One day John XXIII visited the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome which is administered by a religious sisterhood. The mother superior, deeply stirred by the pope’s visit, went up to introduce herself: “Most Holy Father, I am the Superior of the Holy Spirit!” “Well, I must say you’re lucky,” the pope replied. “I’m only the Vicar of Jesus Christ!” Cited in Wit and Wisdom of Good Pope John, collected by Henri Fesquet and translated by Salvatore Attanasio.
Featured Image: Henry Miller, Paris. Photography by Brassaï, 1931.
We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it, it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it, it means danger, revolution, anarchy. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945).
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. It is the first book of the Deuteronomistic history or the story of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile. It contains many different kinds of highly synthesized and edited literary materials. These include various etiologies (explanations of customs, institutions, landmarks, etc.) and battle narratives. These materials are thereby complex from a literary perspective.
The Book of Joshua relates the military campaigns of the Israelites in central, southern and northern Canaan. It tells of the destruction of their enemies and the division of the land among the Twelve Tribes. These developments are conveyed by two set-pieces—the first by God commanding the conquest of the land (Chapter 1) and, the second, by Joshua exhorting the people to a faithful observance of the Law revealed to Moses (Chapter 23).
Is the Book of Joshua of historical value? Clearly historical, the Israelites gained control of Canaan—and the book relates that it was accomplished by a series of battle victories which is not unreasonable to presume. The book’s broad narrative is generally to be founded on history.
The Book of Joshua also contains many creations of the popular imagination or folklore which makes the historical reliance on its details presented as fact in the narrative not indisputable. Where the meagerness of materials is present, however, the ancient compilers and editors did not elaborate based on broad or simple textual statements but moderated descriptions to the available details. Today’s modern archaeology, while able to provide insight into human activity in Canaan throughout this time period (13th century BCE and later), the historical quest to establish a clear, concrete connection to episodes mentioned in the Book of Joshua by this science can be hard to support.
The figure of Joshua in the role of significant military leader is integral to the narrative and found in the most ancient, original text (i.e., his role in the formation of the 12-tribe league at Shecham, Chapter 24), among other examples. All factors point to Joshua’s significant role in the conquest.
In terms of the Book of Joshua’s religious aspects there are several layers of religious tradition that are held in common but with singular or special emphases. The book relates the conquest as an act of God. For man, the act of conquest or “holy war” was closely associated to an act of worship though that idea was based on an older, primitive religious practice that was not practiced at least by the time the Book of Joshua was completed in the mid6th century BCE. The Book of Joshua also conveys another religiously primitive idea–that of collective guilt (Chapter 7).
Religious tradition is expressed in the ideas of God’s covenant and that morality is based on obedience to the Law as part of their close personal relationship to God. In chapters 13 to 21 which were added later, the book expresses God’s fidelity to the Israelites to the point of restoration of total possession of the land although while in exile that idea would be a dream. The idea of a future Israel that is restored was further embellished religiously—such as the 12 tribes gathered to worship at the sanctuary and providing carefully for its tribal priests (Chapter 22).
Joshua’s speech ends the book with a warning about the future (Chapter 23) though the following and last chapter added later ends differently. In that last chapter the people of Israel proclaim their choice to serve God (Joshua 24:24) and that the choice of Israel to be in relationship with God is a free one (24:15). The narrative of the Book of Joshua closes with Joshua’s death at the age of 110 years old and his burial among the heritage of the descendants of Joseph (24: 29, 32).
SOURCE: The Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Joseph A Fitzmeyer, S.J., and Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Joshua 10: 22-27.
Featured Image: George Gordon (Lord Byron) by Richard Westall (1765-1836). National Portrait Gallery, London.
Letter to the poet Thomas Moore, October 28, 1815. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 4 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 8 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Byron was describing the early nationalist fervor in Italy for which the poet played an active role. Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 8 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Byron’s Letters and Journals, vol. 3 (1973-81; edited by Leslie A. Marchand).
Childe Harold, canto 3, stanza 90.
Dosso Dossi (c. 1489–1542).
Dosso Dossi (c. 1489–1542), Melissa, 1520s. 69.25 x 68.5 inches, Borghese Gallery, Rome.
Dosso Dossi (c. 1489-1542)– whose actual name was Giovanni de Lutero–was an Italian Renaissance painter who belonged to the School of Ferrara. Its scores of artists painted mainly in the Venetian style greatly influenced by Giorgione (c. 1477-1510). Dosso Dossi dominated the school that maintained its tradition of painterly artificiality. Melissa is Dosso Dossi’s masterpiece–a benign personage in the Italian epic poem Orlando Furioso (1516) of Ludovico Ariosto (1574-1533). The enchantress frees humans from the black arts of the wicked sorceress Alcina. The painting depicts Melissa at the moment she burns the seals and spells of Alcina and liberates two men from the tree trunks. The realistic dog is certainly a human being under Alcina’s spell who will be liberated by Melissa and take up again the suit of armor he watches earnestly. The trees are Giorgionesque–stylized, artificially-lighted elements that provide the magical setting for the poem’s characters. The figure of Melissa, draped in a fringed red-and-gold-brocaded robe and enriched by Titianesque glazes, is particularly alluring in the sparkling gold and green setting moored by meticulously and softly portrayed meadows, background figures, and distant city towers.
