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Sheer Delight 11: Sorolla and Zorn

Love the brilliant white of Sorolla. Anders Zorn is well known here in Cornwall and his paintings of fish landed in St Ives.

The Eclectic Light Company

Having looked in the previous article at how the first of the three modern masters depicted clothing and fabrics, this article turns to the other two, Joaquín Sorolla from Spain and Anders Zorn from Sweden. Both had the benefits of classical education, and started their careers as realists in that tradition.

Sorolla travelled to Madrid in 1881 to study the Masters, being influenced by Velázquez, and exhibited in the National Fine Arts Exhibition there. After that he studied at the Spanish Academy in Rome.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, Café in Paris (1885), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, location not known. WikiArt. Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923), Café in Paris (1885), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, location not known. WikiArt.

In 1885 he spent the summer in Paris, where he was influenced by Impressionism, and the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage (who had died only six months earlier) and Adolf von Menzel in particular. His painterly Café in Paris was made at that time. Although the background is…

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Blue Boat, Isle of Crete, Greece

Nicholas Koch

Blue Boat, Isle of Crete, Greece

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Boarding-house novels – a few of my favourites from the shelves  

I grew up in a Bed and Breakfast house so feel pretty familiar with the scene. Would recommend Hotel Savoy by Joseph Roth.

JacquiWine's Journal

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite novels set in hotels, featuring much-loved modern classics such as Vicki Baum’s Grand Hotel, Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac and Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. The post proved quite a hit, with many of you adding your own recommendations in the comments. Many thanks for those suggestions – I now have several excellent possibilities to check out!

As promised in the ‘hotels’ post, here’s my follow-up piece on boarding-house novels, an interesting variant on the theme. While boarding houses have been around since the 19th century, they were particularly common in the first half of the 20th century, offering each ‘boarder’ the opportunity to rent a room cost-effectively, particularly in towns or cities.

Just like hotel guests, every boarder comes with their own backstory, habits and peculiarities, throwing up the…

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27 June, 2022 09:59

Poetic and romantic!

Nicholas Koch

Fog, Venice, Italy

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Sorrento, Italy

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Entrance, Mylne’s Court, Edinburgh, Scotland

Nicholas Koch

Entrance, Mylne’s Court, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Siegfried Sassoon: Does It Matter?

Fascinating- I see there has just emerged the film “Benediction” as well as a book on the history of the Sassoon family, “The Global Family”.

LIT.GAZ.

Does it matter? – losing your legs?
For people will always be kind,
And you need not show that you mind
When others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.


Does it matter? – losing your sight?
There’s such splendid work for the blind;
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.


Do they matter-those dreams in the pit?
You can drink and forget and be glad,
And people won’t say that you’re mad;
For they know that you’ve fought for your country,
And no one will worry a bit.

Another poem from Sassoon designed to shock readers back home, more than anything else, I feel. Let’s start with the jaunty rhythm, the metre forcing you to sound jolly and cheerful as you read the poem aloud, even as the words themselves hint at…

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Arched Garden Entry, Provence, France

Nicholas Koch

Arched Garden Entry, Provence, France

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The Love-charm of Bombs, Restless Lives in the Second World War, by Lara Feigel

Brilliant and detailed review-excellent!

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

This book has a bizarre, somewhat tasteless title, but The Love-charm of Bombs, Restless Lives in the Second World War is an excellent chronicle of World War Two, seen through the eyes of five writers and their circles of friends and family. Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Henry Yorke (a.k.a. Henry Green) and the Austrian Hilde Spiel were all prominent writers in London at the time, and their work is testimony to the mood of the time.

These writers, firefighting, ambulance-driving, patrolling the streets, were the successors of the soldier poets of the First World War […]. Like the poets in the trenches, Bowen,  Greene, Macaulay and Yorke were participants rather than witnesses, risking death, night after night in defence of their city. The Second World War was a total war.  No one escaped the danger and every Londoner was vulnerable.  While the fighting in the First World War…

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Siegfried Sassoon: The General

……sadly makes me think of the gathering turbulence in Ukraine!

LIT.GAZ.

Good-morning; good-morning!’ the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
……
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

If Wilfred Owen is ‘in your face’ through his use of graphic detail in many of his war poems, Siegfried Sassoon is often brutally out to shock by saying a different kind of unspeakable thing. We see it here in a very short but vicious poem which goes straight to the heart of an issue that historians still argue about today: the competence or incompetence of the high command, those who ran the war and took the decisions that led to…

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