Archive for the ‘Hark, I Hear The Canon Roar!’ Category

The Death Of Tragedy From The Spirit Of Pelf

Europeans are often bemused and irritated at the way Hollywood insists on sticking a happy ending onto every story. They wonder why Americans appear to be so unacquainted with the art-form called tragedy. Now, Aristotle taught that the purpose of tragedy was, by evoking emotions of pity and terror in the beholder, to purge him […]

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 11:38 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, Hark, I Hear The Canon Roar!

Keep The Classic Literature Flying

The works of Charles Dickens consist largely of assaults on capitalist oppressors, stuffy conservatives, sycophants and sundry other middle-class monsters. They made such an impression in his own day as to provoke many notable social reforms. Within a century, however, similar middle-class monsters, sycophants, stuffy conservatives and capitalist oppressors had his books on their shelves, […]

“She Has Deceived Her Father, And May Thee”

Elizabethans assumed that if a man was married then his wife was assuredly cheating on him. That means that they must have understood Othello differently from us: if Cassio’s tupping Desdemona was a given, what is the playwright trying to tell us about the protagonist? Is he being a fool, not when he suspects his […]

Why No Female “Resurrection”?

There are many literary treatments of the theme of the redemption of a male criminal or a male nogoodnik. Tolstoy’s last novel comes to mind. What does not exist, as far as I can think, is any treatment of the redemption of a female misanthrope, egotist or monster. Why might this be? For a start, […]

Art’s Error

Although his diagnosis of the human condition is otherwise spot-on, Arthur Schopenhauer made a horrible mistake in teaching that in artistic appreciation we step out of the Will, the ravenous but insatiable life-force that brings us only suffering. Being a gentleman-amateur, and far too poor to buy paintings, he forgot two figures whose dealings with […]

Opera As Eugenics

I am no great expert on opera, so perhaps I should content myself with commending the subject to my betters for examination. But it does occur to me that opera takes to an extreme the narratives to be found elsewhere in our culture, namely the excellence of the reproductively fit and the utter worthlessness of […]

Pay Up To Be Sent Packing?

In Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, the self-contemptuous femme fatale, Nastasya Filippovna, puts herself up for auction among her admirers. The wretched obsessive Rogozhin offers his entire wealth, which she ultimately throws into the fire. Dostoyevskian women generally keep their men on a string with vain hopes, bombarding them with wildly contradictory self-revelations and demands, but even […]

In The Shade Of Financiers

Some English writers become infamous for anti-Semitism, when what they really are should better be described as anti-plutocrats. Chesterton falls into and perhaps leads this category. They do not necessarily seem to think anything about Jews other than that they are rich, acquisitive and ruthless. Chesterton did not, for example, display the sexual anxieties that […]