Friday, February 2, 2018

The New Oxford Annotate Bible, New Revised Standard Version With The Apocrypha -- Fourth Edition -- c. 2010

Pentateuch

Pentateuch -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Hexateuch (six books: the Pentateuch with Joshua -- the latter book is the first book to record that the promise of the land was only fulfilled with the conquest of the land)

Torat moshe: "the instruction of Moses" -- law plus instruction

Torat moshe: found in later biblical books but the term is not actually found in the Pentateuch

The "belief" that the Pentateuch was written by one author started to lose credibility in the 17th century: Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Benedict (Baruch) Spinoze (1632-1677). This culminated in the development of the Documentary Hypothesis in the nineteenth century: authors of the Pentateuch identified as J, E, P, and D.

J: Yahweh

E: Elohim ("God")

P: which also uses Elohim, is an abbreviation for the Priestly material

D: Deuteronomy

It is unclear how these various sources and legal collections, which now comprise the Torah, came together to form a single book.

R: the redactor(s) -- may have compiled the four sources. If so, most likely took place during the Babylonia exile (586 - 538 BCE) or soon thereafter in the early Persian period.

Genesis

Jewish tradition calls the first book, Bereshit, after the first word in the book, which means, "in the beginning."

Septuagint: old Greek translation of the Torah, the Septuagint, from wiki:
The Greek title Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, lit. "The Translation of the Seventy", and its abbreviation "LXX", derive from the legend of seventy Jewish scholars who translated the Five Books of Moses into Koine Greek as early as the 3rd century BCE.
From wiki:
Ishmael was born to Abraham's and Sarah's handmaiden Hagar (Hājar). (Genesis 16:3). According to the Genesis account, he died at the age of 137 (Genesis 25:17). The Book of Genesis and Islamic traditions consider Ishmael to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites and patriarch of Qaydār. According to Muslim tradition, Ishmael the Patriarch and his mother Hagar are said to be buried next to the Kaaba in Mecca.
Originally believed to have been written by Moses (during the Greco-Roman period).

Genesis was written over many centuries, using oral and written traditions.

Written texts began to appear after the establishment of the monarchy in Israel in the tenth century BCE. [A tenth century source in Judah during the reign of David or Solomon, and an Elohistic source  ("E") written in the Northern Kingdom of Israel sometime during the eight century BCE. This has been disputed but the earliest works now embedded in Genesis were products of scribes working in the context of the monarchies of early Judah and Israel.

Now agreed that much of Genesis written during the Babylonian exile.

More was written during the postexilic period when exiles such as Nehemiah and Ezra had returned and were rebuilding Jerusalem.

Abraham and Sarah
Jacob and Esau
Joseph and his brothers

Notably, despite the male focus of headings like this and in the book itself, it is matriarchs of ancient Israel, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, who often play a determinative role in the Genesis narratives of birth and the fulfillment of God's promise.

Genesis: begins with all the peoples of the world, having descended from Adam and Noah, but quickly narrows to focus on descendants of Abraham, the first to receive God's promise, and then to the descendants of Abraham who receive the promise (Isaac and Jacob/Israel) and those who do not receive the promise (Ishmael and Esau).

Abraham is portrayed as the first monotheist, destroying his father's idols before departing for the promised land.

Within Islam, Ishamel and not Isaac is the most important of Abraham's sons.

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

*****************************
The Historical Books
(actually a mish-mash of books)

Joshua

Judges

Ruth

1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Ezra

Nehemiah

Esther


*****************************
The Poetical and Wisdom Books

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

The Song of Solomon


*****************************
The Prophetic Books

 Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Zechariah

Malachi ("my messenger"

*****************************
The Apochrypha

The Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament

New Revised Standard Version

Tobit

Judith

Esther

The Wisdom of Solomon

Ecclesiasticus, or The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach

Baruch

The Letter of Jeremiah

The Additions to Daniel

The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews

Susanna

Bel and the Dragon

1 Maccabees

2 Maccabees

1 Esdras

The Prayer of Manasseh

Psalm 151

3 Maccabees

2 Esdras

4 Maccabees

*************************
The New Testament

The New Covenant Commonly Called The New Testament Of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

New Revised Standard Version

The Gospels

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Acts

The Letters/Epistles in the New Testament

The Letter of Paul to the Romans 

The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians

The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians

The Letter of Paul to the Galatians

The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians

The Letter of Paul to the Philippians

The Letter of Paul to the Colossians

The First Letter of Paul to The Thessalonians 

The Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians

The Pastoral Epistles

The First Letter of Paul to Timothy

The Second Letter of Paul to Timothy

The Letter of Paul to Titus

The Letter of Paul to Philemon

The Letter to the Hebrews

The Letter of James

The First Letter of Peter

The Second Letter of Peter

The First Letter of John

The Second Letter of John

The Letter of Jude

The Revelation to John









And Then There Was Life: The Plausibility Of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart, c. 2005

And then there was life. I am always amazed how Neo-Darwinists focus on the small questions of life and avoid the big questions of life.

This is how Marc and John introduce us to the ancestor of all extant life.
We do not know whether life originated with RNA- or DNA-based heredity, or whether in fact heredity preceded or followed the evolution of proteins.
Because all recent life forms contain DNA as the stable repository of the sequence of information of proteins and use RNA as an intermediate interpreter of the DNA sequence, we can assert that around three billion years ago bacteria-like organisms were present that had DNA, RNA, a genetic code for 20 amino acids, and ribosomes as factories for making proteins under the direction of RNA.
The basic processes of DNA replication, transcription into an RNA copy, and translation into protein had been established. [Why do the authors say "basic processes"?]
The organism must also have been a self-replicating cell enclosed by an impermeable membrane of two layers (a bilayer) of lipids. 
It must have contained several hundred kinds of enzymes for synthesizing the major components of the cell, including the 20 amino acids, the cell membrane lipids, and the DNA bases.
An energy metabolism based on the breakdown of sugars must have been established at that time. The synthesis of cofactors, which later became vitamins, would have been established as well. [Co-factors first, then vitamins? How would they know that?]
The organism of course [of course] would have had other attributes not commonly shared by its descendants.
Reminds me a of Rudyard Kipling "just-so" story.

Everything above would be part of the "big question of how life arose," but again, the authors in this book will look at the "little questions of how life evolved." After all, once you have the basic recipe and ingredients, there are a gazillion ways to modify the final product.

