Literary Memories 22 May: Victor Marie Hugo

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Victor Marie Hugo

Victor Marie Hugo

Author: Victor Marie Hugo

Dates: 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885

Nationality: French

Title of Book: Napolean the Little

On Thursday, December 20, 1848, the Constituent Assembly, being in session, surrounded at that moment by an imposing display of troops, heard the report of the Representative Waldeck-Rousseau, read on behalf of the committee which had been appointed to scrutinize the votes in the election of President of the Republic; a report in which general attention had marked this phrase, which embodied its whole idea: “It is the seal of its inviolable authority which the nation, by this admirable application of the fundamental law, itself affixes on the Constitution, to render it sacred and inviolable.” Amid the profound silence of the nine hundred representatives, of whom almost the entire number was assembled, the President of the National Constituent Assembly, Armaud Marrast, rose and said:–

“In the name of the French people,

“Whereas Citizen Charles-Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, born at Paris, fulfils the conditions of eligibility prescribed by Article 44 of the Constitution;

“Whereas in the ballot cast throughout the extent of the territory of the Republic, for the election of President, he has received an absolute majority of votes;

“By virtue of Articles 47 and 48 of the Constitution, the National Assembly proclaims him President of the Republic from this present day until the second Sunday in May, 1852.”

There was a general movement on all the benches, and in the galleries filled with the public; the President of the Constituent Assembly added:

“According to the terms of the decree, I invite the Citizen President of the Republic to ascend the tribune, and to take the oath.”

The representatives who crowded the right lobby returned to their places and left the passage free. It was about four in the afternoon, it was growing dark, and the immense hall of the Assembly having become involved in gloom, the chandeliers were lowered from the ceiling, and the messengers placed lamps on the tribune. The President made a sign, the door on the right opened, and there was seen to enter the hall, and rapidly ascend the tribune, a man still young, attired in black, having on his breast the badge and riband of the Legion of Honour.

All eyes were turned towards this man. A pallid face, its bony emaciated angles thrown into bold relief by the shaded lamps, a nose large and long, moustaches, a curled lock of hair above a narrow forehead, eyes small and dull, and with a timid and uneasy manner, bearing no resemblance to the Emperor,–this man was Citizen Charles-Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.

During the murmurs which greeted his entrance, he remained for some instants, his right hand in the breast of his buttoned coat, erect and motionless on the tribune, the pediment of which bore these dates: February 22, 23, 24; and above which were inscribed these three words: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

 

Brief Biography: Hugo was a poet, novelist and dramatist of the Romantic Movement. In his youth he was a committed royalist but his views changed dramatically as he got older and his work reflects the political, social and artistic issues of his day. Hugo’s eldest daughter drowned, along with her husband, in 1843 and many of his poems reflect her life and death.

 

Parnassian Moments 21 May: Thomas Warton

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Thomas Warton

Thomas Warton

Poet: Thomas Warton

Dates: 9 January 1728 – 21 May 1790

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Written at Stonehenge

Thou noblest monument of Albion’s isle!
Whether by Merlin’s aid, from Scythia’s shore,
To Amber’s fatal plain Pendragon bore,
Huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile
T’ entomb his Britons slain by Hengist’s guile:
Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
Taught ‘mid thy massy maze their mystic lore:
Or Danish chiefs, enrich’d with savage spoil,
To Victory’s idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
Rear’d the rude heap: or, in thy hallow’d round,
Repose the kings of Brutus’ genuine line;
Or here those kings in solemn state were crown’d:
Studious to trace thy wondrous origine,
We muse on many an ancient tale renown’d.

 

Brief Biography: At the age of just 17 Warton wrote his most famous poem The Pleasures of Melancholy. He was Poet Laureate of Oxford and then of England as well as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Warton preferred to write light verse, odes and sonnets and his sonnets helped a revival of the form as it had fallen out of fashion.

Classical Memories 19 May: Charles Edward Ives

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Charles Edward Ives

Charles Edward Ives

 

Composer: Charles Edward Ives

Dates: 20 October 1874 – 19 May 1954

Nationality: American

Title of Piece: He Is There!

Brief Biography: Ives was a modernist composer. He was one of the first American composers to gain international renown.

Parnassian Moments 12 May: Amy Lawrence Lowell

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Amy Lawrence Lowell

Amy Lawrence Lowell

Poet: Amy Lawrence Lowell

Dates: 9 February 1874 – 12 May 1925

Nationality: American

Title of Poem: A Lady

You are beautiful and faded
Like an old opera tune
Played upon a harpsichord;
Or like the sun-flooded silks
Of an eighteenth-century boudoir.
In your eyes
Smoulder the fallen roses of out-lived minutes,
And the perfume of your soul
Is vague and suffusing,
With the pungence of sealed spice-jars.
Your half-tones delight me,
And I grow mad with gazing
At your blent colours.

