Apr 6 2017

Comparing Wine to Education

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD):

I bring no charge against the words which are like exquisite and precious vessels, but the wine of error is poured into them for us by drunken teachers….[1]

Johann von Goethe  of Weimar (1749-1832):

The man spoke with dignity and with a certain radiance on his face. This is what he said: “the duty of a teacher is not to preserve man from error, but to guide him in error, in fact to let him drink it in, in full draughts. That is the wisdom of teachers. For the man who only sips at error, can make do with it for quite a time, delighting in it as a rare pleasure. But a man who drinks it to the dregs, must recognize the error of his ways, unless he is mad.” [2]

Karl Kraus of Vienna (1874-1936):

A school without grades must have been concocted by someone who was drunk on non-alcoholic wine.[3]

NOTES

[1] Augustine, Aurelius. Saint Augustine – Confessions. Translated by Henry Chadwick. NY: Oxford UP. 1991. I, xvi (26), p. 19.

[2] Goethe, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.) 1795–96. Edited and Translated by Eric A. Blackall. NY: Suhrkamp Publishers. 1983. VII, ix, 302.

[3] Kraus, Karl. Halftruths & oneandahalf truths: selected aphorisms. Edited and Translated by Harry Zohn. Engendra Press: Montreal. Reprint Chicago UP. 1976. p. 75.


Mar 24 2017

Goethe at a Glance

Goethe on writing:

After my usual habit—whether a good or a bad one—I wrote down little or nothing of the piece; but worked in my mind the most of it, with all the minutest detail. And there, in my mind, pushed out of thought by many subsequent distractions, it has remained until this moment, when, however, I can recollect nothing but a very faint idea of it.

Italienische Reise, 1816–17. From Goethe’s Travels in Italy: Together with his Second Residence in Rome and Fragments on Italy. Translated by A. J. W. Morrison and Charles Nisbet. London, UK: G. Bell and Sons. 1892. “Below Taormina: on the Sea-shore, May 8, 1787” 288–89.

The complete works take up about 6 shelves:

Complete works of Goethe takes up 6 shelves #Goethe #books #library #deutschland

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Feb 17 2017

Why do Artists Travel?

What foreign walls will open to a wanderer?

––Statius[1]

This is my home and my homeland. It tallies with secrets my father
Left me, that talked about fate.

––Virgil[2]

Rosalind: “A traveler? By my faith, you have great reason to be sad. I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men’s. Then to have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and poor hands.”

Jacques: “Yes, I have gained my experience.”

Rosalind: “And your experience makes you sad. I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad— and to travel for it, too.”

––Shakespeare [3]

The traveller that distrusts every person he meets, and turns back upon the appearance of every man that looks like a robber, seldom arrives in time at his journey’s end.

––Oliver Goldsmith[4]

It must be confessed in the main that travelers who withdraw from the limitation of their homes think they step into not only a strange but a perfectly free nature, and this delusion we could at that time cherish the more as we were not yet reminded every moment by police examinations of passports, by tolls, and other such like hindrances, that abroad things are still more limited and worse than at home.

––Goethe[5]

All the arts commonly aspire toward the principle of music….. The aim of our culture should be to attain not only as intense but as complete a life as possible…. The demand of the intellect is to feel itself alive.

––Walter Pater[6]

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. Take an example from our own day. I know that you are fond of Japanese things. Now, do you really imagine that the Japanese people, as they are presented to us in art, have any existence? If you do, you have never understood Japanese art at all. The Japanese people are the deliberate self-conscious creation of certain individual artists. If you set a picture by Hokusai, or Hokkei, or any of the great native painters, beside a real Japanese gentleman or lady, you will see that there is not the slightest resemblance between them. The actual people who live in Japan are not unlike the general run of English people; that is to say, they are extremely commonplace, and have nothing curious or extraordinary about them. In fact the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people.