A critical component of Darwinism is "common descent." If Marc and John use the term, I have not yet seen it. They allude to it but they don't mention "common descent" as an important component of Darwinism. But I digress.

Having said that, they do have an excellent graphic showing the "evolution" or "progress" or "relationship" between prokaryocytes and modern eubacteria and archaea; between prokaryocytes and eukaryocytes; between eukaryocytes and protists; between eukaryocytes and multicellularity; multicellularity and plants, fung, and animals; between multicellularity and body plans; between body plans and 30 phyla of animals (p. 49).

They admit no one can explain how the last ancestor of all extant life came to be. Disappointingly, they waste space on Francis Crick's suggestion that the LAOAEL was extraterrestrial. That simply wastes time moving the issue back one (gigantic) step. It would have been just as easy to say that God created the LAOAEL. [By the way, most refer to this last common ancestor as the "last universal common ancestor" or LUCA.]

Once you have the LUCA, then there can be a gazillion explanations of how things played out, most of which are stymied when Michael Behe starts asking questions.

The writers directly address Michael Behe near the end of the book but, for me, do not make their case.

Marc and John do a great job showing how various life forms developed, but at the end of the day, they could have been describing how various computer operating systems all evolved from the Turing machine.





Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Genealogy Of Casanova

Don Francisco

1428: his natural son Don Jacobe Casanova was born at Saragosa, the capital of Aragon

Don Jacobe Casanova abducts Donna Anna Palafox from a convent the day after she had taken her vows. Don Jacobe Casanove was secretary to King Alfonso.  The two of them, Don Jacobe Casanova and Donna Anna fled to Rome; imprisoned in Rome for a year.

It turns out, at the Pope's palace there was an uncle to Jon Jacobe: the uncle was Don Juan Casanova, master of the sacred palace and uncle to Don Jacobe. Uncle Jon Jacobe insisted that his nephew be freed. Pope Martin III freed the two and let them marry.

All of Anna's and Don Jacobe's children died, except one: Don Juan (named after his great uncle).

Don Juan married Elconora Albini in 1475; they had a son named Marcantonio.

1481: Don Juan fled Rome because he had killed an officer of the King of Naples. He fled to Como with his wife and son. He died on a voyage with Christopher Columbus in 1493.

Marcantonio became a good poet; became secretary to Carinal Pompeo Colonna. He wrote a satire against Giulio de Medici; the satire forced him to flee Rome; fled to Como.

At Como, Marcantonio married Abondia Rezzonica.

Of all things, Giulio de Medici becomes pope, Pope Clement VII. The pope pardoned Marcantonio and summoned him back to Rome. Marcantonio died at the hands of the Imperial troops in 1526; he died of the plague. [Daniel Defoe's  The Year of the Plague, written in 1722 of the plague in 1655.]

Three months after Marcantonio's death, his wife gives birth to Giacomo Casanova (late 1400's).

Giacomo Casanova had left a son in Parma. That son marries Teresa Conti. Teresa Conti has a son, Giacomo. Giacomo marries Anna Roli in 1680.

Giacomo and Anna had two sons: Giovanni Batista, left Parma in 1712; lost.

The other son Gaetano Guiseppe Giacomo, forsook his family in 1715, at the age of 17.

All of that is from his father's diary.

The rest of the genealogy comes from his mother.

Gaetano Guisepe Giacoma falls in love with an actress, Fragoletta. Gaetano becomes an actor. Leaves Fagoletta, and travels to Venice; falls in love with Zanetta, age 16. Zanetta's mother is Marzia.

The Casanova is born to Gaetano and Zanetta in 1725.

Zanetta becomes a widow nine years later with six children.

Casanova was one year old when his father left for London as an actor. Mother and son actually follow Gaetano to London.

Starts to tell his story of what he first remembers, at age 8, in 1733. Talks about his grandmother Marzia.

So, long, long genealogy: Parma, Rome, Venice, London, back to Venice.






Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My Virginia Woolf Library Donated To Our Granddaughter's School -- January 30, 2018

Our oldest granddaughter's high school has reached out to its students to bring in books to enlarge the school's library. It's a relatively new school, and the teachers know that there are a lot of good book out there.

So, I am starting to close down my own library.

The first to go: my prize collection -- the Virginia Woolf library. I have kept a few Virginia Woolf books, but these were given to the school today:

My Virginia Woolf Library
 
Mrs Dalloway: Mapping Streams of Consciousness, David Dowling, c. 1991 
Congenial Spirits: The Selected Ltrs of VW, edited by Joanne Trautmann Banks, c. 1989
Mrs Woolf and the Servants, Alison Light, c. 2008, Harvard Bookstore, hard cover, $7.00; 
Passionate Apprentice: Virginia Woolf, The Early Journals, 1897 - 1909, Virginia Woolf, edited by Mitchell A Leaska, c. 1990 
The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to VW and Bloomsbury, Sarah M. Hall, c. 2007
Selected Works of Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf, c. 2005
Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life, Julia Briggs, c. 2005
The Mrs Dalloway Reader, Virginia Woolf et al, edited by Francine Prose, 2003
Virginia Woolf, Nigel Nicolson, c. 2000
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Manic Depression and the Life of VW, Peter Dally, c. 1999
Who's Afraid of Leonard Woolf, Irene Coates, c. 1998
Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf, Panthea Reid, c. 1996, $7.98
Virginia Woolf: Interviews and Recollections, edited by J. H. Stape, c. 1995
Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: The Hogarth Press, 1917 - 1941, J. H. Willis, c. 1992
Virginia Woolf, Modern Fiction, Susan Dick, c. 1989
Virginia Woolf, Modern Critical Reviews, edited by Harold Bloom, c. 1986
The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to VW, edited by L. DeSalvo and M. A. Leaska, c. 1985
Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life, Lyndall Gordon, c. 1984
Virginia Woolf: Revaluation and Continuity, edited by Ralph Freedman, c. 1980
The Unknown Virginia Woolf, Roger Poole, c. 1978
Virginia Woolf, Susan Rubinow Gorsky, c. 1978
Moments of Being, Virginia Woolf, c. 1977
A Moment's Liberty: The Shorter Diary, abridged and edited by Anne Olivier Bell, c. 1977
Virginia Woolf: A Biography, Quentin Bell, c. 1972
Recollections of Virginia Woolf by Her Contemporaries, edited by Joan Russell Noble, c. 1972
Downhill All the Way, 1919 - 1939, Leonard Woolf, c. 1967
A Writer's Diary, Virginia Woolf, edited with an introduction by Leonard Woolf, c. 1953
The Common Reader, Virginia Woolf, c. 1925
The Diary of VW, Volume One, 1915 - 1919, c. 1977, hardback,
The Diary of VW, Volume Two, 1920 - 1924, c. 1978, softback,
Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare, Bertram Fields, c. 2005

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, Michael J. Behe, c. 2007

The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, Michael J. Behe, c. 2007

Some great insights regarding malaria.

