Wandering in Woodacre – 17 November 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 17 December 1859 – Paul Cesar Helleu, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Young woman in white (Mrs. Helleu)”; “Le Joueur de flute”; “Hydrangeas”; “Lady with Flowers”; “On the sofa”; “Trois femmes dans le parc de Versailles.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1916 – Penelope Fitzgerald, an award-winning British novelist, poet, essayist, biographer, and author of “The Blue Flower” and “The Book Shop.”

Some quotes from the work of Penelope Fitzgerald:

“A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life, and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity.”
“Courage and endurance are useless if they are never tested.”
“To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is – in other words, not a thing, but a think.”
“But time given to wishing for what can’t be is not only spent, but wasted, and for all that we waste we shall be accountable.”
“There’s two ways to be selfish. You can think too much about yourself, or you can think too little about others. You’re selfish both ways.”
“There isn’t one kind of happiness, there’s all kinds. Decision is torment for anyone with imagination. When you decide, you multiply the things you might have done and now never can.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Pawel Orlowski

Below (sculptures – paint on steel) – “Cutour, February 17”; “Cutout, January 17”; “Cutout, 4 November”; “Cutout, 13 September”; “Cutout, September 7.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1937 – John Kennedy Toole, and American novelist, author of “A Confederacy of Dunces,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of John Kennedy Toole:

“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
“Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.”
“‘Employers sense in me a denial of their values.’ He rolled over onto his back. ‘They fear me. I suspect that they can see that I am forced to function in a century I loathe. This was true even when I worked for the New Orleans Public Library.’”
“‘I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate façade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?’’
‘Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers.’
‘Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,’ Ignatius said solemnly. ‘Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.’
‘You’re fantastic.’
‘I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.’”
“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.”
“The only excursion of my life outside of New Orleans took me through the vortex to the whirlpool of despair: Baton Rouge. . . . New Orleans is, on the other hand, a comfortable metropolis which has a certain apathy and stagnation which I find inoffensive.”
“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Elizabeth Lennie

Below – “First Light”; “Dreaming”; “Time Travel”; “Halcyon Days”; “Australia”; “Katie.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 17 December 1935 – Lizette Woodworth Reese, an American poet.

by Lizette Woodworth Reese

It is too early for white boughs, too late
For snows. From out the hedge the wind lets fall
A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.
Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,
Soft, ’wildering fires. Stained are the meadow stalks
A rich and deepening red. The willow tree
Is woolly. In deserted garden-walks
The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,
Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows
Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose.

The days go out with shouting; nights are loud;
Wild, warring shapes the wood lifts in the cold;
The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,
Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.

Below – Sandy Feder: “Swept Away”

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