Remembering a Historian on the Date of His Birth: Born 6 August 1916 – Richard Hofstadter, an American historian, public intellectual, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Some quotes from the work of Richard Hofstadter:
“It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat.”
“If for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination.”
“We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”
“There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies.”
“The nation seems to slouch onward into its uncertain future like some huge inarticulate beast, too much attainted by wounds and ailments to be robust, but too strong and resourceful to succumb.”
“It is possible that the distinction between moral relativism and moral absolutism has sometimes been blurred because an excessively consistent practice of either leads to the same practical result — ruthlessness in political life.”
“It has been our fate as a nation not to have ideologies but to be one.”
“The idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.”
Below – “Big Red Cat”; “Delicate Ladies” (porcelain sculpture); “Blue and Red with Silver”
Worth a Thousand Words: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, held every year since 1947 on 6 August in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in order to console the victims of the atomic bombs and to pray for world peace.
Below – “Magellanic Clouds”; “Mediation Tahiti”; “Passiflore”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 6 August 1809 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, an English poet and Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland from 1809 to 1892.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Below – “Leopard and Lilies”; “Tolstoy and Gandhi”; “Huge Landscape Mask”; “Rider”; “Silver Gnome.”
Musings in Summer: Georgia O’Keeffe
“I can’t live where I want to, I can’t go where I want to go, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”
Below – Georgia O’Keeffe: “Cow Skull with Calico Roses”
This Date in Art History: Born 6 August 1912 – Richard C. Miller, an American photographer.
Below – “Lauren Bacall”; “Chuck Berry”; “Richard Boone”; “Lucille Ball”; “Harry Belafonte.”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 6 August 2004 – Donald Justice, an American poet.
“Here in Katmandu”
by Donald Justice
We have climbed the mountain.
There’s nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down
To the valley
Where, amidst many flowers,
One thinks of snow,
As formerly, amidst snow,
Climbing the mountain,
One thought of flowers,
Tremulous, ruddy with dew,
In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.
It is difficult to adjust, once down,
To the absence of snow.
Clear days, from the valley,
One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do?
Prayer wheels, flowers!
Let the flowers
Fade, the prayer wheels run down.
What have they to do
With us who have stood atop the snow
Atop the mountain,
Flags seen from the valley?
It might be possible to live in the valley,
To bury oneself among flowers,
If one could forget the mountain,
How, never once looking down,
Stiff, blinded with snow,
One knew what to do.
Meanwhile it is not easy here in Katmandu,
Especially when to the valley
That wind which means snow
Elsewhere, but here means flowers,
As soon it must, from the mountain.
“Model in Studio 15, #1”; “Joy in the Afternoon, Painted in the Morning”; “Feignting Spell”; “Don Quixote’s Dream of the Fair Dulcinea”; “A Mile to the Bus Stop”; “Almost Daybreak.”