SOURCE: History of Italian Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Third Edition, Frederick Hartt, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1987.
Duccio di Buoninsegna (c.1255-c.1319).
The artistic tradition of the Sienese master, Duccio di Buoninsegna (c. 1255-c. 1319), was based on older Greek painting. Yet Duccio was no less “modern” than Giotto (1266-1377). Giotto, who was trained by Cimabue (1240-1302), directed his creative artistry towards concrete reality whose perception derived from the artist’s thoughts and feelings of it. Duccio would achieve a similar but unique synthesis through and from a different direction.
Duccio modernized the older Greek style creating the painting styles of the Sienese school as well as all of early Renaissance painting. Duccio’s artwork is distinguished by his discriminating advance of the Byzantine Post-Hellenism tradition in Tuscany—and following his own encounter with Cimabue who gave the Sienese artist his first important commission in Florence in 1285 —in a masterly delicate way. This delicacy and discrimination are seen in Duccio’s elegant, often light and airy, compositions and rich colors.
Over the next almost 25 years Duccio learned and deployed the elements of various pictorial traditions that by his constant intelligent blending enriched them. Duccio’s style used the iconographic schemata of the ancient Oriental-Byzantine tradition including its glorious color and poetic composition along with the ultra-contemporary French and Gothic linear style. Duccio’s oeuvre epitomizes the artist’s temperament and taste as well as a lifetime of artistic education and culture.
Yet beyond its representation of an event in a scene, Duccio’s painting, not unlike Giotto’s histories, is raised to another level by some of its formal elements – a figure, episode, or gesture – into the artist’s magical world. This quality of Duccio’s art provides a textually clear and comprehensibly observed episode—such as of the Gospels— within a setting that is carefully observed and delineated—and with its totality imbued in finer artistic and aesthetic sensibilities.
The imminent drama manifested in Duccio’s iconography works to transcend its representational anecdote, even as figures or episodes of the Bible are easily recognizable. His artwork’s plasticity, with figures and surroundings in serene harmony, emanates a power whose message supersedes, or at least is contiguous to, the painting’s ostensible, usually religious, subject matter.
In the display of such a unique artistic quality, Duccio’s artwork functions in a dream-like and imaginatively timeless dimension—a unique poetical language—while it conveys an historical condition in any of his intentionally-varying episodes. Duccio’s carefully delineated religious scenes, softly and carefully conveyed, would characterize emerging Sienese painting and make religious painting exceedingly popular in Europe over the next 450 years.
SOURCE: Giotto and His Contemporaries, Enzo Carli, trans. Susan Bellamy, New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1958.
Duccio Di Buoninsegna (c.1255-c.1319), The Apparition of Jesus at the Closed Doors. The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy.
Featured Image: John Keats (detail) by Joseph Severn (1793-1879), 1819.
John Keats’s first book of poems was published in 1817 when the English poet was 22 years old. From an early age, Keats, studying under the literary Rev. John Clarke, became a passionate reader of poetry and was introduced to the theater and music which he loved. Though both of his parents had died by the time Keats was in his early teens, their respectable estate never reached him in his short lifetime. His guardian sent the minor Keats to work in the medical field. But in 1813, the young Keats abandoned that apprenticeship for another — and began to write poetry.
Keats’ early poetic mentor was Leigh Hunt (1784-1859), editor of the Examiner, who introduced Keats to great established poets such as William Hazlitt (1778-1830), Charles Lamb (1775-1834), and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Keats also made the acquaintance of painter Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846) and made other intimate lifelong friends. In 1816 Keats wrote his first major sonnet (On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer) in which he laid out an ambitious plan for his poetry.
In 1817 Keats wrote the 4,000-line Endymion though, ever a perfectionist, Keats considered it merely a poetic exercise. Keats soon isolated himself consciously from others to benefit his art. His over-riding quest was to seek his artistic individuality and poetic voice.
In 1818 external personal and professional events circumscribed Keats’ precious independence. First, his poetry for political rather than artistic reasons was ridiculed in the press. But more problematic for the brave Keats was that some of his immediate family members had become suddenly destitute or died. Keats’ spring and summer walking tour in 1818 of England, Scotland, and Ireland resulted in Keats’s personal inspiration but a chronically weakened state of physical health. In those same months, the 23-year-old poet had fallen in love with the vivacious, pretty and thoroughly nonliterary 18-year-old Fanny Brawne (1800-1865). They soon became engaged, but Keats’ inferior health and his strained to nonexistent finances impeded their getting married which frustrated Keats.
