Thoughts on “Pericles” by William Shakespeare

This play is being streamed to cinemas on September 23 rd from the RSC. Some useful points about this “curate’s egg”!

Stuff Jeff Reads

This was my first time reading this play, and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some things I liked, and a lot that just did not work for me. It is worth noting that in the Introduction to the text, G.B. Harrison points out that scholars believe that Shakespeare only wrote a small part of the play, and that the poor writing which dominates the text is from someone else.

Pericles is still retained in the canon of Shakespeare’s work, though there is little trace of his hand in any passage before Act III. With the third act the style changes and much of the remainder of the play may well b e Shakespeare’s writing, but if so it is Shakespeare far below his best. Most critics are agreed, however, that the prose scenes of the brothel (IV.ii and vi) are undoubtedly his. The earlier scenes of…

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#Non-fiction Bolívar

Sounds like essential reading for understanding South America.


  • Author:  Marie Arana
  • Genre: biography
  • Title:  Bolivar: American Liberator
  • Published:  (2013)
  • Table of Contents: 18 chapters, 468
  • Timeline:  1783 – 1830
  • SettingSouth America
  • Trivia: M. Arana won the LA Times Book Award biography 2014.
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly reading plan
  • #20BooksOfSummer20



  1. Bolivar was compared to Napoleon or Julius Caesar.
  2. But Bolivar realized that he could unite South America
  3. …freed of Spanish rule, but could not unite the South Americans.
  4. He had to take drastic steps: Bolivar declared himself ‘dictator’
  5. …in August 1828 due to growing internal conflicts among his commanders.
  6. As Bolivar said: “No one achieves greatness with impunity:
  7. No one escapes the fangs of envy along the way”. (pg 406)
  8. There were several assassination attempts
  9. …thought to be instigated by his old friend, and commander F. Santander.
  10. Bolivar used psychological warfare, surprise,
  11. …deception and fear to defeat his enemies.
  12. But he could…

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Clifford Rowe (1904–1989) The painter for the people

The Fried Fish Shop | Art UK

I very much admire this painting, “The Fried Fish Shop”, its composition and the limited range of colours which suits this painting which is in the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. Rowe was an important active member of the Artist’s International Association

An interesting Guardian Review of an exhibition in 2013 can be read at



June 25~ Pride Month

Very interesting artwork!

The Misty Miss Christy

Paul Cadmus and Jared French and Margaret Hoening

There are six links below

Margaret Hoening was a painter and an etcher [who studied] at the Art Students League. There, she met the artist couple Paul Cadmus and Jared French. In 1937, she married French, fifteen years her junior, who had spent the previous decade with Cadmus. The trio formed a tight bond, with Cadmus and French continuing their relationship. Together, the three formed PaJaMa (a mashup of their first names, Paul, Jared, and Margaret).

Self Portrait by Margaret Hoening French
ND / Pencil on Paper / Private collection

Circus Performers and Animals by Margaret Hoening French
ND / Gouache on board / Private collection

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6 – Detail aus meinen Gedanken – nochmehr Iris – Zeichnung von Susanne Haun

Susanne Haun

Detail aus meinen Gedanken, 76 x 56 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Leonardo Büttenpapier, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020Detail aus meinen Gedanken, 76 x 56 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Leonardo Büttenpapier, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Detail aus meinen Gedanken, 76 x 56 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Leonardo Büttenpapier, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020Detail aus meinen Gedanken, 76 x 56 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Leonardo Büttenpapier, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

In den nächsten Tagen zeige ich euch jeweils ein Detail aus der Zeichnung Aus meinen Gedanken.

Die 76 x 56 cm große Zeichnung ist gerade auf Hahnmühle Leonardo Büttenpapier am Entstehen.

Für mehr Text fehlt mir gerade die Energie.

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Lockdown Litany

dutch east indies architecture | Tempo Doeloe #9 - Bandung, Hotel ...

The usual combination-

a doctor gone to seed and

a rum skipper in the South China Seas,


in accordance with the author’s predilections

a handsome tow haired young man

predictably on the run from some

funny business that sadly

he has done.


A storm arises and shakes

the bored doctor’s equanimity

to the core;

only the crafty wicked sea captain

can negotiate such raging seas.


They arrive to the transparent tranquillity

of a tiny Dutch island.

Finding lodgings and satisfactorily breakfasting

the travellers meet eccentric characters

both esoteric and exotic.


Naturally, a beautiful maiden arrives,

a stunning love scene soon  ensues

involving the tow haired Australian

on the loose from his dirty deed

and the prose flows engagingly enough.


The novelist must tie up his plot.

The women behave in various unladylike ways.

The story clangs, chancy and unreal.

The body count mounts

as fictional fate  mechanically reveals.


You really have to ask yourself

if this is the best use of your time.

Reading this second-rate novel

by this first-rate novelist.


Even then the ending was uncertain,


perhaps prefiguring the postmodern.



#French Jean Barois

Been meaning to read Michael Rosen on Zola in England.


  • Author: R. M. du Gard
  • Title: Jean Barois
  • Published: 1913
  • Genre: historical novel with ‘mise-en-scene’ dialogue
  • fictive characters based on historical persons l’Affaire Dreyfus
  • Contents: 3 parts, 496 pages
  • Language: French
  • Trivia: Nobel Prize 1937
  • #20BooksOfSummer20

1. Explain the title of the book.
Jean Barois is the name of the main character. He grew up in a French provincial town and was educated in a catholic college.