*********************************************
Chapter 1: The Elements of Darwinism

“Common descent” — what most people think of when they hear the word “evolution.”

“Common descent” looks for similarities but goes no further.

Rabbits and bears both have hair, so their ancestor(s) must have had hair also, but the questions of “how” and “why” are left hanging.

In contrast, Darwin’s hypothesized mechanism of evolution — the compound concept of random mutation paired with natural selection  tries to account for differences between creatures.

Behe then teases apart that compound concept.

First: natural selection — hardly surprising that creatures that are somehow more fit would on average do better in nature than ones that were less fit.

Second: the most critical of Darwin’s multifaceted theory is the role of random mutation.

“Almost all of what is novel and important in Darwinian thought is concentrated in this third concept: in Darwinian thinking, the only way a plant or animal becomes fitter than its relatives is by sustaining a serendipitous mutation.

So, Behe suggests there are three Darwinian rails:
  • natural selection
  • random mutation
  • random mutation is the only way natural selection occurs
Random mutation, natural selection, and common descent — three separate ideas welded into one theory.

Behe argues that each of the three components needs to be evaluated separately.

Behe grants that modern science greatly supports common descent — DNA
Behe grants that random mutation paired with natural selection can modify life in important ways
But Behe departs from Darwinism when he suggests that there is strong evidence that random mutation is extremely limited

Behe doesn’t mention “neo-Darwinism until p. 189 and then in a single paragraph.

He argues against Darwinism as a theory-of-everything.

Enter the pathway. That’s where Behe argues Darwinism falls apart. The pathway suggests that “things” did not occur randomly.

He lays out the theme for this book on page 14: “This book looks for the line between the random and the nonrandom that defines the edge of evolution.”

Example: malaria

Malaria parasite is relentless in brushing aside best efforts of modern medicine
Sickle cell disease: a silver lining for those living in Africa — sickle cell is due to a single, simple genetic change — nothing at all complicated. Yet despite having a thousandfold more time to deal with the sickle mutation than with modern drugs, malaria has not found a way to counter it. While the evolutionary power of malaria stymies modern medicine, a tiny genetic change in its host organism foils malaria

Example: HIV

HIV — rapidly mutates to beat modern medicine
E. coli — has been studied in flasks for over thirty thousand generations — equivalent to about a million human-years; and yet it has not evolved; if anything it has devolved, throwing away some ability to that is actually helpful

Example: temperature

Notothenioid fish — can withstand temperatures that should freeze their blood solid; studies show that the fish evolved over 10 million years to be able to survive freezing temperatures
Malaria — the parasite won’t develop unless temperature is conducive, i.e., that of the tropics; despite tens of thousands of years and a huge population size, the malaria parasite has never evolved to live even at merely cool temperatures.

****************************************
Chapter 2: Arms Race or Trench Warfare?

C-Harlem mutation: apparently protects against malaria but doesn't sickle. Mutation found in NYC but not found in Africa.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Man Who Made The Movies: The Meteoric Rise And Tragic Fall Of William Fox, Vanda Krefft, c. 2017

Prologue: "The Biggest Deal in Motion Picture History"

Part I: Beginnings, 1879 -1903

Part II: The Greatest Adventure, 1904 - 1925

Part III: The One Great Independent, 1925 - 1929

Part IV: Despair, 1930 - 1943

Part V: Acceptance, 1943 - 1952

***********************************
Prologue

February 29, 1929

Fox buys Loew's, M-G-M

Fox Film: Hollywood's third-largest movie studio had secretly acquired a controlling interest in Loew's, Inc, a 175-house national theater chain that was also the parent company of M-G-M, Hollywood's second-most-successful studio.

Movie industry growing explosively.

M-G-M: owned entirely by Loew's; M-G-M second only to Paramount

Paramount
M-G-M
Fox Film

Loew died in 1927; family started selling a bloc of stock. Michael Fox jumped.

******************
Chapter 1: Promises

Michael Fox emigrated from Hungary, immigrating through New York's Castle Garden immigration station

Hungary

Explains why so many successful Jews came out of Hungary: 1782 Edict of Tolerance issued by Emperor Joseph II of Austria (which had ruled Hungary since the late 17th century)

By the latter half of the 19th century, Hungarian Jews doing very, very well

Michael Fuchs (Fox) marries Anna Fried, 16 years old, 1877

German: the language of Hungary
Latin: the language of the Church
Hungarian: the language of the peasants

Short synopsis of the history of Hungary, page 14

1526: Ottoman Empire, Suleiman 1 the Magnificent, slaughtered 15,000 Hungarians; controlled Hungary until ..
late 17th century, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Austrian House of Habsburg took over
Hungarian revolution, 1848 (French Revolution, 1789 - 1799), crushed by Austria with help from Russians; from then ....
1867: a partnership of Austria-Hungary; fell short of national self-determination

Hungary never evolved as the rest of Europe did

1850s: the exodus began

1.9 million Hungarians emigrated to America between 1871 and 1913

1879: Michael sails for America; a few months later, wife Anna and first child Wilhelm follow

trip: by wagon to Hamburg;

Michael, Anna, Wilhelm settle in tenement housing on Lower East Side; frightful poverty, disease, crime

between 1800 and 1880 (the year after the Fox family arrived), NY population explodes, from 60,000 to 1.2 million making NYC the first US city with more than a million residents

Density of Lower East Side, worse than China: 290,000 per square mile

Jewish quarter: on Stanton Street between Columbia and Sheriff; nearby the fetid East River; as bad as Lower East Side was, Jewtown (as it was called) was even worse

Michael easily found work was a machinist: post-Civil War blaze of industrialization

Michael, resigned to failure

Anna lost seven of her 13 children

Wilhelm, two boys, and three girls survived (six altogether)

