Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > Art and Cultural History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Art and Cultural History Art and Cultural History Forum - Music, Literature, Mythology, Visual Arts, Sports, Popular Culture


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old September 1st, 2015, 07:01 AM   #541

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

From the previous page:

evanescent adjective \ˌe-və-ˈne-sənt\ (Latin evanescent-, evanescens, present participle of evanescere disappear, vanish, pass away)

: lasting a very short time : tending to vanish like vapor

* * *

Lafcadio Hearn squeezed a lot into his relatively short life. Born the son of an Irish surgeon in the British army and a Greek woman of noble lineage, he and his mother were basically abandoned in Ireland by his father when Lafcadio was about two years old. A few years later, his mother left him in the care of his great aunt, returning to Greece. He never saw her again.

When he was 17, his great aunt went bankrupt and sent him to London to live with her former maid. He wandered the streets of the city for a couple of years (apparently spending a considerable amount of his time in libraries and the British Museum) before being sent off to the United States—given $5 and told to "seek his fortune." He eventually made friends with a printer in Cincinnati, and continued his self-education at the library there.

He became a reporter for a Cincinnati newspaper when he was about 22, and married a black woman when he was 23, violating Ohio's law against interracial marriage. A few years later, he was divorced, and moved to New Orleans, where he again worked as a reporter as well as selling his writings to national magazines. After nearly ten years in the city, he went to the Caribbean island of Martinique and lived there for two years, writing for Harper's magazine and also producing two books.

When he was 40, he went to Japan, and ended up living there for the rest of his life, marrying a Japanese woman and taking a Japanese name (Koizumi Yakumo). He wrote several books about the life and culture of the Japanese, and is best known for those works. He died of heart failure at the age of 54, and is buried in a cemetery in Tokyo.

Quote:
Maimed in his vision while still a lad almost to the point of blindness, Hearn struggled the rest of his years with myopia, and walked always in terror of imminent darkness. Yet the general sense left upon the mind by his whole body of work is of colour. The brain behind those eyes so near to incompetence was a seeing mind, and through an inefficient medium he perceived, as few men have done, every iridescence of his surroundings. Not a shimmer or a glory escaped him. From his books might be gathered a delightful anthology of the beauty of tint, of form, of shadow, of line. No loveliness was too subtle, too evanescent, too minute, to be recognized by those dim and straining eyes.

And in his letters, again and again, some fairness, so fine as to go unperceived by the stronger-visioned, is commented upon with pleasure. His perception of the delicate groove in the Japanese eyelid, mentioned in one of the letters of this volume, is one of those feats of observation which so often startled his better-sighted but duller-visioned friends.

— Elizabeth Bisland, from the introduction to The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn (1906)
Elizabeth Bisland is well worth mention in her own right. As a teenager, she sent her poetry (under a pen name) to a newspaper in New Orleans, and within a few years got a job with the paper. She met Lafcadio Hearn when she was working as a reporter in New Orleans, and the two carried on a correspondence after that. Bisland moved to New York when she was about 26, and made her living there as a reporter, writer, and editor. In 1889, she was sent by The Cosmopolitan magazine to compete with Nelly Bly in a race around the world. She published a book about her experiences on that journey as well as a number of others, including the book from which the above excerpt is taken.


Click the image to open in full size.

Elizabeth Bisland


Click the image to open in full size.

Lafcadio Hearn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

palter verb \ˈpȯl-tər\ (origin unknown, though there may be a clue in a word from old Northamptonshire dialect: palt refuse, rubbish)

1 : to act insincerely or deceitfully : equivocate

2 : haggle, chaffer

pal·ter·er noun

Last edited by Recusant; September 1st, 2015 at 08:25 AM.
Recusant is offline  
Remove Ads
Old September 1st, 2015, 07:35 AM   #542

Linschoten's Avatar
nonpareil
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Wessex
Posts: 14,095
Blog Entries: 11

Lafcadio Hearn is some kind of relation of mine through my Irish grandmother, who was a Hearn; I have met descendants of his who are restaurateurs in England (known in the family as 'our Japanese cousins'). His books on Japan make good reading.
Linschoten is online now  
Old September 1st, 2015, 08:40 AM   #543

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Lafcadio Hearn is some kind of relation of mine through my Irish grandmother, who was a Hearn; I have met descendants of his who are restaurateurs in England (known in the family as 'our Japanese cousins'). His books on Japan make good reading.
Very interesting to learn that Japanese descendants of Hearn came to England, and it must be at least mildly gratifying to have him somewhere in your family tree.

