join him to think about what can be embraced in a marriage; For Mitsuko Naruse and her confused relationship to Otsu, we can observe disbelief and belief, lack of faith, and faith. For Kiguchi, we understand the horrors of war. As Mitsuko tell him, "the Ganges is a deep river, so deep, it's not just for the Hindus for everyone." And so at Varanasi, where the characters end up, the deep river takes the dead, embracing everything about mankind, and carries them away. Will Otsu be taken there? Will someone else do his job of carrying those too weak to reach the river themselves? Will the guide, Enami feel differently about being a Japanese guide in India? And for us, how do we understand the tension as creation pulls at destruction, life at death?

People of the Book : Geraldine Brooks
on tape...
I want to READ this book now... not hear it on tape.
Intricate weaving of the "People of the Book" : Christians Jews, Persians... and Muslim acceptance... the tension of modern "saving" of a book, that tells the story of the people who created it, how it traveled through time and places to end up in Bosnia.
"As she explains in an afterword, little is known about this book, except that it has been saved from destruction on at least three occasions: twice by Muslims and once by a Roman Catholic priest. Building on these fragments of information, Brooks has created a fictional history that moves to Sarajevo in 1940, then back to late-19th-century Vienna, 15th-century Venice, Catalonia during the Spanish Inquisition and finally Seville in 1480, the new home of the artist responsible for the Haggadah’s illuminations.

The history of this holy book is a bloody one, bound with brutality and humiliation. Families who protect it are torn apart; the book itself is plundered to pay for a questionable medical cure, then lost in a game of chance. A particularly disturbing scene occurs during the Inquisition in a grotesquely named “place of relaxation” where those accused of heresy by the Spanish authorities are tortured".

I agree with the critic -- too much melodrama -- the mother/daughter relationship, the idea of a father artist the daughter book saver, with the Gerald Manley Hopkins
"What I do is me. For that I came."
What is our life's work?

John Hollander : The Gazer's Spirit
A LONG list of ecphrastic poems Hollander doesn't address is at the end.
The poems he chooses that speak to silent works of art

Jacopo Sadoleto : on the Statue of Laocoon

Pietro Aretino: Sonnet on Titian: Portrait of Francesco Maria Della Rovere, Duke of Urbino

Ben Jonson: The Mind of the frontispiece to a book! Renold Elstrack, Engraved title pge of sir Walter Ralegh's History of the World.

Sir Richard Lovelace: to my worthy friend Mr. Peter Lilly: Sir Peter Lely: Charles I and the Duke of York.

Samuel Roger: To the fragment of a statue of Hercules: Torso.

Washington Allston: On the group of the three Angels before the tent of Abraham, but Rafaelle, in the Vatican.

George Gordon, Lord Byron. from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage... canto 4: Apollo Belvedere.

Shelley: on the Medusa of da Vinci -- no longer attributed to Leonardo.
Joseph Rodman Drake: The National Painting. John Trumbull, the Declaration of Independence.
Rosetti: for our Lady of the Rocks: da Vinci

and 2 more pages.

Writings from people in the 15th century until the 20th.
Whoever writes about writing will be a sort of triple fool:
Question the statue, and receive answer. And then publish the account!

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