9-year-old Wilhelm saves the family financially by selling lozenges (candy) on the wharf, at the foot of nearby Third Street

disfigured and useless left arm

**************************
Chapter 2: Destiny

A great description, pages 21 - 23, of The Gilded Age, the title of an 1873 Mark Twain novel

This is a must-read chapter, to learn how NYC developed during this period

First real job, age 10: at a small clothing firm, D. Cohen and Sons at 25 Lispenard Street, about two miles from the family's home on the Lower East Side

Short synopsis of growth of NYC clothing industry

Worked there until age 15

Earnings allowed the family to move to a six-room railroad apt on Rivington Street, still on the Lower East Side

His first savings account at Dry Dock Savings Bank; he sentimentally kept open even as a multimillionaire

Turned to religion; became "the greatest part of his life"

Began to question capitalism and for three years became a socialist; this apostate period began in 1892; he was 13 years old

That summer, 1892, one of the bloodiest episodes in American labor history; Homestead, PA, about eight miles south of Pittsburgh; andrew Carnegie's Homestead Steel Works

That led Fox to socialism

But by age 16, through with socialism

Started reading Shakespeare; thinking about entertainment industry; aspired to become successful vaudeville actor

Failed as an actor

**********************************
Chapter 3: Eva

Quick marital history of other famous filmmakers

Then the story of faithful Wilhem, and Eva Leo

Mentions again the family's railroad apt above the butter-and-egg store on Rivington Street, p. 37

Childhood friends

Great picture of the poor Jewish situation at that time in NYC.

1899: 20-year-old Fox married 15-year-old Eva; Chrystie Street Synagogue, Manhattan

First home: 1055 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, just doors down from Fox's parents, at 1063 Myrtle

Employer refused to give Fox a raise. Fox quit and went into business for himself; related to garment industry.

Pretty much failed due to things beyond his control.

Eva remained steadfast.

*******************************
Chapter 4: The Dark Side of the Dream

Pan American Exposition. Pan American Buffalo on frying pan. Woolworth's.

Enter, stage left: Leon Czolgosz

Fox saw McKinley assassinated by Czolgosz

A very interesting chapter.

*****************************
Part II
The Greatest Adventure, 1904 - 1925

**************************
Chapter 5: 700 Broadway

Fox realized the garment industry was not for him.

Tried real estate. He became a landlord.

His wife would not collect the rent of tenants could not afford to pay (LOL).

Sold the property at a loss.

Next idea: noted the Automatic Vaudeville Company (owned by Adolph Zukor, later founder of Paramount; and, Marcus Loew, later founder of Loew's theater chain and M-G-M).

Cheated by J. Stuart Blackton. His $1,666 investment represented almost his entire savings.

They now had two children, new daughter, Belle, born 1904. (First daughter was named Mona)

Desperate, he decided to try motion pictures. Wow, page 55.

Eden Musee, a Madame Tussauds-style wax museum on Twenty-Third Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Had begun showing motion pictures in December 1896.

The story of the early motion picture business.

The story of his first 146-seat theater.

Re-opened "700 Broadway" on October 14, 1904.

Money flowed in. He had gotten it right.

Acquired the 1600-seat former Unique Theater at 194 Grand Street in Brooklyn.

Renamed it the Comedy Theater, opened April, 1908.

Public turned on theaters; NYC Sunday law, p. 63.

Through 1907, struggle between NYC police and movie theaters.

Fox helped organize the 110-member Moving Picture Association (MPA) with himself as chairman of the executive committee.

Fox/lawyer Rogers won their case.

********************************
Chapter 6: Necessary Expenses

Wow, Tammany Hall: Fourteenth Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue.

The story of Timothy ("Big Tim") D. Sullivan; again, raised on the Lower East Side.

1908: Fox could see the motion picture industry change; nickelodeons were out; larger theaters/bigger chains were in

Fox links withe the devil, "Big Tim" in late 1908

Rogers, mentioned earlier, was the link, the connecting dot


************************************
Chapter 7: "The Next Napoleon of the Theatre"

Two more huge projects.

City Theatre Company

2500-seat theater on Fourteenth Street, next to Luchow's restaurant between Third and Fourth Avenues

Phoenix Amusement Company

1800-seat Washington Theater in Washington Heights, northeast corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 149th Street

Fledgling architect Thomas W. Lamb, Scottish born -- becamse one of the world's premier movie palace designers

Theatrical book company William Morris mentioned


Family Theatre on 125th Street; just down the street from Fox's Gotham movie theater

the Star Theatre at Lexington and 107th Street
the Nemo Theatre, an 1,100-seat former cafe and music hall on the southeast corner of 110th and Broadway
the New York Roof Theatre, on Broadway between Forty-Fourth and Forty-Fifth Streets
the 2,000-seat Folly Theatre, on DebevoiseStreet in Brooklyn
the 3,000-seat Academy of Music on Fourteenth Street at Irving Place

1911, began building the 1,800-seat Riverside Theater on the northwest corner of Boradway and Ninety-Sixth Street

Next door, two more theaters: the Riviera, at ground level, and stacked on top of that, the Japanese Gardens

Simultaneously, in early 1912, began his most daring project, the Audubon Theater, an immense entertainment complex on Broadway between 165th and 166th Streets

American League baseball park was across the street and a subway station two blocks away; middle class moving into Washington Heights

Further north, in the Bronx, the 2,500-seat Crotona Theater on Tremont Avenue between Park and Washington

Then, Newark, New Jersey, and then New England

Now the family of four living at 272 East 200th Street in a then-fashionable section of the Bronx

Tombs prison, NYC, p. 83

**********************
Chapter 8: The Wizard of Menlo Park

[1867: Menlo Park, Raritan Township, New Jersey: Edison established his laboratory there]

Thomas Edison: The wizard of Menlo Park.

Edison had perfected the Kinetograph motion picture camera in 1889

Edison: music, phonograph (p. 85 -- when I read that line, I immediately thought of Steve Jobs)

People afraid of innovation -- p. 86

MMPC: Edison, Motion Picture Patents Company

Carl Laemmle, future head of Universal Pictures; the most visible and vocal leader; a German immigrant whose previous career had included farming in the Dakotas, clerking at a Chicago wholesale jewelry house, and managing a clothing store in Oshkosh, WI -- page 91

Fox took on MMPC which had driven most other competitors out of business; Fox still relatively small but a huge irritant to MMPC

Fox gave up; seeling his rental agency to the GFC for $90,000, December, 1911

But he didn't; he had set a trap -- page 94.