In the rapidly reached final period of his life and poetic career, Keats wrote several of his masterpieces. In 1819 Keats wrote, one after another, The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, his Odes (including Ode To a Grecian Urn), Lamia, and several major sonnets. These poems possess the characteristics of Keats’ mature work—that of grace, sensuality, and sympathetic objectivity. It sets before the reader the conflicting and contradictory nature of existence, signaling a “both-and” experience of living in the world, including grappling with the problem of good and evil. Keats writes plainly in a letter in that period about life’s suffering—it is a “world…full of misery and heartbreak, pain, sickness and oppression.”
Weakened by tuberculosis, Keats’ health took a bad turn in February 1820 so much so that the poet realized he was dying. By that fall he traveled to Italy seeking a milder climate for his health. He stayed in Rome until the end came. On February 23, 1821 —like his mother and brother before him— Keats died of tuberculosis. The 25-year-old poet was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.
Despite his gallant reluctance to yield to bitterness or despair for his life’s wasteful circumstances, with death died Keats’ ambitious plans of renewed poetic achievement and an ongoing passionate love for Fanny Brawne. Although today’s reader can continue to savor John Keats’ poems and letters prior to his having stopped writing at 24 years old, what might have been in terms of the English Romantic poet’s fully realized potential is to offer a conjecture about one of the English language’s greatest poets.
SOURCES: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Third Edition, Volume 2, W.W. Norton & company, Inc. New York, 1974.
John Keats, Walter Jackson Bate, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964.
John Keats, letter to his brother and sister, 1819.
John Keats, letter to his brother George Keats (1797-1841) and his wife Georgiana Augusta Wylie Keats (1798-1879). Married in England in May 1818, the Keats soon departed for America, specifically to Kentucky and southeastern Illinois by way of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Keats are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Mrs. Keats re-married following the death of the poet’s brother who died of natural causes while experiencing serious financial setbacks.
The poet suffered from– and died of– tuberculosis at the age of 25 years.
Letter to his brothers, George and Thomas Keats, January 13-19, 1818. Letters of John Keats, no. 37, edited by Frederick Page, 1954.
1939 Chevrolet, Des Plaines, Illinois, 2018.
2019 Dodge Challenger, Oakbrook, Illinois, 2018.
Plymouth, 1940 license plate, Wheaton, Illinois, 2018.
1968 Chevrolet Corvair, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2018.
Chevrolet Corvette, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2017.
Rusty but trusty, 2018.
Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible, Chicago, Illinois, 2015.
1992 Case IH 7150, DeKalb Co., Illinois, 2016.
DeKalb Co., Illinois, 2016.
Kaiser Jeep M-725 (1967), Dixon, Illinois, 2017.
1950s Chevy 210, DeKalb Co., Illinois, 2016.
1960s Ford Falcon, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin, 2018.
Michael Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American businessman, politician, and author. He is the CEO and majority owner of Bloomberg L.P, which he co-founded. Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 where he presided over a period of relative prosperity as well as controversial city-wide policies and practices such as “stop and frisk.” By having the city’s term limits law extended in 2008, Bloomberg served three consecutive four-year terms as mayor. In 2020 he became a candidate for President of the United States running in the Democratic Party primaries. According to Forbes business magazine, Bloomberg is worth about $64 billion. He is divorced and has two grown daughters.
Feature Image- This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of their rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Edward Morgan Forster (1879–1970) is an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist.
The heart of Forster’s literary work is humanist in nature as his characters depict—whether in Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), A Room with a View (1908), his masterpiece Howards End (1910), his most successful work A Passage to India (1924), Maurice (1971), and others — the honest pursuit of personal tracks and connections in the face of first looking to impress or please the inevitable and constantly mutating restrictions of contemporary society.
In “A Room With a View” it is 1907 and young English girl Lucy Honeychurch — “a young lady with a quantity of dark hair and a very pretty, pale, undeveloped face”– is staying at an Italian pension with her cousin and chaperone, Miss Charlotte Bartlett while on holiday in and around Florence.
At dinner in the pension they meet some other English guests: a reverend, two older Miss Alans, a writer Miss Lavish, and a Mr. Emerson and his handsome adult son, George. They discuss the merits and practicalities of having a room with a view in Florence.
The next day while touring the city Lucy faints in the Piazza della Signoria having witnessed a stabbing and is rescued by handsome George. After they establish this connection George and Lucy are together again to join a group tour of the nearby countryside. Eventually finding themselves alone, George embraces Lucy and they kiss. This is witnessed by Miss Bartlett who cuts short her and Lucy’s visit to Florence.
