Illustrious

& illuminating

Quintin Blake
Dear those troubled with dark thoughts
Quintin Blake
Let’s try together to lighten your load.

Illustrator: Quentin Saxby Blake
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While Quentin is an author in his own right, he’s probably best known for illustrating Roald Dahl’s (1916–1990) novels; which have now sold over 250 million copies — yep Jay, that’s a quarter of a billion innit.

Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl: author and smoker
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach (1961)
“A young orphan boy enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs he meets.”
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
“The adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.”
The Twits is a humorous children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
The Twits (1979)
“A hideous, vindictive, spiteful couple known as the Twits continuously play nasty practical jokes on each other out of hatred for one another.”

After finishing my Children’s Literature course, I did read this book to my younger sisters and brother:

Author: Quentin Blake
“When eccentric Professor Dupont tries to track down his troupe of brightly-coloured cockatoos, they’re always just one step ahead of him.”

Marcel Proust

[French | 1871–1922]

Proust was a French critic, and essayist who is now best known for his monumental novel: In Search of Lost Time (sometimes known as: Remembrance of Things Past). This was published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. Today, Proust is considered by critics and writers — e.g., Melvin Bragg and guests — to have been one of the most influential authors of the 20th c.

Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.

Nostalgia… do you want to be dragged there? Then read on.

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

As Proust saw it:

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

In Search of Lost Time — a novel of over 4,000 pages — is considered by many to be the definitive modern novel. This is not least because it has influenced directly and indirectly generations of writers, in 1922 Virginia Woolf said, “Oh if I could write like that!” Vladimir Nabokov — author of Lolita and himself considered one of Europe’s most talented writers of prose — said in a 1965 interview, that the greatest prose works of the 20th c. were “Joyce’s Ulysses, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Bely’s Petersburg (see Endnotes), and the first half In Search of Lost Time.”

Lost in Time isn’t exactly easy reading but somehow you can get carried along by them if you can allow yourself to fall int the flow or, you can begin by listening to it in this ten part, ten hour BBC dramatisation:

📻 — In Search of Lost Time

(listening to the radio’s easier on your green eyes Jay; yes Jay, it’s easier on your brown eyes too Jay.)

Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust: Gadfly? Man for the men? A reader of Ruskin

In Search of Lost Time, is compiled in a number of volumes:


And has been republished a great many times…

To somehow summarise the work, many describe it as something of a fictional autobiography by a man whose life almost mirrors that of Marcel Proust. The first forty pages of the novel describe the narrator as a young boy in bed awaiting, and as a middle-aged man remembering, his mother’s goodnight kiss. Though it is not obvious to the reader at the time, these first forty pages also establish most of the themes of the next seven volumes and introduce most of the major characters. The rest of the novel traces the chronology of Marcel’s life over the next fifty years and the lives of his family, friends, and social acquaintances. The novel concludes at a grand party in Paris attended by Marcel and most of the remaining characters.

Because the story is told with two “voices,” that of the narrator as a young boy and also as an older man recalling his youth, it is sometimes difficult to tell Marcel’s age at any particular moment in the novel. The reader must rely on the context of the action.

Two of the novel’s major themes concern Marcel’s frustrated desire to become a writer and his despair at the corroding effect of Time, which makes all human feelings and experiences fade into nothing.

Unhappy love affairs are a leitmotif of the novel.

The best known is that of Charles Swann, which could act as a template for all the rest and is described in “Swann in Love.” The tension and swing of power between lovers and the inevitable disappointment when we achieve the object of our desires is a constant theme throughout the book. (Swann’s love for and pursuit of Odette takes him from the pinnacle ofsmart society to the depths ofsocial rejection and eventual oblivion.)

All the book’s love affairs essentially describe:

the futility of trying to possess or even understand another person

Love is a metaphor for all human experience. According to Proust:

all man’s suffering is caused by his desires [and] achieving those desires only increases the suffering.


Endnotes

1. — Bely

Petersburg
— Andrei Bely

Andrei Bely (1880-1934) was educated at Moscow University where he studied science and philosophy, before turning his focus to literature. In 1904 he published his first collection of poems, Gold in Azure. Petersburg, was published in 1916.

Petersburg is Bely’s masterpiece and it is generally considered to be a vivid, striking story. Bely’s richly textured, darkly comic and symbolic novel pulled apart the traditional techniques of storytelling and presaged the dawn of a new form of literature. This book is considered to have heavily influenced several literary schools, most notably Symbolism, and his impact on Russian writing has been compared to that of James Joyce on the English speaking world.