Fox sued MMPC.

President Taft, anti-trust.

Thomas Edison (MMPC) was furious. He detested the Sherman Antitrust Law.

Fox celebrated, but disaster had struck.

*********************************
Chapter 9: Madness and Murder

Big Tim goes crazy; becomes paranoid. Possibly tertiary syphilis. Symptoms began in 1912, but his fall began in 1909.

Dreamland, now the site of NYC Aquarium

Wow, great story regarding Fox' banker, pp 102 - 103. Great, great story.

Big Tim likely murdered, p. 103 - 104.

Writer summarizes Fox' experience with Big Tim (Sullivan) -- changed Fox from an idealist to a realist.

*********************************
Chapter 10: Justice

Family history of Gilbert Grosvenor -- great example of connections on the East Coast.

Lawsuit between Fox and MMPC/GFC. The latter backed down. This was the first step toward an open market for the motion picture industry.

Antitrust case still only in pre-trail; not yet at trial.

1914: case finally goes to trial.

1911 Supreme Court landmark ruling against Standard Oil: footnote on bottom of page 113; "rule of reason" -- restrained trade (does Amazon restrain trade?)

Trial lasted four (4) days; government won. MMPC/GFC lost.

Fox filed a "triple damages" lawsuit against MMPC

Fox settled before lawsuit went to court. He would have easily won so this was a huge monetary mistake by Fox

Fox dismantled MMPC; Fox never given much credit for this; credit was given to government and to Grosvenor

The end of the MPPC opened a new chapter in film history; now, anyone in the US who wished to make movies could do so legally; thanks largely to Fox, the foundation has been laid for the American movie studio system

****************************
Chapter 11: Independence

Fox took this experience to go rogue

December, 1914, Fox started the Box Office Attraction Company as a combined independent distribution and production company

Foreign films: all junk; Fox stopped showing foreign films

Fox realized he had to start making movies himself.

No one knew much about making movies at the time

Carl Laemmle now changed his company's name frm IMP to Universal Films was still producing only short films

Warner brothers, hq in same building as Fox at 130 West Forty-Sixth Street, had made their first movie, Peril of the Plains, in 1912

Sam Goldfish, later changed his name to Goldwyn in December 1918; had begun filming Hollywood's first feature film, the six-reel The Squaw Man, December, 2013

Adolph Zukor had founded Famous Players Film Company in 1912

Fox, age 35; knew little about film-making; his second-in-command, BOA general manager Winfield R. Sheehan, knew even less

Sheehan: a very "sketchy" past; probably a gangster; criminal;

If neither Fox nor Sheehan knew much about film making, they needed someone who did. They hired 46-y/o J. Gordon Edwards -- page 121 for his history and background

Note in footnote on page 121 Gordon Edwards' relationship to Blake Edwards, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses, and the Pin Panther series

Box Office Attractions, first movie, under Gordon Edwards: Life's Shop Window; the movie flopped

Fox resolved never to make that mistake again -- would never "moralize" a novel again; would stick to the novel; viewers were often readers and knew the story

Second movie: The Walls of Jericho

Gertie the Dinosaur; a national treasure

WWI; summer of 1914

Fox financially going under

Investment banker support, Eisele & King, Newark, NJ; BOA took new name: Fox Film Corporation born -- p. 126

Fox guaranteed virtual control of Fox Film

The Prudential Life Insurance and Fidelity Trust scandal probably responsible for the risky venture - p. 126 - 127

Fox had allied himself with the most corrupt political machine in American history, a general manager who had helped run a multimillion-dollar police graft scheme and who was probably involved in a murder plot, seed moey from corporate stock manipulators -- these were the people who launched the Fox Film Corporation -- for the next 15 years he worked to scrub away those stains

****************************
Chapter 12: "William Fox Presents"

At the beginning of every movie: a "William Fox Presents" placard

In many ways, these were the best years, the mid- to late 1910s

Fox Film hq: the Leavitt Building, at 130 West Forty-Sixth Street

When he needed advice, he turned to Eva

Their two daughters were adolescents

Eva read at least one book a day

She read every scenario but no one, except Fox, knew

Initially, most observers shrugged; new production companies popping up all the time

No uniformity regarding movies; lengths for example; most were short

1912, Adolph Zucker, imported Queen Elizabeth, starring Sarah Berhardt; a 90-minute European film; admission: $2

Fox did not want to change America; he loved America as it was

One of his brightest hopes: Betty Nansen, the top female star at the Theatre Royal of Copenhagen; longtime muse of the late Henrik Ibsen, for whom he had originated the role of Hedda Gabler onstage; considered a sort of second Sarah Bernhardt;

Origin of "vamp" -- page 132; 1915

The story of Theodosia Goodman (Theda Bara), page 133

The story of the crazy success of A Fool There Was; first feature film to make $1 million in profits

By June 1915, Fox had eight of the industry's most capable directors under contract

Despite huge budgets, etc., all of Betty Nansen's films were flops

Nansen departed

Theda Bara became the screen's first brand-name sex symbol

Theda Bara's image "began to tilt more and more toward the occult, the arcane, and the just plain weird." -- p. 141

As her movies became increasingly lurid, Fox virtually assaulted the market with them, releasing eighteen (18) Theda features by the end of 1916.

By the end of 1915, Theda had become a major star; drew an estimated daily audience of about 800,000 -- page 145

1916: her popularity rivaled Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin (and yet, until today, I had never heard of her)

Now the story of William Farnum -- begins page 149

California became inevitable, but Fox did not want to shoot in California; 5-day train ride away

Three studios operated exclusively in Los Angeles, those of Universal City, 1,000-acre; Thomas H Ince and D. W. Griffith

Less than 7 months in business, Fox Film released a feature a week; on par with industry leader Famous Players-Lasky

Unfortunately very few pre-1932 Fox Film movies survive; many fires; any that survived were finally destroyed in huge warehouse fire in Little Ferry, NJ, 1937

Fox Film was the fastest arrival the motion picture industry had ever seen (p. 157) and also the most disruptive (which he had never intended to do).

Faced the censors.

Mary Pickford: contract with Adolph Zuckor, Famous Players - Lasky (p. 158)

National Board of Censors

The Nigger -- p. 162

******************************
Chapter 13: A Daughter of the Gods (1916)

Michael Fox by this time considered a sex merchant, a corrupter of morals, and a danger to small children

Wanted to make "better" movies

Timing benefited Fox: America wanted "big" movies

1915: first great American blockbuster -- D W Griffith's three-hour The Birth of a Nation

A Daughter of the Gods -- never heard of it; Fox and Herbert Brenon; starred Annette Kellermann

Filming wrapped up in April, 1916

Premier: October 17, 1916

Huge crowds, but reviews were uneven.

