In Marguerite Yourcenar’s (1903-1987) Oriental Tales, there is a story “Aphrodissia, The Widow” which deals with the problem of secret grief, that is secret because the source, the relationship with the lost object is a secret but also forbidden.
Borges and Maps
‘…In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province’
Le Carré’s Smiley: spy craft and psychiatry
Always to be attentive to the mundane and ordinary and to question what silence and style are denoting. It is the attentiveness, that initially is exhausting, that eventually comes to be automatic and constantly switched on.
Alejandra Pizarnik: poet of mists and shadows
Reading Alejandra Pizarnick (1936-1972) is like standing by the drystone wall leading towards Hardcastle Craggs from Hebden Bridge in the darkening evening, just before Crimsworth Terrace. And looking up the valley, a valley draped in mist, a subdued greyness like a gauze hanging there with the surreal shadows of the hills, just about visible. And then, looking at oneself, a dense pith of darkness, there and not there, again just barely visible. That is what her poetry is like, all mist and shadows, slippery yet sharp as a knife edge, grazing against the sky, sometimes brushing the sky and at other times kissing it.
COVID19- The Plague of Athens 430 BC
At this time of the year, usually, I would join J in Hebden Bridge. The walk from the station would take me up the hill towards Hardcastle Craggs winding upwards, skirting past the bowl of Hebden Bridge and then snaking towards Peckett Well, before turning to the slip road aiming for Midgehole. In late April…
COVID19: Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, runs 600 metres from the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and is believed to be the route that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. There are today, nine Stations of the Cross. I am thinking of this today as we approach Easter,…
Chekhov and the 1892 Russian Cholera epidemic
Anton Chekhov studied medicine at the University of Moscow, graduating in 1884. He had already published a short story Dragonfly in 1880 whilst he was a medical student and in the year of his graduation published The Tales of Melponeme. He moved to Melikhovo, an estate 45 miles from Moscow in 1892. This was also…
Continue reading ➞ Chekhov and the 1892 Russian Cholera epidemic
Turgenev’s ‘District Doctor’
It was not exactly the opening sentence in Turgenev’s ‘District Doctor’ but it was close: Strange things happen on this earth: you can live a long while with someone and be on the friendliest terms, and yet you’ll never talk openly with him, from the depths of your soul; whilst with someone else you…
Chekhov: death and dying
There are quite a number of Chekhov’s short stories that deal in the business of dying and death:‘ The Bishop’, ‘Typhus’, and ‘A Tragic Actor’ are examples. However, my favourite is ‘A Dreary Story From the Notebook of an Old Man’. I suppose I am drawn to the story because our protagonist is an aging…
What are so many straight trees to me?
Frieda Weekley met DH Lawrence in March 1912. She later eloped with him, leaving her husband Ernest Weekley and her three children. After obtaining her divorce, they were married in July 1914. This blog is about the complex ramifications of a woman leaving her children and her husband for her lover. I have known…