I came across the archives of an old online BB devoted to Lafcadio Hearn; it has some intriguing bits of information scattered through it.

Last edited by Recusant; September 1st, 2015 at 08:54 AM.
Recusant is offline  
Old September 3rd, 2015, 07:49 AM   #544

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

From the previous page:

thimblerig noun \thim·ble·rig \-ˌrig\ (thimble + rig a dishonest or fraudulent scheme or enterprise; a trick, a swindle)

1 : a swindling trick in which a small ball or pea is quickly shifted from under one to another of three small cups to fool the spectator guessing its location

2 : one who manipulates the cup in thimblerig

thimblerig verb

1 : to cheat by trickery

2 : to swindle by thimblerig

thim·ble·rig·ger noun

* * *

Returning to art history: Today we have an excerpt from Jeremy Paxman's description of the origin of the monumental painting by William Frith, The Derby Day, including an anecdote about Frith's first experience of The Derby.

Quote:
Frith was intoxicated by what he called the 'kaleidoscopic aspect of the crowd'. His picture is a dense, exuberant tableau of over ninety individuals which celebrates the sheer spectacle of humanity. Pickpockets, prostitutes and tricksters jostle against aristocrats, children and politicians. The Derby was an occasion—one of the very few in the Victorian calendar—when all classes, from the grandest to the criminal, rubbed up against each other. Not that all was unadulterated equality: the toffs would tour the encampments of Irish gypsies and other itinerants before the races began, viewing their inmates as a novel species in a nineteenth-century version of a Bedlam tour; the Illustrated London News reported shrilly on the sight of the upper classes prepared 'positively to hob and nob with those palpably inferior to them in station'. But Derby Day was the closest Victorian Britain could come to abandonment—as one French visitor tartly put it, it provided 'an outlet for a year of repression'—and was this that attracted Frith.

He had first attended the Derby in 1856 with his friend, the painter Augustus Egg, and he has left behind an account of his intoxicating day. Not that it began all that well, for Frith came within inches of being conned by a bogus vicar before the sun had risen far in the sky:
So convinced was I that I could find the pea under the thimble, that I was on the point of backing my guess rather heavily, when I was stopped by Egg, whose interference was resented by a clerical-looking personage, in language much opposed to what would have been anticipated from one of his cloth.

'You,' said Egg, addressing the divine, 'you are a confederate, you know; my friend is not to be taken in.'

'Look here,' said the clergyman, 'don't you call names, and don't call me names, or I shall knock your d---d head off.'

'Will you?' said Egg, his courage rising as he saw 2 policemen approaching. 'Then I call the lot of you—the Quaker there, no more a Quaker than I am, and that fellow that thinks he looks like a farmer—you are a parcel of thieves!'

'So they are, sir,' said a meek-looking young lad who joined us; 'they have cleaned me out.'

'Now move off; clear out of this!' said the police; and the gang walked away, the clergyman turning & extending his arms in the act of blessing me and Egg.
Frith called the spectacle on Epsom Downs 'Modern Life with a vengeance', and set about turning his experience into the definitive painting of this national festival. . . . A lady friend told him that it would be an impossible task to get all the bustle of the races into a single canvas—but Frith was a man who liked a challenge.

. . .