First movie to ever be reviewed by the London Times

Overall, considered a triumph -- but again, I have never heard of it

Lewis J Selznick -- mentioned on page 185

Brenon ultimately failed; Fox won

Alexander Beyfuss: mentioned, page 189; suicide at age 35

************************************
Chapter 14: "The Greatest Showman on Earth"

Fox wanted a film museum; idea rejected by everyone and Fox ended plans

Not until 1935, would we see New York's Museum of Modern Art found its Film Library

1917: Fox Film enters its third year of business

Occupies four full floors of the Leavitt Building on Forty-Sixth Street; 23 sales offices across US and Canada

California location growing; in the center of Hollywood on both sides of Western Avenue just below Sunset Boulevard

Would increase production from 52 to 70 feature films

Two biggest stars: Theda Bara and William Farnum would appear only in "super de luxe" productions costing between $100K and $300K

Theda Bara's Cleopatra (1917)

Kellermann got greedy: turned down Fox's offer of a five-picture deal; she went on to make only one more Fox movie, the unremarkable Queen of the Sea (1918)

Director: J. Gordon Edwards

Instead of going overseas; filmed in Hollywood

WWI concerns

Fox takes first trip to California; in fact it was his first trip west of Buffalo, NY

5-day train trip; stayed in southern California for eight weeks

Premiered October 14, 1917; three days before one-year anniversary of A Daughter of the Gods

Chicago problems; lawsuits

Fox exaggerated, but still, Cleopatra was wildly successful

Today, presumed lost, Cleopatra (1917) is a tragic ghost of the silent era.  Managed to survive for two decades; in museum at 1935, but fires burned that copy as well as all other copies -- again, notes the studio's disastrous 1937 Little Ferry, New Jersey, fire

Cleopatra: the American Film Institute lists it as one of its nine "Most Wanted Lost Films." Some feet of the film still exists, but is in private hands.

Next, Salome.

Opened August 19, 1918.

Salome may have out-earned Cleopatra (1917).


*************************************
Chapter 15: Mirror of the Movies

This chapter seems to be on Fox's other star, William Farnum

Fox was trying to figure out what it took to become a great man in America

First "super de luxe" movie with William Farnum, The Price of Silence (1917)

Child labor; in 1916 President Wilson signed into law first federal child labor legislation, the Keating-Owen Act.

Several major films mentioned

Women's issues; much of the movie audience was female

Touched many issues but refused to touch the issue of racism; he had been burned before

His masterpieces up to this time: Cleopatra, Salome, A Tale of Two Cities, and, Les Miserables

******************************************** 
Chapter 16: "All His Secret Ambition" 

Sort of an early Jay Gatsby

Quotes Fitzgerald

Fox ahead of Jay Gatsby by about 20 years

Neal Gabler talking about early American motion picture studio founders: "these Hollywood Jews constructed Southern California social life as an accessible alternative to the eastern Protestant establishment."

Stereotypical.

Fox was not a Hollywood Jew. He was a New Yorker.

He never owned a home in California; he never socialized with the "Hollywood Jews" except in connection with business.

Fox and family have now moved from Mount Hope in the Bronx to a town house at 316 West Ninety-First Street, on Manhattan's fashionable Upper West Side. (I don't recall reading where his previous house at Mount Hope was; I will have to go back and see if the author mentions that.)

Recently, Long Island Rail Road completed; between 1910 and 1918, some 325 houses with 25 or more rooms were built on Long Island.

Getting ready for the Great Gatsby era.

The richest of the rich headed for the "Gold Coast," Long Island's North Shore: the Morgans, Chryslers, Vanderbilts, Guggenheims, William Randolph Heart, Nelson Doubleday, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Comfort Tiffany

Fox was not yet in that league

By 1916, he had rented a mansion at the corner of Pond Lane and Woodmere Boulevard in Woodmere, his "country home" -- on the other side of the "Gold Coast"

Took up golf; recently taken up by presidents Taft and Wilson; due to left arm injury had to golf with one arm

Continued to take care of his family

Philanthropy

Once the most demonized industrialists of the Gilded Age, Carnegie and Rockefeller were transforming themselves into saintly public benefactors

Movies still disreputable aura: Fox Film's continuing emphasis on sex and violence

Jewish War Relief campaign

Fox now publicly honored by entertainment industry, February 24, 1918

But also raised money for Catholic servicemen; Red Cross;

The story of Fox's admiration for Rockefeller

US declares war in April, 1917

Positive ending to the chapter

*****************************
Chapter 17: "The Finest In Entertainment The World Over"

During the way, movie supply shortage overseas; opportunity existed

Russia

Behind the scenes, Fox helped Trotsky

Trotsky had been hired to work as an electrician at Fox Film even though Trotsky claimed to be only a journalist; the Brits were spying on and keeping tabs of Trotsky because they thought he was being paid by the Germans

There are also reports that Trotsky also appeared an an extra in Fox movies and had a Fox Film identification card.

Plausible: Trotsky needed the money and loved movies

Stories that Fox helped pay for Trotsky's return to Russia on the SS Kristianiafjord on March 27, 1917, twelve days after the czar's abdication

Lost: what happened to Fox Film after Lenin seized power; rumors that Lenin wanted to meet Fox and had Fox make educational films for Russia

***********************************
Chapter 18: "The Making of Me" 

Leadership abilities in the beginning

California / Hollywood operations

The story of Jewel Carmen, page 258

Fox' children films were not successful; Fox never had a childhood and therefore did not understand children at all

Finds a potentially new star, 17-y/o Massachusetts high school student Helen Elizabeth Lawson (family name, Larsen, daughter ot a Norwegian immigrant; though Larsen suggests Swedish); Fox changed her stage name to June Caprice; despite all that help, she failed

The story of Max Steiner; ultimately a winner of 26 Academy Awards; arrived in NYC in 1914, broke and a nobody

Steiner had come from a distinguished Viennese theatrical family; he had studied at the Imperial Academy of Music and with Gustav Mahler

Stein puts together a 110-piece symphony orchestra form the ten-member bands at the various Fox theaters

