Literary Memories 20 August: Howard Phillips Lovecraft

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Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft

 

Author: Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Dates: 20 August 1890 – 15 March 1937

Nationality: American

Title of Book: The Tomb

About this time I conceived my present fear of fire and thunderstorms. Previously indifferent to such things, I had now an unspeakable horror of them; and would retire to the innermost recesses of the house whenever the heavens threatened an electrical display. A favourite haunt of mine during the day was the ruined cellar of the mansion that had burned down, and in fancy I would picture the structure as it had been in its prime. On one occasion I startled a villager by leading him confidently to a shallow sub-cellar, of whose existence I seemed to know in spite of the fact that it had been unseen and forgotten for many generations.

At last came that which I had long feared. My parents, alarmed at the altered manner and appearance of their only son, commenced to exert over my movements a kindly espionage which threatened to result in disaster. I had told no one of my visits to the tomb, having guarded my secret purpose with religious zeal since childhood; but now I was forced to exercise care in threading the mazes of the wooded hollow, that I might throw off a possible pursuer. My key to the vault I kept suspended from a cord about my neck, its presence known only to me. I never carried out of the sepulchre any of the things I came upon whilst within its walls.

One morning as I emerged from the damp tomb and fastened the chain of the portal with none too steady hand, I beheld in an adjacent thicket the dreaded face of a watcher. Surely the end was near; for my bower was discovered, and the objective of my nocturnal journeys revealed. The man did not accost me, so I hastened home in an effort to overhear what he might report to my careworn father. Were my sojourns beyond the chained door about to be proclaimed to the world? Imagine my delighted astonishment on hearing the spy inform my parent in a cautious whisper that I had spent the night in the bower outside the tomb; my sleep-filmed eyes fixed upon the crevice where the padlocked portal stood ajar! By what miracle had the watcher been thus deluded? I was now convinced that a supernatural agency protected me. Made bold by this heaven-sent circumstance, I began to resume perfect openness in going to the vault; confident that no one could witness my entrance. For a week I tasted to the full the joys of that charnel conviviality which I must not describe, when the thing happened, and I was borne away to this accursed abode of sorrow and monotony.

Brief Biography: Lovecraft was an author. He gained fame posthumously for his horror fiction. Lovecraft is considered to be one of the most significant authors of his genre of the 20th Century.

Classical Memories 20 August: Tomás Luis de Victoria

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Tomás Luis de Victoria

Tomás Luis de Victoria

 

Composer: Tomás Luis de Victoria

Dates: 1548 – 20 August 1611

Nationality: Spanish

Title of Piece: Misa O quam Gloriosum

Brief Biography: De Victoria was a composer. He was one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation. De Victoria was also an accomplished pianist and singer.

Parnassian Moments 19 August: John Dryden

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John Dryden

John Dryden

 

Poet: John Dryden

Dates: 19 August 1631 – 12 May 1700

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Hidden Flame

I feed a flame within, which so torments me
That it both pains my heart, and yet contents me:
‘Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it,
That I had rather die than once remove it.

Yet he, for whom I grieve, shall never know it;
My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it.
Not a sigh, nor a tear, my pain discloses,
But they fall silently, like dew on roses.

Thus, to prevent my Love from being cruel,
My heart ‘s the sacrifice, as ’tis the fuel;
And while I suffer this to give him quiet,
My faith rewards my love, though he deny it.

On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me;
While I conceal my love no frown can fright me.
To be more happy I dare not aspire,
Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.

 

Brief Biography: Dryden was a poet, literary critic and playwright. He was a Restoration poet and was made Poet Laureate in 1668.

Artistic Memories 19 August: George Wesley Bellows

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George Wesley Bellows

George Wesley Bellows

 

Artist: George Wesley Bellows

Dates: 19 August 1882 – 8 January 1925

Nationality: American

Title of Piece: Both Member of This Club

Both Members at This Club by George Wesley Bellows

Both Members at This Club by George Wesley Bellows

Brief Biography: Bellows was a painter. He was part of the American Realist movement. Bellows is considered to be the most acclaimed American artist of his time.

Parnassian Moments 19 August: Francis Edward Ledwidge

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Francis Edward Ledwidge

Francis Edward Ledwidge

 

Poet: Francis Edward Ledwidge

Dates: 19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917

Nationality: Irish

Title of Poem: A Fairy Hunt

Who would hear the fairy horn
Calling all the hounds of Finn
Must be in a lark’s nest born
When the moon is very thin.

I who have the gift can hear
Hounds and horn and tally ho,
And the tongue of Bran as clear
As Christmas bells across the snow.