The painting was commissioned by amateur artist Jacob Bell, whose Quaker background may have prevented him gambling on the horses, but did not inhibit his enjoyment of the spectacle of humanity en fête. The heir to a pharmaceutical fortune (as in John Bell and Croyden, the Wigmore Street chemists), he did not achieve the artistic ambitions he nurtured for himself, but he enabled the creation of one of the most celebrated Victorian paintings of all. He also, thanks to what Frith described as an 'extensive acquaintance, especially among the female sex', supplied many of the models. 'I had but to name the points required,' Frith would later remember, 'and an example was produced. "What is it to be this time?" he would say. "Fair or dark, long nose or short nose, Roman or aquiline, tall figure or small? Give your orders." ... I owe every female figure in the "Derby Day", except two or three, to the foraging of my employer.'

To create as accurate a portrayal as possible, Frith and the art dealer Ernest Gambart (the other sponsor—he had bought the reproduction rights) sent a photographer to take pictures of the Epsom grandstand. It was the first time that photography had been used in the planning and creation of a prominent painting. Frith hired a jockey to stand in the stirrups on a wooden horse in his studio ('I grieve to say,' he noted later, 'that my little jockey friend was soon after killed by a fall from his horse in France'), persuaded a pair of acrobats from the Drury Lane pantomime to pose for him and engaged a series of models to stand or sit in attitudes which seemed appropriate to the stories he wished to tell.

The crowd is overwhelming. At the left of the painting (and strategically situated just outside the tent of the Reform Club, ho-ho) is the 'thimble-rigger' himself: the con-man with the table for the unwinnable game in which a ball or pea is hidden under one of three tumblers, and participants (like Frith himself) removed of money by thinking they know where it is. The thimble-riggers sneer at the pale-faced, top-hatted victim while the crowd urges a perspiring policeman to intervene; the policeman passes his hand through his hair distractedly, as if saying he's powerless to do so. Immediately to the right of the table is a flash young man who has had his pockets emptied, while to the left a country bumpkin in a milking smock is held back from losing his money by his girlfriend. Between them stands the thimble-rigger's accomplice, brandishing a fistful of notes he seems to have won, to entice further victims. The figure in the red fez is Frith's friend, the fairy painter Richard Dadd. Pushed back into the middle ground is the supposed main business of the day, the track and its races.

— Jeremy Paxman, The Victorians: Britain Through the Paintings of the Age (2009)

Click the image to open in full size.

The Derby Day
by William Powell Frith



Click the image to open in full size.

Detail from The Derby Day

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~

asperity noun \a-ˈsper-ə-tē, ə-, -ˈspe-rə-\ (Middle English asprete, from Anglo-French aspreté, from aspre rough, from Latin asper, from Old Latin absperos, from ab- ab- + -speros; akin to Sanskrit apasphura repelling, Latin spernere to spurn)

1 : rigor, severity

2 a : roughness of surface : unevenness; also : a tiny projection from a surface

. b : roughness of sound

3 : roughness of manner or of temper : harshness
Recusant is offline  
Old September 3rd, 2015, 08:27 AM   #545

Linschoten's Avatar
nonpareil
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Wessex
Posts: 14,095
Blog Entries: 11

Thanks for the Hearn link. I like the Egg story.

Have we had demirep for a woman who has only half a reputation 'esp. as regards chastity' and thus none at all?
Linschoten is online now  
Old September 6th, 2015, 11:37 PM   #546

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

A description of John Milton's inflexible (and perhaps too simplistic) view of political life. Its author, Walter Alexander Raleigh, is perhaps best remembered for a brief misanthropic poem, "Wishes of an Elderly Man, Wished at a Garden Party, June 1914":
I wish I loved the Human Race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I liked the way it walks;
I wish I liked the way it talks;
And when I'm introduced to one
I wish I thought What Jolly Fun!
Quote:
Logical Milton always was. He learned little or nothing from the political events of his time. He was throughout consistent with himself; prepared to take any risks that his advocacy might bring upon him, not prepared to forego or modify his opinions because of human incompetence or human imbecility. Between consistent and unflinching Royalists on the one hand, and the consistent and unflinching Republicans on the other, the most of the population of England wavered and hung. But half-measures and half-heartedness were alike unintelligible to Milton. He fell upon the Presbyterians when they showed a disposition to palter with the logical consequences of their own action, and scourged them unmercifully. They had "banded and borne arms against their king, divested him, disanointed him, nay, cursed him all over in their pulpits, and their pamphlets." But when once the king was brought to trial, then "he who but erewhile in the pulpits was a cursed tyrant, and enemy to God and saints, laden with all the innocent blood spilt in three kingdoms, and so to be fought against, is now, though nothing penitent or altered from his first principles, a lawful magistrate, a sovereign lord, the Lord's anointed, not to be touched, though by themselves imprisoned." He prepares for them a similar dilemma, between the horns of which they have since been content to dwell, in his treatment of the question of divorce: "They dare not affirm that marriage is either a sacrament or a mystery . . . and yet they invest it with such an awful sanctity, and give it such adamantine chains to bind with, as if it were to be worshipped like some Indian deity, when it can confer no blessing upon us, but works more and more to our misery."

