Archive | November, 2011

Notes on Hamlet

26 Nov

Shallow reading and the skewed perspective of modern sensibility, with its ‘psychological’ bias have blurred several aspects of Shakespeare’s great play. I will here show how the play itself makes clear, explicitly clear the way Shakespeare intends us to understand Hamlet’s dynamic relationship with Ophelia, — which continues to be grossly misunderstood, partly for trendy political reasons — and the character of Gertrude, sensual, unthinking, obtusely insightful,¬†which has a decisive impact on the events of the play. Continue reading

Caesarism & Modern Arts

15 Nov

Spengler makes some fascinating, and ominously prescient remarks about “the coming Caesarism” in the second volume of his masterwork [1]. His comments ought to be valid for aspects of culture besides politics, indeed, for all facets of culture or, as he explains, “civilization” Europe having passed the threshold from culture to civilization in the 1790s, the “revolutionary decade.” Continue reading

Eros & Metamorphosis in “Birches”

10 Nov

“Birches” is one of Robert Frost’s greatest poems and perhaps one of the subtly great poems of the 20th century. It is a poem of oppositions asserted (youth – tradition, nature – human; physical – transcendent; female – male; impulse vs society (“considerations”); audacity/ will – humility: all pervaded with a wry not especially funny humor. Some of these oppositions are integrated. It also is a poem of powerful erotic and metamorphic impulse. Perhaps the most striking instance is introduced by a metaphor that also bridges the descriptive to the emotional and visionary aspects of the work. Continue reading

Desolation of the Man the Key to Hawthorne

8 Nov

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is one of the great stylists, thinkers and ironists of the apocalyptic – elegiac phases of the West. A quintessential Romantic, his idylls are cankered early and deeply. How fleeting is our view of Young Goodman Brown as he kisses his wife, “Faith” goodbye for his ‘brief’ night walk through the forest; how fleeting was the joy of Dimmesdale and Hester (“hidden”) that led to many years of deceit, self-laceration and agonizing death, — for the man. Continue reading