After visiting the Vyses in Rome, Lucy and Miss Bartlett have returned to Surrey in England. Lucy accepts one of the marriage proposals from snobby Cecil Vyse, a drawing room match. By happenstance of personal connection, George and his father, Mr. Emerson, had made passing acquaintance with Cecil at the National Gallery in London which led to Cecil inviting them to take up residence in a rental house next door to Lucy Honeychurch. Lucy immediately recalls the Emersons and their personal connection in Florence, especially with George. But her escape to Rome and then to Windy Corner, her home in Surrey, added to her being uncomfortable with their renewed intimate presence, particularly since she is just engaged to Cecil, her “Fiasco” as Lucy’s brother Freddy calls him.
Lucy rebuffs George as she ultimately breaks her engagement with Cecil with plans for herself to travel to Greece. Meantime, George has made plans of his own to leave. At this juncture, Lucy admits her feelings for George and cancels her trip. George and Lucy elope to Florence. They take “a room with the view” with the promise of living happily thereafter. Forster observed: “Passion does not blind. No. Passion is sanity, and the woman you love, she is the only person you will ever really understand.”
Chapter I: The Bertolini (7 quotes).
Chapter II: In Santa Croce with No Baedeker (17 quotes).
Chapter III: Music, Violets, and the Letter “S” (15 quotes).
Chapter IV: Fourth Chapter (5 quotes).
Chapter V: Possibilities of a Pleasant Outing (10 quotes).
Chapter VI: The Reverend Arthur Beebe, the Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr. Emerson, Mr. George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett, and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive Out in Carriages to See a View; Italians Drive Them (6 quotes).
Chapter VII: They Return (10 quotes).
Chapter VIII: Medieval (14 quotes).
Chapter IX: Lucy As a Work of Art (11 quotes).
Chapter X: Cecil as a Humourist (11 quotes).
Chapter XI: In Mrs. Vyse’s Well-Appointed Flat (9 quotes).
Chapter XII: Twelfth Chapter (9 quotes)
Chapter XIII: How Miss Bartlett’s Boiler Was So Tiresome (13 quotes)
Chapter XIV: How Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely (9 quotes)
Chapter XV: The Disaster Within (20 quotes)
Chapter XVI: Lying to George (11 quotes)
Chapter XVII: Lying to Cecil (14 quotes)
Chapter XVIII: Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and The Servants (18 quotes)
Chapter XIX: Lying to Mr. Emerson (25 quotes)
Chapter XX: The End of the Middle Ages (11 quotes)
Clodion, The See-Saw, 1775, terracotta. Toledo Museum of Art.
Frédéric Bazille, Self-portrait, 1865-66. The Art Institute of Chicago.
Heads, Female Diety; Bodhisattva; Buddha, stucco, Afghanistan/Pakistan, before 500 C.E. The Art Institute of Chicago.
(From left) Gabriele Münter, Kirche von Reidhausen, 1908, oil on canvas board; G. Münter, Girl with Doll, 1908-09, oil on cardboard; August Macke, Geraniums Before Blue Mountain, 1911, oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum.
Bill Reid, Birth of the World, Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mikazuki (male deity) Noh Mask, Japan, 16th century, cypress wood, colors, brass. The Art Institute of Chicago.
Aristide Maillol, Enchained Action, bronze, 1905.
Charles Collins, Still Life with Game, 1741. Private collection.
Roman Venus, Asia Minor, marble, c.165 CE. Toledo Museum of Art.
Michel Anguier, Amphitrite, 1684. Toledo Museum of Art.
The Dressing Table, William Glackens, c.1922, oil on canvas. Private collection.
Paul Manship, Dancer and Gazelles, 1916, bronze. The Art Institute of Chicago.
Charles Ray, Young Man, 2012, Solid Stainless Steel.
James C. Timbrell, Carolan the Irish Bard, c. 1844, oil on canvas. Private collection.
Gabriele Münter, Portrait Young Woman, 1909, oil on canvas; Kees van Dongen, Quai, Venice, 1921 and Woman with Cat, 1908. Milwaukee Art Museum.
Oil jar, Greece (Athens), terracotta, 450 B.C. The Art Institute of Chicago.
Lorado Taft, Fountain of the Great Lakes, or Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain, 1913. The Art Institute of Chicago (South Garden).
Henry Moore, Large Interior Form, bronze, 1982. The Art Institute of Chicago (North Stanley McCormick Memorial Court).
Henry Moore’s 16-foot sculpture was made when the 84-year-old British artist was concerned with the construction of three-dimensional space, internal forms within solid volumes, and placing his work in a natural setting. Moore had worked primarily in stone but shifted to modeling and bronze casting once these formal concerns emerged. Large Interior Form explores mass and void, gravity and growth within an nature-inspired artist-created form.