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Posts Tagged ‘D. H. Lawrence’

Twenty-Four-Hour Bookstore, and Other News

April 24, 2014 | by

twenty-four hour bookstore

Beijing’s new twenty-four-hour bookstore.

  • Fact: in 1934, H. G. Wells interviewed Stalin.
  • Professor Richard H. Hoggart has died, at ninety-five. In 1960, Hoggart helped to end British censorship of Lady Chatterley’s Lover; he is “widely credited as the most persuasive in convincing a jury of nine men and three women that Lawrence’s graphic descriptions of sex between Lady Constance Chatterley and her husband’s groundskeeper, Oliver Mellors, were not obscene.”
  • Beijing now has a twenty-four-hour bookstore. It has nightly promotional offers and air-conditioning. “We want to create an intellectual environment for book lovers,” the store’s manager said. But lest you think it sounds like paradise: “We mainly sell social science books.”
  • The critic Franco Moretti “pursues literary research of a digital and quantitative nature”; in other words, he handles books as if they’re mountains of data. “I’m interested in the survival of genres, of texts, of forms. I’m a formalist. I think that should be the basis of literary analysis because, I suspect, that is also the basis of readers’ choices, although readers may not be aware of that. They don’t seem to choose a story. They choose a story told in a certain way, with a certain style and sense of events.”
  • For Mary Gaitskill, Let’s Talk About Love, Carl Wilson’s excellent book about Céline Dion, becomes a meditation on our preoccupation with cool: our ferocious disdain for Dion suggests we live in “a world of illusory shared experiences, ready-made identities, manipulation, and masks so dense and omnipresent that in this world, an actual human face is ludicrous or ‘crazy’; a world in which authenticity is jealously held sacrosanct and yet is often unwelcome or simply unrecognizable when it appears.”

 

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The Circus Is Brighter in Poland, and Other News

April 1, 2014 | by

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“Cyrk” poster, designed by Lech Majewski, Poland, 1973.

  • D. H. Lawrence’s hometown has opened a new pub called the Lady Chatterley.
  • An enterprising fourteen-year-old has an urgent message for the government: change your official typeface to Garamond and you’ll save millions.
  • Shakespeare plays illustrated in three easy panels. (“Three witches tell Macbeth he will be king. Macbeth kills lots of people in order to be king. Macbeth is killed.”)
  • Taking stock of Monocle, which is now seven years old: “a magazine that is in general focused on a particular brand of well-heeled global urbanism … Monocle doesn’t have bureaus, it has bureaux what Monocle and its advertisers clearly understand, even if the point is seldom made explicit, is that living in a first-tier city is a luxury good, like a Prada bag or a pair of Hermès boots.”
  • Don’t merely go to the circus. Go to the circus in Communist-era Poland. “The visual style of the Polish School of Posters, funded and sponsored by state commissions, was characterized by vibrant colors, playful humor, hand-lettering, and a bold surrealism that rivaled anything similar artists in the West were doing at the time.”

 

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T. S. Eliot’s “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”

December 18, 2013 | by

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In 1927, Richard de la Mare had an idea for some Christmas cards. Because he was a production director at London’s Faber & Gwyer, his cards were festive poetry pamphlets that could be sent to clients and sold to customers for one shilling a piece. Because two years earlier Geoffrey Faber had lured a banker from Lloyd’s Bank to work as an editor at his publishing house, Faber & Gwyer had T. S. Eliot to contribute to the series.

Named for Shakespeare’s sprite, the Ariel poems each addressed the Christmas holiday or a seasonal theme. G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, Siegfried Sassoon, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell, and W. B. Yeats all contributed. The Ariel series followed a strict formula: identical cardboard bindings; title, illustrator, author, and occasionally an illustration on the cover; and two interior sheets folded to make four pages. The first page repeated the title information; the following three featured the poem and an original illustration.

T. S. Eliot wrote six poems for the series: “The Journey of the Magi” (1927), “A Song for Simeon” (1928), “Animula” (1929), “Marina” (1930), “Triumphal March” (1931), and, later when the series was revived, “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” (1954). Only thirty-four lines long, that final poem is like a whisper in the whirlwind of dramatic plays and long poems that characterize most of Eliot’s later work. “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” came decades after “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1917) and The Waste Land (1922), years after Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) and The Four Quartets (1943).

I think of Eliot’s Christmas trees every year around this time: when firs, pines, and spruces appear in living rooms, storefronts, and town squares around the country. Eliot wrote the poem when he was sixty-six years old. His voice is wizened, yet wistful as he reaches through all the years of his life to recover “the spirit of wonder” from his earliest Christmases. Though formal and serious, the poem seems almost saccharine when compared to his earlier work. It will surprise many that the poet of fragments and ruins eventually turned his attention to the pretty packages and bright lights of Christmas. Read More »

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Gesundheit

September 11, 2013 | by

D.H. Lawrence, by Maria Hubrecht, chalk, 1920-192. National Portrait Gallery

D. H. Lawrence, by Maria Hubrecht, chalk, 1920–21. National Portrait Gallery.

“I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.” ―D. H. Lawrence, letter to Cynthia Asquith, 1913

 

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The Funnies, Part 4

May 2, 2013 | by

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D. H. Lawrence’s “Pomegranate”

July 11, 2012 | by

Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Sometimes in life you get yelled at. No matter your moral fiber, it can’t be avoided all the time. It happens in Marine Corps boot camp; it happens in rush-hour subway cars; it happens if your mother catches you reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover at an impressionable young age. But one place you don’t expect to get harangued, one place where the lid’s supposed to stay on the pot, is poetry.

So cracking open D. H. Lawrence’s seemingly innocuous Birds, Beasts, Flowers is a bit of a shock. Lawrence is, of course, better known for his novels and short stories; verse can unleash in him an irritating Whitmanesque mania, an exhibitionist verbal autoeroticism. But that’s not the case here. You flip past the title page and the index to the first poem, “Pomegranate,” and before your eyes can adjust to the typeface, you’re in trouble. Big trouble:

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