And beside my secret place
Hurries by the fairy fox,
With the moonrise on his face,
Up and down the mossy rocks.

Then the music of a horn
And the flash of scarlet men,
Thick as poppies in the corn
All across the dusky glen.

Oh! the mad delight of chase!
Oh ! the shouting and the cheer !
Many an owl doth leave his place
In the dusty tree to hear.

 

Brief Biography: Ledwidge was a poet. He was known as the poet of blackbirds. Ledwidge was killed in action at Passchendaele during WW1.

Literary Memories 18 August: Honoré de Balzac

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Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac

 

Author: Honoré de Balzac

Dates: 20 May 1799 – 18 august 1850

Nationality: French

Title of Book: The Magic Skin

Towards the end of the month of October 1829 a young man entered the Palais-Royal just as the gaming-houses opened, agreeably to the law which protects a passion by its very nature easily excisable. He mounted the staircase of one of the gambling hells distinguished by the number 36, without too much deliberation.

“Your hat, sir, if you please?” a thin, querulous voice called out. A little old man, crouching in the darkness behind a railing, suddenly rose and exhibited his features, carved after a mean design.

As you enter a gaming-house the law despoils you of your hat at the outset. Is it by way of a parable, a divine revelation? Or by exacting some pledge or other, is not an infernal compact implied? Is it done to compel you to preserve a respectful demeanour towards those who are about to gain money of you? Or must the detective, who squats in our social sewers, know the name of your hatter, or your own, if you happen to have written it on the lining inside? Or, after all, is the measurement of your skull required for the compilation of statistics as to the cerebral capacity of gamblers? The executive is absolutely silent on this point. But be sure of this, that though you have scarcely taken a step towards the tables, your hat no more belongs to you now than you belong to yourself. Play possesses you, your fortune, your cap, your cane, your cloak.

As you go out, it will be made clear to you, by a savage irony, that. Play has yet spared you something, since your property is returned. For all that, if you bring a new hat with you, you will have to pay for the knowledge that a special costume is needed for a gambler.

Brief Biography: De Balzac was a novelist and playwright. He is considered one of the founders of realism in European literature. De Balzac is particularly renowned for his morally ambiguous and multifaceted characters.

Parnassian Moments 17 August: Edward James “Ted” Hughes

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Edward James (Ted) Hughes

Edward James (Ted) Hughes

 

Poet: Edward James “Ted” Hughes

Dates: 17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Earth-Moon

Once upon a time there was a person
He was walking along
He met the full burning moon
Rolling slowly towards him
Crushing the stones and houses by the wayside.
She shut his eyes from the glare.
He drew his dagger
And stabbed and stabbed and stabbed.
The cry that quit the moon’s wounds
Circled the earth.
The moon shrank, like a punctured airship,
Shrank, shrank, smaller, smaller,
Till it was nothing
But a silk handkerchief, torn,
And wet as tears.
The person picked it up. He walked on
Into moonless night
Carrying his strange trophy.

 

Brief Biography: Hughes was a poet and author. He is ranked as one of the best poets of his generation. Hughes was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998.

Classical Memories 17 August: Pierre-Octave Ferroud

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Pierre-Octave Ferroud

Pierre-Octave Ferroud

 

Composer: Pierre-Octave Ferroud

Dates: 6 January 1900 – 17 August 1936

Nationality: French

Title of Piece: Serenade

Brief Biography: Ferroud, along with Barraud, Rivier, and Bondeville founded the Triton, a chamber ensemble. He also wrote a biography on Florent Schmidt as well as contributing essays and reviews to the Paris Soir. Ferroud was killed in a road accident.

Classical Memories 16 August: William ‘Bill’ John Evans

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William (Bill) John Evans

William (Bill) John Evans

 

Composer: William ‘Bill’ John Evans

Dates: 16 August 1929 – 15 September 1980

Nationality: America

Title of Piece: All of You

Brief Biography: Evans was a jazz pianist and composer. He is considered to be one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Evans never embraced new movements like jazz fusion and free jazz unlike many of his contemporaries.

Parnassian Moments 16 August: Henry Charles Bukowski

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Henry Charles Bukowski

Henry Charles Bukowski

Poet: Henry Charles Bukowski

Dates: 16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994

Nationality: American

Title of Poem: So Now?

the words have come and gone,
I sit ill.
the phone rings, the cats sleep.
Linda vacuums.
I am waiting to live,
waiting to die.

Brief Biography: Bukowski was a poet, novelist and story writer. Strongly influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of Los Angeles his work addressed the ordinary lives of poor Americans.

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