Milton's astonishment and indignation in cases like these are a convincing evidence of his inability to understand average politics, and that world of convenience, precaution, and compromise which is their native place. His own tenacity and constancy have something grim about them.

— Walter Alexander Raleigh, Milton (1900)
Bonus word:

adamantine adjective \ˌa-də-ˈman-ˌtēn, -ˌtīn, -ˈman-tən\ (Middle English, from Latin adamantinus, from Greek adamantinos, from adamant-, adamas very hard substance [perhaps hard steel; frequently typifying hardness or inexorability], diamond)

1 : made of or having the quality of adamant

2 : rigidly firm : unyielding

3 : resembling the diamond in hardness or luster


Click the image to open in full size.

John Milton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Have we had demirep for a woman who has only half a reputation 'esp. as regards chastity' and thus none at all?
Splendid word, Linschoten. Though pretty much all the sources I've looked at (including the Oxford English Dictionary) concur with your given etymology, the current Merriam-Webster says the second element is an abbreviation of reprobate. Interestingly, earlier editions of Merriam-Webster agree with the Oxford English Dictionary.

Anyway, I'll put it here, and if you want to make a post using it, please go ahead. If not, it'll go in the word usage post after next, as usual.

demirep noun \ˈde-mi-ˌrep, -mē-\ (demi half + rep reputation)

: a woman of of doubtful reputation; of the demimonde : demimondaine

Last edited by Recusant; September 6th, 2015 at 11:47 PM.
Recusant is offline  
Old September 9th, 2015, 10:30 AM   #547

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

London didn't fare too well from its involvement in the Second Barons' War.

Quote:
The complete abrogation of the Statutes of Oxford having again impelled the Barons to arms, the Londoners were once more involved in warfare. Among the upper classes, the King [Henry III] had many adherents; but the commonality, having assumed the direction of affairs, chose a Mayor and Captains of their own, and bound themselves to assemble in arms at the tolling of St. Paul's great bell. Their first achievement under their new leaders, was to burn the palace of Richard, King of the Romans, at Isleworth; and in their way back, they also destroyed a summer-house belonging to the King at Westminster. Soon afterwards a body of them, amounting to 15,000 men, marched out with [Simon de Montfort] the Earl of Leicester to strengthen the army of the Barons, and fight the King, who was encamped at Lewes, in Sussex. In the battle which ensued, the Londoners were defeated with dreadful slaughter, and pursued for four miles by Prince Edward, whose asperity had been provoked by some unmanly insults that had been recently offered to the Queen, his mother, when attempting to pass London Bridge on her way from the Tower to Windsor. Through this very conduct, however, the battle was lost; for, during his absence from the field, the Earl of Leicester had gained such a decided advantage, that, in the end, Henry, his brother Richard, and even Edward himself, were all compelled to yield.