––Oscar Wilde[7]

See more: Why Do Artists Travel? (Part 02)

NOTES

[1] Statius, Thebaid. Translated by Ross. XI, 730

[2] Virgil, Aeneid. VII, 123.

[3] Shakespeare, As You Like It. IV, i.

[4] Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, “26. A reformation in the gaol. To make laws complete, they should reward as well as punish.”

[5] Goethe, Dichtung und Wahrheit, XIX, 661.

[6] Pater, The Renaissance 135, 188, 220.

[7] Wilde, “The Decay of Lying.”


Feb 10 2017

Brainstorming Ideas about Institutions, Communities, & Citizens

For G. E. M. Ascombe: “What is institutional must exclude all that is personal, casual or sporadic.”[1] This is because institutions:

  • erode individuals,
  • corrode their creativity,
  • and commode only resentment.

Despite our institutions, we must strive to be good citizens, right? Why not ask Goethe?

“Well,” said Lothario, “I hope to be able to make a good patriot out of you. A good father is one who at mealtimes serves his children first; and a good citizen is one who pays what he owes the state before dealing with everything else.”[2]

Examples:

  • The dutiful citizen pays the police before going out to buy his own gun.
  • The sincere confessor gives consent before receiving his reward.
  • The merciful cop shoots the criminal before turning the gun on herself.
  • And while Trump has paid few taxes and given little to charities, he now must serve the community. For what is a community but a collection of institutions?

NOTES

[1] Anscombe, G. E. M. “On the Source of the Authority of the State.” From Ratio 20 (1), 1978. The Collected Philosophical Papers of G. E. M. Anscombe Vol. III: Ethics, Religion and Politics. Blackwell: Oxford. 1981. p. 131.

[2]  Goethe, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.) VIII, ii, 311.


Feb 10 2017

Trump Quotes Goethe

I’ve been reading Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and will write about that soon. In the meantime, all I have are Goethe memes:

Trump quotes Goethe #Trump #Goethe #deutschland

A photo posted by Christopher Landrum (@landrumc) on

Trump quotes Goethe #Trump #Goethe #deutschland

A photo posted by Christopher Landrum (@landrumc) on

Trump quotes Goethe #Trump #Goethe #deutschland

A photo posted by Christopher Landrum (@landrumc) on

Trump quotes Goethe #Trump #Goethe #deutschland

A photo posted by Christopher Landrum (@landrumc) on

 


Jun 21 2016

Valleys & Mountains: from Nixon, Goethe, Machiavelli, & Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Machiavelli once penned a maxim about adjusting one’s point of view when trying to gain the understanding of a situation:

In the same way that landscape painters station themselves in the valleys in order to draw mountains or high ground, and ascend an eminence in order to get a good view of the plains, so it is necessary to be a prince to know thoroughly the nature of the people, and one of the populace to know the nature of princes.[1]

Compare Goethe:

Everything massive makes a peculiar impression, as being both sublime and comprehensible, and in going round such objects I drew as it were an unsurveyable summa summarum [sum of all sums] of my whole residence. [2]

Compare Richard Nixon’s “Farewell Address,” August 9, 1974:

We think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer a defeat that all is ended. We think, as T.R. said, that the light had left his life forever. Not true.

It is only a beginning, always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you highest mountain.

Compare Ta-Nehisi Coates:

And there it is—the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.[3]

NOTES

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[1] Machiavelli, Il Principe. (The Prince.) “Dedication.” The line–“it is necessary to be a prince to know thoroughly the nature of the people, and one of the populace to know the nature of princes“–is particularly relevant when considering Gramsci’s great question:

One may therefore suppose that Machiavelli had in mind “those who are not in the know”, and that it was they whom he intended to educate politically. This was no negative political education—of tyrant-haters—as Foscolo seems to have understood it; but a positive education—of those who have to recognize certain means as necessary, even if they are the means of tyrants, because they desire certain ends. Anyone born into the traditional governing stratum acquires almost automatically the characteristics of the political realist, as a result of the entire educational complex which he absorbs from his family milieu, in which dynastic or patrimonial interests predominate. Who therefore is “not in the know”?