The novel is set at the heart of the 1905 Russian revolution. In the book. a young impressionable university student, Nikolai, becomes involved with a revolutionary terror organization, which plans to assassinate a high government official with a time bomb. But the official is Nikolai’s cold, unyielding father, Apollon, and in twenty-four hours the bomb will explode. Petersburg is a story of suspense, family dysfunction, patricide, conspiracy and revolution. It is also an impressionistic, exhilarating panorama of the city itself, watched over by the bronze statue of Peter the Great, as it tears itself apart.

2. — Ruskin

The best thing in life aren’t things.

Revenge is sweet

according to some.

Revenge
Bloodied knuckles & a cowardly lover’s letter, expressing his unscripted departure.
I’ve not ever really know where to stand on this vexed issue. I know resentment burns one up on the inside and I know that holding grudges–harbouring feelings of having been unjustly wronged for too long–can corrode the innards of one’s soul, dampen any moment of merriness and darken any happiness. Yet, it is well known and regularly said that forgiveness is freedom and moving on without making retribution is liberation. That it may be, I just don’t know. I’m a full-on Jackel and Hyde, a bit of a bonny and a bit of clyde. I’m, you know, split within but i’m also maybe not really in a position to judge. Or am I? because nowadays i’m my very own private echo chamber (technically I ain’t, but he knows and I know that I fucking well actually am – one could have a thousand and one suitors but if he ain’t amongst the parliament of bees, it is little more than a hollow chamber pot). I know the desirous attractiveness of planing revenge, I know torturous torment, i know the feeling resulting from being labelled B. S.–i’d sooner roast in a Brazen Bull than let that one lie; I’d rather the thumbscrews be turned forcefully anticlockwise (mix in too, for poetic effect, some under the nail bamboo splits); i’d prefer the cat’s tails lash whilst spreadeagled and stretched over a rack-like horse of harshly sawn Sussex oak–I’ve read the hallowed words: there ain’t no wrath like that of a lady wronged, well yeah that be me. I’m stranded here and your there and yeah I know – i do know – you are fucked too but: Clean break huh? What the fuck’s that all about? Together forever? Two hearts beating as one? Soul-fucking-mates? You’re having a fucking larf darling, a full-on delusional & demonically demented laugh.

“her days were spent dallying with her inamorato.”

  My swain he did swoon
  Loopy’s the ship’s loon
  cock-swing née ‘coxswain.’

“we’ll dither and dally and together go fully doolally.”

So in the canon that I know, we’ve two diametrically opposing stances (set out for your perusal below, in Items 1 & 2), and yep for sure I get the notion that one chooses one’s horse depending on the course the hay-fed old nag’s gunna havta trot and canter along but come the fuck on: ain’t this the case of sitting one’s big fat derrière on the fence par excellence? I am a vegan pacifist wit large, but when it is downright up close and personal well ain’t that Italian thing called “vendetta” quite something stellar and spectacular? Just saying, because, well maybe, in practice it’s every so very base and entirely abhorrent.

Rome_TV_1
DOESN’T IT SO
I mean, who knows and who’s to judge? One man’s treasure may be another woman’s trash. His well articulated feminist views may be–‘may be’–his well honed and honeyed ruse to make a be-line for my (and any other young lady’s) ay-line (maybe, I said: “maybe”).

item 01:–

Turn the other cheek

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
— Matthew 5:38 ff.

item 02:–

An eye for an eye

You must show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.
— Deuteronomy 19:21

Burn for burn, wound for wound, and stripe for stripe.
— Exodus 21:25

Just as he injured the other person, the same must be inflicted on him. Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
— Leviticus 24:20


Copy & Paste, ha ha ha.

The advert in situ
“I see, I saw, I was conquered.”
3,500 years ago, King Hammurabi of Babylon compiled a series of commands regarding the day-to-day life of the citizens of ancient Iraq at that time. These commands, which dealt with topics from divorce to contracts to murder, were preserved on a diorite stela, binding future Babylonian kings to Hammurabi’s new code of law. this stone (shown below video) is on show in Paris at the Louvre Museum. And guess what? One of the 282 laws did say: an eye for an eye and The Life of Pi.


Love ain’t for the meek and that I’ll state to be a Category One CLASS FACT.