In the following year, the address of the Prince in effecting his escape from Gloucester, his celerity in re-assembling an army, and his bravery and conduct in the battle of Evesham, in which de Montfort and his son Henry were slain, effectually retrieved the Royal affairs; and in a Parliament assembled at Westminster, about Christmas, it was enacted, "that the City of London, for its late rebellion, should be divested of its liberties, its posts and chains taken away, and its principal citizens imprisoned, and left to the mercy of the King." The inhabitants, in this extremity, threw themselves on the King's clemency; yet their prayers were for a time but little regarded: the opportunities for extortion were too good to be lost; and, besides deposing the Magistrates and appointing four persons in their place, as guardians of the City, Henry "seized on the estates of many of the chief citizens, and gave to his domestics their houses, moveable effects, lands, and chattels. He likewise caused the sons of other citizens to be imprisoned in the Tower, as a security for the good behaviour of their parents; and he detained four of the richest citizens till they had purchased their liberty at an enormous expense."

— Edward Wedlake Brayley, The Beauties of England and Wales (1810)

Click the image to open in full size.

Medieval manuscript illustration showing the forces of Henry III on the left vs. those of Simon de Montfort on the right

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

maffick verb \ˈma-fik\ (back-formation from Mafeking Night, English celebration of the lifting of the siege of Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900)

: to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior
Recusant is offline  
Old September 12th, 2015, 06:59 AM   #548

Linschoten's Avatar
nonpareil
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Wessex
Posts: 14,095
Blog Entries: 11

troat, v.i. and n (make) the cry of a rutting buck.

Surely a useful skill to have. The old hunting world was a complete subculture in its vocabulary as in much else:



"3. For their noise at rutting time.—A hart belleth. A buck groans or troats. A roe bellows. A hare beats or taps. An otter whines. A boar freams. A fox barks. A badger shrieks. A wolf howls. A goat rattles.

4. for their copulation. A hart or buck goes to rut. A roe goes to toum. A boar goes to brim. A hare or coney goes to buck. A fox goes to clicketing. A wolf goes to match or make. An otter hunteth for his kind

6. The tail of a hart, buck, or other deer, is called the single. That of a boar the wreath. Of a fox the brush or drag: and the tip at the end the chape. Of a wolf the stern. Of a hare and coney, the scut.

7. The ordure and excrement of a harses. Of a fox the billiting; and of other the like vermin, the suants. Of an otter the spraints."

From the Sporting Magazine, 1795, p.241.

Last edited by Linschoten; September 12th, 2015 at 07:10 AM.
Linschoten is online now  
Old September 12th, 2015, 07:23 AM   #549

Naomasa298's Avatar
Modpool
 
Joined: Apr 2010
From: T'Republic of Yorkshire
Posts: 30,818

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Lafcadio Hearn is some kind of relation of mine through my Irish grandmother, who was a Hearn; I have met descendants of his who are restaurateurs in England (known in the family as 'our Japanese cousins'). His books on Japan make good reading.
That's really interesting Lincs - I visited his grave a couple of years ago in Japan. He hated mosquitos apparently, and I'm told he didn't speak Japanese and his wife didn't speak English, so god knows how they communicated! His book "Kwaidan" is responsible for a couple of misconceptions that persist throughout certain circles today, not least the title, which means "Ghost Story", but the word is actually "Kaidan".
Naomasa298 is offline  
Old September 12th, 2015, 07:59 AM   #550

Recusant's Avatar
Miscreant Erendrake
 
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Sector N after curfew
Posts: 2,580
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
That's really interesting Lincs - I visited his grave a couple of years ago in Japan. He hated mosquitos apparently, and I'm told he didn't speak Japanese and his wife didn't speak English, so god knows how they communicated! His book "Kwaidan" is responsible for a couple of misconceptions that persist throughout certain circles today, not least the title, which means "Ghost Story", but the word is actually "Kaidan".
According to what I've read, Hearn did speak some Japanese, but his command of the language was "relatively poor."
Recusant is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > Art and Cultural History

Tags
corrocamino, daily word



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Daily dose of archaeology okamido Natural Environment 2003 September 30th, 2011 05:49 PM
Daily Dose of Archaeology 2.0 okamido Natural Environment 1998 August 2nd, 2011 03:34 PM
Topic about Mao from China daily china histary Asian History 6 April 22nd, 2011 02:23 AM
Daily Prayer of the Knights old_abe Medieval and Byzantine History 1 August 31st, 2006 03:45 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.