Evelyn Waugh, JMH Berckmans, Uwe Tellkamp

De Britse schrijver Evelyn Waugh werd geboren in Londen op 28 oktober 1903. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Evelyn Waugh op dit blog.


Uit: Brideshead Revisited

“Finally, just as he was going, he said, “One last point. Change your rooms.” They were large, with deeply recessed windows and painted, eighteenth-century panelling; I was lucky as a freshman to get them. “I’ve seen many a man ruined through having ground-floor rooms in the front quad,” said my cousin with deep gravity. “People start dropping in. They leave their gowns here and come and collect them before hall; you start giving them sherry. Before you know where you are, you’ve opened a free bar for all the undesirables of the college.”

I do not know that I ever, consciously, followed any of this advice. I certainly never changed my rooms; there were gillyflowers growing below the windows which on summer evenings filled them with fragrance.


Anthony Andrews en Jeremy Irons als Sebastian en Charles

In de tv-serie Brideshead Revisited uit 1981


It is easy, retrospectively, to endow one’s youth with a false precocity or a false innocence; to tamper with the dates marking one’s stature on the edge of the door. I should like to think—indeed I sometimes do think—that I decorated those rooms with Morris stuffs and Arundel prints and that my shelves were filled with seventeenth-century folios and French novels of the second empire in Russia-leather and watered-silk. But this was not the truth. On my first afternoon I proudly hung a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” over the fire and set up a screen, painted by Roger Fry with a Provencal landscape, which I had bought inexpensively when the Omega workshops were sold up. I displayed also a poster by McKnight Kauffer and Rhyme Sheets from the Poetry Bookshop, and, most painful to recall, a porcelain figure of Polly Peachum which stood between black tapers on the chimney-piece. My books were meagre and commonplace—Roger Fry’s Vision and Design; the Medici Press edition of A Shropshire Lad; Eminent Victorians; some volumes of Georgian Poetry; Sinister Street; and South Wind—and my earliest friends fitted well into this background; they were Collins, a Wykehamist, an embryo don, a man of solid reading and childlike humour, and a small circle of college intellectuals, who maintained a middle course of culture between the flamboyant “aesthetes” and the proletarian scholars who scrambled fiercely for facts in the lodging houses of the Iffley Road and Wellington Square. It was by this circle that I found myself adopted during my first term; they provided the kind of company I had enjoyed in the sixth form at school, for which the sixth form had prepared me; but even in the earliest days, when the whole business of living at Oxford, with rooms of my own and my own cheque book, was a source of excitement, I felt at heart that this was not all that Oxford had to offer.

At Sebastian’s approach these grey figures seemed quietly to fade into the landscape and vanish, like highland sheep in the misty heathen Collins had exposed the fallacy of modern aesthetics to me: “…


Evelyn Waugh (28 oktober 1903 – 10 april 1966)

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John Hollander, Al Galidi, Johannes Daniel Falk, Karl Philipp Conz

De Amerikaanse dichter en criticus John Hollander werd geboren op 28 oktober 1929 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 28 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor John Hollander op dit blog.


Uit: A Close Look at Robert Frost

“I’m going to talk this afternoon about Frost as a myth-maker, which is usually not how we think of him. I’m going to look closely at that poem of Frost’s called “The Oven Bird,” which I think very easy and very difficult at once.

Mythologizing any construction of nature, an animal, plant, a geological formation, a moment of process–this could be seen both as a desecration and a celebration of pragmatically considered fact. When this goes on in poetry–what Frost himself called “the renewal of words forever and ever”–it is accompanied and invigorated by a reciprocal mythologizing of the very words used in the poetic process. Literature is full of mythological, mostly composite creatures: phoenix, unicorn, basilisk, chimera, hydra, centaur. As nature is even more full of creatures totally innocent of interpretation: woodchuck, anteater, turbot, Shetland pony, jellyfish, and quail. But then, there are the fallen creatures, the intermediate ones: lion, eagle, ant, grasshopper, barracuda, fox, hyena . . . who have been infected with signification from Aesop on. It is one of the tasks of poetry to keep renewing the taxonomic class of such creatures, by luring them unwittingly into a cage of metaphor, which of course they are not aware of inhabiting. Such new reconstructions of animals are almost a post-Romantic cottage industry, even as the rehearsal, again and again, of the traditional ones, used to characterize pre-Romantic emblematic poetry. I want to look at a well-known instance of such reconstruction, in the case of Frost’s “The Oven Bird.”

We’ll start with the unpoetic ornithology from The Field Guide to North American Birds: “Sayerus Oricopilus is a ground-walking warbler. It is common in deciduous woods. It builds a domed nest on the ground and sings from an exposed perch on the understory of the trees.”


John Hollander (New York, 28 oktober 1929)

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