Reading Thomas Hardy in Dorset

I am preoccupied with the nature of oaths and vows. How is it that we come to find promises binding? What is about words, about language, that utterances take on the status of fiat. There is the associated magic of the written word, the manner in which suddenly the affixed sign turns a dull document from insignificance, from an inert object to a living document that has power and authority.

The Forest of Cedar

The Epic of Gilgamesh was written over 5,000 years ago. It is regarded as the first great work of literature. My interest today is not in the usual emphasis, that is placed, on the examination of the nature of friendship, the treatment of the duties of kings foreshadowing ‘mirrors for princes’ in the Epic. Today, I am preoccupied with the motif of journeys in literature. This theme is most explicit in Homer’s Odyssey and in Aeneas’ Aeneid. 

Idu to Rigasa by train

Martin Esslin in The Theatre of the Absurd said of the absurd If a good play must have cleverly constructed story, these have no story or plot to speak of; if a good play is judged by subtlety of characterization and motivation, these are often without recognizable characters and present the audience with almost mechanical…

Camino Peregrino

I had not previously heard the account that put St James as Jesus’ cousin. In the tradition in Santiago de Compostela, his mother Salome, was the Virgin Mary’s sister. This tradition makes Jesus more human, less divine and therefore, also just more believable. Santiago de Compostela is the third most important sacred site in Christendom,…

Fado at A Severa

Fado at A Severa. It’s all in the shoulders. Where operatic singers, clasp their hands together in prayer, the Fado singer, at least, at A Severa carries the shoulders slightly askew, one scarcely tilted downwards. It is as if all the pushing at empty air or the wagging of the outstretched forefinger in pop music…

Burmese Days

After the sun went down, the light became tranquil, somber, and some might even say sublime. The green field, the white of the cattle egrets, the brownish black colour of the water buffaloes, all became softer, less bleached and in the case of the buffaloes turned from an indiscriminate black to the hide brown, sable…

I pass as all things do, dew on the grass

The title of this post is from Bazan's death poem. He died in 1730 at the age of 69 years. His death poem refers to “dew” an image of transience in Buddhist literature. In my childhood, too, dew would settle, overnight, on the blades of grass, on leaves and flowers like a miraculous secretion on…

The moon leaks out from sleeves of cloud

Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) is best known for his plays, in particular, Six Characters in Search of An Author and Henry IV. However, he also wrote novels and short stories. In his final year, he attempted to write one short story a day and he came close to achieving this aim. These short stories are collected…