The Charming Paintings of Pietro Antonio Rotari(1707-1762)

Next to my laptop propped against the now never used printer is a postcard which I bought at the remarkable Musée Jacquemart–André. This lovely gallery is grandly situated in the Boulevard Haussman in the 8th Arrondissment (huitieme). The postcard shows what a Scotsman might have called a fair bonny lassie. This Italian Baroque painter was… Continue reading The Charming Paintings of Pietro Antonio Rotari(1707-1762)

Housman on The First of May

THE FIRST. O F ΜΑΥ The orchards half the wayFrom home to Ludlow fairFlowered on the first of MayIn Mays when I was there;And seen from stile or turningThe plume of smoke would showWhere fires were burningThat went out long ago. The plum broke forth in green,The pear stood high and snowed,My friends and I… Continue reading Housman on The First of May

The Mad Pomegranate Tree

I had recently been perusing Cavafy – particularly reading the essay on him written by that doyen of Dons, Maurice Bowra in his book, The Creative Experiment. Bowra, of whom it has been said, ” …..either the most distinguished or the most notorious Oxford don of the early twentieth century. Classicist, poet, wit, raconteur extraordinary, and… Continue reading The Mad Pomegranate Tree

Two somewhat neglected 18th Cent Philosophers

The most accessible introduction to great philosophers, for me anyway, are the You-Tube programmes made by Bryan Magee maybe some 30 years ago. Particularly interesting was Iris Murdoch talking about Philosophy and Literature. Then there was the lucid conversation with Anthony Quinton on Spinoza and Leibnitz. The clearest philosophy book I managed to grasp however,… Continue reading Two somewhat neglected 18th Cent Philosophers

Lawrence Durrell and his Coconuts

Many people will have seen the excellent portrayal of Larry Durrell by Josh O’Connor in the TV Series “Meet the Durrells“. However, my personal encounter with this fellow was at least 50 years ago when I read “The Alexandria Quartet“. I probably was not sufficiently well read at the time to make much sense of… Continue reading Lawrence Durrell and his Coconuts

British Journals investigate China

I think that it was Gavin Ewart who said that well informed persons “Take their clues from the Weekly Reviews”. In the past few weeks I have been interested in the latest viewpoints on China in the World today. I grew up knowing very well a Methodist Minister who had been part of the Chinese… Continue reading British Journals investigate China

Musings on Catullus, Housman and Stoppard

From Catullus 64 Peliaco quondam prognatae uertice pinusdicuntur liquidas Neptuni nasse per undasPhasidos ad fluctus et fines Aeetaeos,cum lecti iuuenes, Argiuae robora pubis,auratam optantes Colchis auertere pellemausi sunt uada salsa cita decurrere puppi,caerula uerrentes abiegnis aequora palmis.diua quibus retinens in summis urbibus arces,ipsa leui fecit uolitantem flamine currum,pinea coniungens inflexae texta carinae.illa rudem cursu prima… Continue reading Musings on Catullus, Housman and Stoppard

World Poetry Day-Ovid in Exile -from Tristia Book 3

Barbarian Incursions If such waters had once been yours, Leander, those straits would not be guilty of your death. Since the dolphins can’t hurl themselves into the air, harsh winter holds them back if they try: and though Boreas roars and thrashes his wings, there’s no wave on the besieged waters. The ships stand locked in frozen marble, and no… Continue reading World Poetry Day-Ovid in Exile -from Tristia Book 3

Listening to Reid

Well, perhaps I have had too much time on my hands and a surfeit of Government adverts on Classic F.M. The latter causing my blood pressure to rise despite the compensating soothing by a combination of the symphonies and the smooth and slightly manic A.A. (Alexander Armstrong). Despite the irritations of the lockdown the discovery… Continue reading Listening to Reid