Another that succeeded under Fox: Hettie Gray Baker (a woman in early Hollywood)

***********************************
Chapter 19: The End of Theda

1919: biggest Fox Film jolt in its history so far -- Theda quit

4.5 years; 40 features; she was exhausted

She wanted to return to her first love, the theater

Theda had put Fox Film on the map

1921, age 36, married director Charles Brabin; no children

Tried to become a star again; failed

Forest Lawn Memorial Park: cremated remains; the plaque, "Theda Bara Brabin 1955" -- Brabin and 1955 in smaller type

***********************************
Chapter 20: Exodus

Theda Bara had left; now, January, 1919, second-string vamp Virginia Pearson also left to start her own company

Jane and Katherine Lee, "kiddie pictures" also left

Frank Lloyd went to Goldwyn Pictures

Fox fired director Henry Lehrman, thinking he had stolen one of Fox' pictures

William Farnum, aging

Tom Mix becomes a Western hit

Unable to lure Douglas Fairbanks over from Paramount-Artcraft

Fairbanks wanted to become founding partner of United Artists, along with Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith

Fox failed to lure Buster Keaton in 1919

Mentions the story of Evelyn Nesbit -- interesting

Fox Film had only one top-drawer director left: J. Gordon Edwards

The war ending in 1918 surprised him; he thought it would end in 1919

Spanish influenza outbreak took its toll, also

***************************************
Chapter 21: Everything Changes

Regardless of internal changes at Fox, the big changes were external with regard to the movie industry

We are now entering the age of the Roaring 20's and the end of WWI

The bankers enter

Of all the changes occurring, none understood them better than Adolph Zukor, who would become Fox' chief rival. Zukor: Famous Players-Lasky would become Paramount Pictures

Zukor: six years older than Fox; born in the town of Risce in the same Tokay grape district of Hungary as Fox's Tolcsva -- truly amazing

Zukor partnered with Marcus Lowe in a chain of nickelodeons

April, 1912: Zukor formed Famous Players to import Sarah Bernhardt's Queen Elizabeth; later Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, and soon-to-be Fox star William Farnum

Now the story of how fast Zukor rose

Famous Players-Lasky (FPL), by 1917: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, Dorothy Gish, directors D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille

By mid-1919: FPL was by far the largest American movie studio

With the help of JP Morgan, Marcus Loew took his firm public, 1919

1919 - 1920: Fox plodded on. Were his best days behind him?

Fox News, idea came in summer of 1919

Fox was starting to lose it. He began taking time off twice a year to rest at a sanatorium

***************************************
Chapter 22: A Visit From Royalty

Fox was now 40 years old

25-year-old Prince of Wales, Edward Albert would visit the US

Fox invited him to visit

Fox was thrilled how it turned out


***************************************
Chapter 23: Eclipse

1921; appears to be making a comeback

***************************************
Chapter 24: "Humanity if Everything"

The Fox family at this time



***************************************
Chapter 25: The Iron Horse (1924)

By late 1923, back on his feet; huge cash reserve


***************************************
Part III: The One Great Independent
1925 - 1929
The roaring 20's

***************************************
Chapter 26: Renewal

Buoyed by the success of The Iron Horse, Fox began a radical transformation of Fox Film

***************************************
Chapter 27: "The Wonder-Thing"

Fox movies really did improve during 1925 and 1926

***************************************
Chapter 28: Talking Pictures

The history of talking pictures

1924: the breakthrough -- AT&T's Bell Telephone Laboratories ....

***************************************
Chapter 29: All For Fox Films

Still, 1925 and 1926

***************************************
Chapter30: The Roxy

The story of the Roxy; bought in 1927 by Fox; a $10 million, 5,920-seat theater; 7th Avenue and 50th Street

***************************************
Chapter 31: Sunrise (1927)

Would become Fox Film's single greatest achievement

Long, long chapter

***************************************
Chapter 32: The Triumph of Movietone

1928.

All the major studios chose to adopt Fox's Movietone sound-on-film system instead of Warner Bros.' Vitaphone sound-on-disk or RXA Photophone's sound-on-film.

***************************************
Chapter 33: The One Great Independent

1927: Fox Film entered a golden age commercially and artistically

***************************************
Chapter 34: Storm Signals


***************************************
Chapter 35: Lone Master of the Movies

One more step upward remained: to ascend into the elite tier of American industrialists and to dominate his industry the way that Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Morgan had dominated theirs.

Acquiring Loew's

***************************************
Chapter 36: Big Money

1927 - 1929 -- growing bigger and bigger

***************************************
Chapter 37: Trouble

Two main pressures bore down on Fox during the spring and summer of 1929: first, antitrust clearance for Loew's buy-out; and, second, he had to arrange permanent financing for the $50 million he had spent...

***************************************
Chapter 38: Fate

Still working the Loew's deal; July 17, 1929

***************************************
Chapter 39: Recovery

July 28, 1929

***************************************
Chapter 40: Disaster: October 1929

A relatively short chapter, considering

***************************************
Chapter 41: Siege

Financial crisis; a longer chapter, as expected

***************************************
Chapter 42: War

Begins with family; another long chapter. Still fighting to financially survive.

***************************************
Chapter 43: "We Want You, Mr Fox"

1930 -- survives; new chapter.

***************************************
Chapter 44: Defeat

The end began on march 28, 1930

***************************************
Chapter 45: the End of the Dream

Begins on April 2, 1930


******************************
Part IV
Despair
1930 - 1943

***************************************
Chapter 46: Sorrow and Rage

Begins on April 7, 1930.


***************************************
Chapter 47: The Meter Reader and the Banker

April, 1930.

It begins: "Fox's vision of ruin came to pass more swiftly than he expected."




***************************************
Chapter 48: Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox

1931; empty hours on his hands.

***************************************
Chapter 49: Nobody

1933; tries to make a comeback.

***************************************
Chapter 50: Alone

1935

***************************************
Chapter 51: Revenge

56 years old. Broke down psychologically.

***************************************
Chapter 52: Confession

Judge J Warren Davis story.

1939.

***************************************
Chapter 53: Prison

Fox: Lewisburg federal penitentiary on November 20, 1942.

***************************************
Part V: Acceptance
1943 - 1952



***************************************
Chapter 54: Exile

Back home at Fox Hall with Eva, their two daughters, and two grandsons; age 64.

***************************************
Chapter 55: Fade To Black

1951: suffers a stroke; most of the next year in hospital.