2. What is the predominant element in the story?
Narrative: Du Gard is renowned for the different techniques:
direct dialogue: mise-en-scene
interior monolgue
free direct speech: (the narrator takes on the speech of the character)
“Tu vois, toi…”
tone signifies that… “ Vous savez bien que je ne comprends bien à vos lectures.”
camera effect: – Jean Barois’s business card: the last address lines are crossed out.
In this ‘snapshot’ Barois tells us the Jean is unemployed. (pg 161)

3. Who is…

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Dampfschiff „Fürth“: Bordverpflegung nach Musterrolle

Sehr iinteressant und detailliert!

Das kurze, aber bewegte Leben des Frachtdampfers „Fürth“

Heute gibts Labskaus!

Bildnachweis Titelbild: Musterrolle des Dampfschiffes „Neumünster“, Seite 2, Ausschnitt,
mit freundlicher Genehmigung des © State Records Office of Western Australia, Perth, Cons. 4230/1.03

Die Musterrolle

Von einem Schwesterschiff der „Fürth“, dem Dampfschiff „Neumünster“, ist in Westaustralien eine Musterrolle erhalten, die nach der Beschlagnahmung des Schiffes in Fremantle zu den Gerichtsakten kam und bis heute vom Nationalarchiv aufbewahrt wird (© State Records Office of Western Australia, Perth, Cons. 4230/1.03)

Darin finden sich auch Informationen über die Verpflegung der Seeleute, denn diese musste laut Seemannsordnung in der Musterrolle des jeweiligen Schiffes eingetragen sein.

So schön, wie es die Seemannsordnung von 1902 in der Sprache der damaligen Zeit formuliert, könnte ich das nicht ausdrücken, deshalb hier der Text im Original:

„Insbesondere muß aus der Musterrolle erhellen, was dem Schiffsmanne für den Tag an Speise und Trank gebührt.“
Zitat aus § 14 der Seemannsordnung vom 2. Juni 1902; abgerufen unter

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Guest article: ‘Ten Things I can’t Wait to do in London when the World Reopens’ by Cathryn Goddard

Near to Daunt’s in Marylebone High Street is the Oxfam shop which also has a pretty good selection and CDs too!


I live in the depths of South London and have missed the freedom of the Capital. This isn’t exactly a hardship in the grand scheme things. But when the days are grey and I feel down in lockdown, I think of what I will do when I can fully return to the City I love.

Going down the rabbit hole

I have been so excited for the V&A’s major exhibition of Alice: Adventures in Wonderland, since its announcement in 2019. How could you not be with the lead marketing images? Luckily, according to the museum’s website, the exhibition is postponed for a later date.

I’ve also missed coffee in the V&A’s cafe, designed by William Morris, James Gamble and William Poynter. I love starting my day in this mosaic wonderland with the most spectacular chandelier in London @vam

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Every Autumn, 1-54 brings together the most…

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Thoughts on history in the making

We seem currently to be going through a period of iconoclasm which has an interesting history itself. One of my favourite plays is “Forty Years On” by Alan Bennett. It often seems to me that British, and particularly English, society resembles some sort of minor public school. Hence I can easily hear John Gielgud intoning Ecclesiastes 44-1:-

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. 2The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. 3Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: 4Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions.

Now, when I googled this a moment ago, I discovered that the first six words of the title refers to a book written some 75 years ago by Agee and Evans with photographs of tenant farmers and their dreadful plight in the depression. The verse from Ecclesiastes was obscured and immediately raises the question about how the meaning of the past can be changed or indeed obscured. It also raises the questions about for whom history might be written, recorded or commemorated.

However, before examining the text, consider the last sentence….” meet For the people, WISE and ELOQUENT are their instructions”. Well it would be nice if the present incumbents of the senior management team were wise and concerned for the people and by no means can the repetitive bumbling be described as eloquence.

(Incidentally, I remember hearing that controversial Cornishman D.M. Thomas remarking once that we had moved from reading Isaiah to watching dire television in two generations!)

Now before we start praising famous men, let alone building statues to them, we also need to consider women and children. The statue which really brought pimples to the skin and still does was near the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin which shows those children going to the West in the Kindertransport and those from whom they have been sundered, facing the death camps in the East. Then, also very moving is the statue by Kathe Kollwitz. This sculpture is under an oculus and exposed to the rain, snow and cold symbolising the suffering of civilians during World War II. It is a pieta- a woman with her dead child. She had lost her son, Peter on the battlefield in the First World War.

At this point I should like to recommend a book and close with a couple of quotations which I think are worth pondering. The book is by Rachel Hewitt and is called “A Revolution in Feeling” It deals with the changes of feelings during the 1790s. To quote from the dust jacket;” Every society in every age, feels differently, and from the seismic shifts of the 1790s Britain emerged the contours of our contemporary attitude to need, longing and emotion”.

Now from that complex but original thinker Walter Benjamin, This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

WALTER BENJAMIN, Theses on the Philosophy of History

Here we return to eloquence again, a reminder that style in historical writers engage our interest from Hazlitt-

The history of mankind is a romance, a mask, a tragedy, constructed upon the principles of POETICAL JUSTICE; it is a noble or royal hunt, in which what is sport to the few is death to the many, and in which the spectators halloo and encourage the strong to set upon the weak, and cry havoc in the chase, though they do not share in the spoil.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays


Finally, I listened to a radio programme last night about refugees in camps across the Channel in France desperate to escape persecution and many of them, children in conditions cramped as in a slave ship. What are we going to do to alleviate their situation?

When German trains saved Jewish kids -

Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture 'Mother with her Dead Son', Neue Wache ...


On Iconoclasm

There may be elements of magical thinking in relation to monuments as clearly their destruction does not entail the erasure of the past or the racist structures still in existence. It might be argued that in their removal they can become instrumental towards that aim. Some may also consider that they are works of art which raises further questions about aesthetics – content and form etc.