My vigour is a new-minted penny,
Which I cast at your feet.
Gather it up from the dust,
That its sparkle may amuse you.

 

Brief Biography: Lowell was an imagist poet highly regarded for her personification of the inanimate object and he lesbian love poetry. Although her work was embraced by the feminist movement it is said she personally argued against the feminist ideal. She rarely wrote in form preferring to write her poetry in polyphonic prose.

Artistic Memories 10 May: Frank Frazetta

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Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta

Artist: Frank Frazetta

Dates: 9 February 1928 – 10 May 2010

Nationality: American

Title of Piece: Masai Warrior

Masai Warrior by Frank Frazetta

Masai Warrior by Frank Frazetta

Brief Biography: Frazetta was a science fiction and fantasy artist. He was plagued by health problems including a thyroid condition that was untreated for years. In the early 2000’s Frazetta had a series of strokes that left his manual dexterity impaired so he switched to drawing and painting with his left hand.

Parnassian Moments 9 May: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

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Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

 

Poet: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Dates: 10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805

Nationality: German

Title of Poem: Beauteous Individuality

Thou in truth shouldst be one, yet not with the whole shouldst thou be so.
‘Tis through the reason thou’rt one,–art so with it through the heart.
Voice of the whole is thy reason, but thou thine own heart must be ever;
If in thy heart reason dwells evermore, happy art thou.

 

Brief Biography: Schiller was a poet, philosopher, historian and playwright. He formed a friendship with Goethe leading to what is known as Weimar Classicism.

Literary Memories 8 May: Gustave Flaubert

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Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert

 

Author: Gustave Flaubert

Dates: 12 December 1821 – 8 May 1880

Nationality: French

Title of Book: Bouvard and Pecuchet: A Tragi-comic Novel of Bourgeois Life

Beyond the canal, between the houses which separated the timber-yards, the great pure sky was cut up into plates of ultramarine; and under the reverberating light of the sun, the white facades, the slate roofs, and the granite wharves glowed dazzlingly. In the distance arose a confused noise in the warm atmosphere; and the idleness of Sunday, as well as the melancholy engendered by the summer heat, seemed to shed around a universal languor.

Two men made their appearance.

One came from the direction of the Bastille; the other from that of the Jardin des Plantes. The taller of the pair, arrayed in linen cloth, walked with his hat back, his waistcoat unbuttoned, and his cravat in his hand. The smaller, whose form was covered with a maroon frock-coat, wore a cap with a pointed peak.

As soon as they reached the middle of the boulevard, they sat down, at the same moment, on the same seat.

In order to wipe their foreheads they took off their headgear, each placing his beside himself; and the little man saw “Bouvard” written in his neighbour’s hat, while the latter easily traced “Pecuchet” in the cap of the person who wore the frock-coat.

“Look here!” he said; “we have both had the same idea–to write our names in our head-coverings!”

“Yes, faith, for they might carry off mine from my desk.”

“‘Tis the same way with me. I am an employe.”

Then they gazed at each other. Bouvard’s agreeable visage quite charmed Pecuchet.

 

Brief Biography: Flaubert was a writer. He was best known for his novel Madame Bovary

Classical Memories 7 May: Niccolo Piccinni

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Niccolo Piccinni

Niccolo Piccinni

Composer: Niccolo Piccinni

Dates: 16 January 1728 – 7 May 1800

Nationality: Italian

Title of Piece: Le Donne Vendicate Overture

 

Brief Biography: Piccinni was one of the most popular opera buffa composers of his day. In an era known as La buona figliuola comedy was become dramatic Piccinni’s operas married sentimentalism and classicism in his Carlo Goldoni. He was placed under house arrest, accused of being a revolutionary at the outbreak of the French Revolution due to his daughter’s marriage to a French democrat.

Artistic Memories 30 April: Jean-Baptiste Oudry

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Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Artist: Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Dates: 17 March 1686 – 30 April 1755

Nationality: Art

Title of Piece: Louis XV Hunting Deer in the Saint-Germain Forest

 

Louis XV Hunting Deer in the Saint-Germain Forest by Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Louis XV Hunting Deer in the Saint-Germain Forest by Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Brief Biography: Oudry was a Rococo painter, noted for his naturalistic paintings of animals and his hunt pictures of game. He was made Painter-in-Ordinary of the Royal hunt by Louis XV. Oudry was also an engraver and tapestry designer.

Artistic Memories 30 April: Édouard Manet

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Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet

Artist: Édouard Manet

Dates: 23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883

Nationality: French

Title of Piece: Lola de Valence

 

Lola de Valence by Édouard Manet

Lola de Valence by Édouard Manet

Brief Biography: Manet was one of the first artists of the 19th Century to portray modern life and was a key figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His paintings The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia are considered watershed pieces in the genesis of modern art.

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