(Gramsci, Antonio. Quaderni del carcere. 1929–1935. (Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci.) Edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. NY: International Publishers. 1971. “The Modern Prince” 135)

[2] Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Italienische Reise. 1816–17. From Goethe’s Travels in Italy: Together with his Second Residence in Rome and Fragments on Italy. Translated by A. J. W. Morrison and Charles Nisbet. London, UK: G. Bell and Sons. 1892.  “Rome, April 14, 1788” 546.

[3] Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. NY: Spiegel & Grau. 2015. p. 105 citing Thavolia Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage. Cambridge UP. 2008.

 


Apr 1 2016

What I Read to Prepare for Italy

bookbread Canterbury

 

It’s almost time to head to Bologna! Here’s what I read since January to prepare. (FYI, I read Divina Commedia last year.)

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Alighieri, Dante. De vulgari eloquentia. 1321. Translated by Steven Botterill. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. 1996.

Allsop, Peter. “Secular Influences in the Bolognese Sonata da Chiesa.” Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association. Vol. 104. (1977–1978.) pp. 89–100.

Boccaccio, Giovanni. Vita di Dante Alighieri. (Life of Dante.) 1355.

Bologna. Cultural Crossroads from the Medieval to the Baroque: Recent Anglo-American Scholarship. Eds. GianMario Anselmi, Angela De Beedictis, Nicholas Terpstra. Bologna, Italy: Bononia UP. 2011.

Braccidini, Poggio. The Facetiae of Poggio: and other Medieval StoryTellers.

Buonarroti, Michael Angelo. The Sonnets of Michael Angelo Buonarroti. Translated by John Addington Symonds. Second Edition. NY: Scribner’s Son. 1904.

The Cambridge Companion to the Italian Novel. Eds. Peter Bondanella and Andrea Ciccarelli. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. 2003.

The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture. Edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. 2001.

Cavazza, Marta. “Bologna and the Royal Society in the Seventeenth Century.” Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London. Vol. 35. No. 2. (December 1980.) 105–23.

Clarke, Georgia. “Magnificence and the city: Giovanni II Bentivoglio and architecture in fifteenth-century Bologna.” Renaissance Studies. Vol. 13. No. 4. (December 1999.) 397–411.

Culture, Censorship, and the State in Twentieth-Century Italy. Eds. Guido Bonsaver and Robert S. C. Gordon. Leeds, UK: Modern Humanities Research Association and Maney Publishing. 2005.

Dean, Trevor. “Gender and insult in an Italian city: Bologna in the later Middle Ages.” Social History. Vol. 29. No. 2. (May 2004.) 217–31.

Deleldda, Grazia. Chiaroscuro: and other stories. 1912.

Dumont, Dora M. “Rural Society and Crowd Action in Bologna, c. 1796–1831.” The Historical Journal. Vol. 48. No. 4. (December 2005.) 977–97.

Eco, Umberto. Kant e lornitorinco. (Kant and the Platypus: Essays on Language and Cognition.) Translated by Alastair McEwen. NY: Harcourt. 1997.

Eco, Umberto. Il nome della rosa. 1980. (The Name of the Rose.) Translated by Martin Secker. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1983.

Eisenbichler, Konrad. “Charles V in Bologna: the self-fashioning of a man and a city.” Renaissance Studies. Vol. 13. No. 4. (December 1999.) 430–39.

Gendler, Paul F. “The University of Bologna, the city, and the papacy.” Renaissance Studies. Vol. 13, No. 4. (December 1999) 475–85.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Italienische Reise. 1816–17. From Goethe’s Travels in Italy: Together with his Second Residence in Rome and Fragments on Italy. Translated by A. J. W. Morrison and Charles Nisbet. London, UK: G. Bell and Sons. 1892.

Gramsci, Antonio. Quaderni del carcere. 1929–1935. (Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci.) Edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. NY: International Publishers. 1971.