Hayez,_Francesco_–_Accusa_segreta_–_1847_1848
‘Accusa segreta,’ by Francesco Hayez (1847).
Her (my) eyes say Everything
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She’ll (I’ll) not be dissuaded; the damage done’s way too deep; vengeance hasn’t a conscience: mark my words Mr Sunshine, “This lady’s not for turning”

The Silken Tent

— Robert Frost (1874–1963)

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

End notes
1.
‘slightly taut’ 😉 . . . & den sum mor

2.
From tent to lament:

Tent life
The stars at night.
We are all [more or less] in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (There’s only one guiding star for me, dear J). We can only guess at which star/s Mr Wilde was gazing up at.
Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, by Tracey Emin (1995)
Nylon tent (electric blue)
Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, by Tracey Emin (1995)
The Carnal Prayer Mat, by Li Yu (1693)
Happy campers of yesteryear used ground mats
The Carnal Prayer Mat, a work of fiction by Li Yu (1693) is regularly censored and at times outright forbidden reading; literary critics see its unabashed pornographic nature as an allegoric attack on Confucian puritanism. The prologue states that, ‘sex is healthy when taken as if it were a drug, but not as if it were ordinary food.’
My Bed, by Tracey Emin (1998)
Today’s campers mostly use blowup beds, e.g., ‘The British bed-HEAD.’
My Bed, by Tracey Emin (1998)
Sketch by Tracey Emin (dunno when)
Here’s me bloody hoping
Sketch by Tracey Emin (dunno when)
Tracey Emin and friend (dunno when)
Tracey Emin and friend (dunno when)
Tracey Emin (dunno when)
Tracey Emin (dunno when)
Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1479)
Youth’s so ephemeral
Primavera*, by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1479)
*Primavera = Spring

Charlotte Brontë

[English | 1816–1855]

Charlotte Brontë was born in Yorkshire in 1816. As a child, she was sent to boarding school along with a number of her sisters but when two of those sisters died there, she was returned home and received the remainder of her education there. This homeschooling was also provided to two other of her younger sisters–Emily and Anne–who also went on to become authors of note. Jane Eyre–her seminal work–was first published in 1847 under the pen-name Currer Bell. Like other female writers of that time (and other times too) Charlotte felt her books would be more widely read if she hid her gender…

Jane Eyre

It is said that Jane Eyre is a novel of intense emotional power, heightened atmosphere and fierce intelligence. Indeed, it dazzled and shocked readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom on her own terms. According to William Makepeace Thackeray, it is:

The masterwork of a great genius

Its heroine Jane endures loneliness and cruelty in the home of her heartless aunt and the cold charity of Lowood School. Her natural independence and spirit prove necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of a shameful secret forces her to make a terrible choice…

Charlotte Brontë -- Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre (1847).

All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.

Shirley

Set during the Napoleonic wars at a time of national economic struggles in the United Kingdom, Shirley provides an unsentimental, but passionate depiction of conflict between classes, sexes and generations. The key protagonist is Robert Moore, a struggling manufacturer who has introduced labour saving machinery to his Yorkshire factory, causing a ferment of unemployment and discontent among his workers. Robert considers marriage to the wealthy and independent Shirley Keeldar to solve his financial woes, yet his heart lies with his cousin Caroline, who, bored and desperate, lives as a dependent in her uncle’s home with no prospect of a career. Shirley, meanwhile, is in love with Robert’s brother, an impoverished tutor – a match opposed by her family. As industrial unrest builds to a potentially fatal pitch, can the four be reconciled…

Charlotte Brontë -- Shirley
Shirley (1849).

I claw at

death’s door.

I don’t give a flying fuck anymore.

I may be an offspring of an ape or resultant of a tall tale to cover up a rape. Whatever. I am dead on the inside, my faith in the human race has died. My soul’s been sold out, my mate has left this coil; two was one now one is as fucking glum as a nun a none A ZERO.

( Yep the either or ^ is one and the same. I realised that after I wrote it but I’ll not be changing it. The pretences of a wannabe wordsmith these are not; these are the words of a tormented soul in their death throes. )

I learned a lot this past month and a bit and experienced emotions I’d only ever read about, I thought I understood, I felt I was able to comprehend and adequately empathise — I was a fucking agony aunt to the misfits that found solace in my company (I of course, I realise now, was the biggest misfit of them fucking all, walking tall and, downright delusional; a hardcore unwitting freak) — but I know now I knew fuck all then… these feelings, the feelings of love and the feelings of betrayal can never be understood unless you YOUR VERY SELF are ripped and gripped and totally fucking horsewhipped by them. I’ve been stripped, laid bare on the brimstone floor. The guilt trip is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before: the pain’s been driven right through my fucking cardio-cum-cognitive core. These ever preset emotions cloud ‘everything,’ they rip and claw and have turned positivity to utter destitution, golden summer light to tar black winter night: the future is now the past, plans of P A S have turned to perpetual heart wrenching nostalgia. There is nothing but nothingness. I can no longer kid myself, I can no longer even dream it all to be another way, hope’s been well and truly fucking had. All I had and all I lived for died the day you departed. I’ll reiterate, all I lived for died the day you departed. I’ll underscore my point once more: all I had and all that I’d lived for, died the day YOU departed from our ‘us.’