Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

Expanded Front Page


We’ve reformatted a little: now the 15 most recent posts will appear on the front page.  We accumulate new posts so quickly that it just seemed the thing to do to be sure that as many posts get front page exposure for as long as possible.

Handel’s Messiah


London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Halelujah Chorus

On this date in 1742 Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin.

Frye on Handel in his remarkable student essay on Romanticism:

The rhythm force of music is incarnated and symbolized in the dance.  Hence, men like Bach, Handel, Mozart were all dance composers.  The suite or selection of dances in one key was a standard artform, and later, when the sonata sublimated the dance rhythm  of the suite into a stricter form, the minuet, in many ways the typical dance, was often retrained. (CW 3, 54)

Jacques Lacan


Lacan on the unconscious (French with English subtitles)

On this date Jacques Lacan was born (1901 – 1981).

A telling citation of Lacan in Notebook 52:

The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday, which is Venus’ day: white goddess modulating into black bride.  I’m sure the Tempest masque and the exclusion of Venus from it are connected, what with the insistence on preserving Miranda’s virginity.  Lacan is wrong: it isn’t just the phallus that’s lost, but since the Fall every sexual union has had, or been, a screw loose.  Yeats’s poem on Solomon and Sheba is the one to consult. (CW 6, 454)

Samuel Beckett


Beckett’s Play, Part 1 (Part 2 after the jump)

On this date Samuel Beckett was born (1906 -1989).

Frye in “City at the End of Things” in The Modern Century says this about Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

There are two contemporary plays which seem to sum up with peculiar vividness and forcefulness the malaise that I have described as the alienation of progress.  One is Becket”s Waiting for Godot [the other is Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?].  The main theme of this play is the paralysis of activity that is brought about by the dislocation of life in time, where there is no present, only a faint memory of the past, and an expectation of a future with no power to move towards it.  Of the two characters whose dialogue forms most of the play, one calls himself Adam; at another time they identify themselves as Cain and Abel; at other times, vaguely and helplessly, themselves crucified, with Christ. “Have we no rights?” one asks.  “We got rid of them” the other says — distinctly, according to the stage direction.  And even more explicitly: “at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us.”  They spend the whole action of the play waiting for a certain Godot to arrive: he never comes, they deny that they are “tied” to him, but they have no will to break away.  All that turns up is a Satanic figure called Pozzo, with a clown tied to him in a parody of their own state.  On his second appearance, Pozzo is bind, a condition which detaches him even further from time, for, he says, “the blind have no notion of time” (CW 11, 25-26).

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