Guinizzelli, Guido. Al Cor Gentil (In the Gentile Heart) 1250.

Herzig, Tamar. “The Demons and the Friars: Illicit Magic and Mendicant Rivalry in Renaissance Bologna.” Renaissance Quarterly. Vol. 64. No. 4. (Winter 2011.) 1025–58.

Hughes, Steven. “Fear and Loathing in Bologna and Rome the Papal Police in Perspective.” Journal of Social History. Vol. 21. No. 1.  (Autumn 1987.) 97–116.

Killinger, Charles. Culture and Customs of Italy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 2005.

Kolneder, Walter. Antonio Vivaldi: His Life and Work. 1965. Translated by Bill Hopkins. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 1970.

Kristeller, Paul Oskar. “Petrarch’s ‘Averrosists’: a Note on the History of Aristotelianiam in Venice, Padua, and Bologna.” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance. T. 14. No. 1. (1952.) 59–65.

Lampedusa, Giuseppe Tomasi di. Il Gattopardo. (The Leopard.) Milan. 1958.  Translated by Archibald Colquhoun. NY: Pantheon. 1960.

Libby, Dennis. “Interrelationships in Corelli.” Journal of the American Musicological Society. Vol. 26. No. 2. (Summer 1973.) 263–87.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. Il Principe. (The Prince) 1532.

Manzoni, Alessandro. I Promessi Sposi (Betrothed) 1840.

The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP. 2007.

Pater, Walter. The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry. 1873. London, UK: Macmillan and Co. 1910.

Petrarcha, Francesco. Petrarchs Letters to Classical Authors. Translated by Mario Emilio Consenza. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 1910.

Pincherle, Marc. Corelli et son temps. (Corelli: His Life, His Work.) 1954. Translated by Hubert E. M. Russell. NY: W. W. Norton & Co. 1956.

Rogachevskii, Andrei B.  and Milena Michalski. “Social Demcratic Party Schools on Capri and in Bologna in the Correspondence between A. A. Bogdanov and A. V. Amfiteatrov.” The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 72. No. 4. (Oct. 1994.) pp. 664–79.

Ruskin, John. Mornings in Florence: Being Simple Studies Christian Art for English Travellers. Kent, UK: George Allen Sunnyside. 1875.

Schossberger, Emily. “Many-Splendoured Bologna.” Prairie Schooner. Vol. 30. No. 1. (Spring 1956.) 62–68.

Talbot, Michael. “Vivaldi and Rome: Observations and Hypotheses.” Journal of the Royal Musical Association. Vol. 113. No. 1. (1988.) 28–46.

Terpstra, Nicholas. Lay Confraternities and Civic Religion in Renaissance Bologna. Cambridge UP. 1995.

Terpstra, Nicholas. “Civic self-fashioning in Renaissance Bologna: historical and scholarly context.” Renaissance Studies. Vol. 13. No. 4. (December 1999.) 389–96.

Timberlake, Craig. “Evviva Vivaldi: Still Vital after Three Hundred Years.” Music Educators Journal. Vol. 64. No. 7. (March 1978.) 68–71.

Tuttle, Richard J. “Against Fortifications: the Defense of Renaissance Bologna.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Vol. 41. No. 3. (October 1982.) 189–201.

Verga, Giovanni. Il Malavoglia  (The House by the Medlar Tree) 1881.

Vico, Giambattista. New Science: Principles of the New Science Concerning the Common Nature of Nations. Third Edition. Translated by David Marsh. NY: Penguin. 1999.

Vico, Giambattista. Vico: the First New Science. 1725. Translated by Leon Pompa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. 2002.

Wicksteed, P. H. and G. E. Gardner. Dante and Giovanni Del Virgilio. London: Archibald Constable & Co. 1902.

Zamagni, Vera. Dalla periferia al centro. 1988. (The Economic History of Italy, 1860–1990.) Oxford, UK: Clarendon. 1993.