***************************************
Acknowledgments

*************************
Notes

**********************
Bibliography










































































Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West And The Creation Of A Garden, Vita Sackville-West & Sarah Raven -- November 28, 2017

Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West adn the Creation of a Garden, Vita Sackville-West & Sarah Raven, c. 2014

Grapevine Library

DDS: 823 SAC

The author:

A presenter and a teacher; has a school for gardening and cooking at her farm in East Sussex.

Married to the writer Adam Nicolson; they live with their family at Sissinghurst.


Vita Sackville-West: born 1892.
  • Husband Harold Nicolson.
  • One of the strangest and happiest love stories; portrayed in Portrait of a Marriage by their son Nigel Nicolson.
  • Vita died at age 70, in 1962. 

Sarah Raven first saw Sissinghurt 30 years prior to writing the book; then in her mid-20s.
  • Training to be a doctor, Charing Cross Hospital. 
  • She writes, "A few years after seeing the garden I married Adam, grandson of Vita and Harold, and when his father Nigel became ill and died in 2004, we moved to Sissinghurst. No longer a doctor and now with two children, I had become a gardener, and as someone passionately interested in the beauty of what's around me, I'm lucky to have spent ten years of my life entwined with Vita and Sissinghurst."
So, book was c. 2014; thirty years earlier, would have been 1984; a few years later (when she married Adam) might have been around 1990.

Ten years at Sissinghurst (since around 2004 which matches exactly when her father-in-law Nigel, who had been living at Sissinghurst, died.)

She could have gotten her doctorate around 1990, practiced medicine for about twelve years, until 2002 or so. Perhaps she left medicine when she and her husband moved into Sissinghurst.

1984, in her mid-20s, she would have been born about 1960. She would never have met Vita, but she obviously new Vita's son Nigel, 1917 - 2004. In 1990, Nigel would have been 73 years old.

Her husband Adam wrote a biography of Sissinghurst in 2008: Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History.

Fantastic story. 

**************************

From York, had I known about it, I could have driven it in less than 5 hours; a weekend trip.

************************
The Book

A map of the grounds.

1: A Brief History

2: Finding the Dream

3: Sissinghurst's Design

Part 2: Vita's Garden Themes

4: A Mixture of All Things

5: A Sophisticated Palette

6: Cram, Cram, Cram

7: Flowering Shrubs

8: Scents

9: Painterly Plants

10: Indoor and Container Gardening

11. Cut Flowers

12: The Recent Past

Sources

Picture Credits

Index

The Making Of Middle Earth, Christopher Snyder -- November 28, 2017

The Making of Middle Earth: A New Look Inside the World of J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Snyder, c. 2013

Grapevine Library

DDS: 823 SNY



Preface
For a long time, only one significant biography of JRR Tolkien, the one by Humphrey Carpenter in 1977.

philology: now called historical linguistics

modern literary genre of fantasy: virtually invented by Tolkien

most successful film franchises:
Tolkien
Harry Potter
James Bond
Star Wars

Chapter 1: Learning His Craft

From Africa to Birmingham

b. January 3, 1892
left Africa at age 3, so not much influence on his writing
left before the outbreak of the Boer war in 1899
exceptions: bitten by a spider while in Africa; led to arachnophobia, and ultimately this fear embodied by his menacing Middle-earth spiders
1900: a place at King Edward's School, Birmingham, which his father had attended

Oxford

The Great War

Tolkien The Scholar

"Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics"

 "On Fairy-Stories"

Tolkien the Teacher

The Inklings

Fame and Retirement

Writing Tolkien

Chapter 2: Tolkien's Middle Ages

Back to the Sources

Ancient Greece and Rome

Celtic Britain and Ireland

The Anglo-Saxons and Old English

The Vikings and Old Norse

Middle English Literature

King Arthur and the Matter of Britain

Victorian Fairy Tales and the Gothic Revival

Finnish and the Kalevala

William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites

Andrew Lang

George MacDonald

The Northern Land

Chapter 3: "There and Back Again"

Hobbits and Dwarves

Trolls and Goblins, Gnomes and Elves

Mountains, Rings, and Riddles in the Dark

Beorn

Mirkwood and Lake-Twon

Smaug

Endings

Chapter 4: Tales of the Third Age

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Two Towers

The Return of the King

Chapter 5: The Son of Iluvatar

The Silmarillion

The Children of Nurin

Appendices

Appendix I: Monsters and Critics

Appendix II: Media and Middle Earth

Appendix III: Tolkieniana

Appendix IV: The Moral Virtues of Middle Earth

A Tolkien Timeline

Notes

Bibliography and Tolkien Resources

Index

Thursday, November 23, 2017

New Words, Phrases, Concepts -- Casanova -- November 23, 2017

New words, phrases, concepts from:
  • Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic, James H. Johnson, c. 2011
  • History of My Life: Giacomo Casanova, Everyman's Library edition, c. 2007
***********************************
What Goes Around, Comes Around

Through the the 16th to the 19th century, Italy: family cults -- dominated their fellow-citizens and turned nominal republics into autocracies, if not dictatorships
  • Medici in Florence
  • the della Scala in Verona
  • the Gonzaga in Mantua
  • the Este in Ferrara
  • the Sforza and the Visconti in Milan
The Venetians turned away from this. The Most Serene Republic might not have been totally democratic but it was certainly more so (with the arguable exception of Switzerland) than any other country in Europe.
  • the basic principle of the their constitution: no one family or individual could ever wax too great
  • the Doge was a figurehead; only able to act when surrounded by his six Savii or wise men; probably yielded less effective power than the Queen of England today
  • the real government of the country was in the hands of black-robed and faceless committees, their composition constantly changing
Wow, does that sound like the "Deep State" in the United States? Has the president become more and more just a figurehead as Congress and federal judges? Is it the FCC, the FTC, the EPA, and a gazillion other "alphabet" committees and agencies the ones that really run the US government. Just the other day it was said that the second most powerful person in the world, right behind the President of the United States, was the US Federal Reserve chairperson, currently, Janet Yellen.

***************************************
New Words, Phases, Concepts

The Most Serene Republic

rakehell
the Grand Tour
seigneur
inamorata

Casanova:
  • two of the most important ingredients of greatness: total self-confidence and superabundant energy
  • a third great strength -- a negative strength perhaps, but every bit as important as the other two: Casanova was totally devoid of a sense of morality