as you know, we shall be starting our year with a close reading of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg Ohio.
To help you understand why we chose this writer, you might like to hear what contemporary novelist Tom Perrotta had to say about him ten years ago.
To whet your appetites for our forthcoming trip, where’s a sneak peek (or should I say eavesdrop) into the music for the production of Twelfth Night we shall be attending…
Do not forget that « these boots are made for walking », so bring along comfortable shoes, I have planned extensive hikes for every single day, starting with a Shakespeare & City gardens themed trail on our first afternoon .
Next week, the Marathon d’avril will celebrate Irish literature. I know you will be in the home stretch of the revision period, but 2 events drew my attention, and I think it might be worth your while attending at least one of them :
Une bibliothèque irlandaise, mercredi 6 avril 2016, à 16h30
Médiathèque José Cabanis – 1 allée Chaban-Delmas à Toulouse
(métro A : Marengo SNCF) Entrée libre et gratuite – dans la limite des places disponibles
Writer Joseph O’Connor will discuss some of the greats of contemporary Irish literature, with readings by Didier Sandre. FYI, O’Connor is the brother of singer Sinead O’Connor and his latest novel literally rocks since it is about a rock star!
Claire Keegan, who is, to my mind, the most striking voice to have come out of Ireland in recent years, will be the guest of a presentation & reading
jeudi 7 avril 2016, à 18h
Librairie Ombres Blanches – 3 rue Mirepoix à Toulouse
(Métro A : Capitole) Entrée libre et gratuite – dans la limite des places disponibles
Her Walk the Blue Fields is one of the most emotionally challenging and poetic reads, you could do worse than go and meet this extraordinarily gifted writer.
Facebook does have its uses, as it is through this means that I was alerted about the completion of a whale of a project : the audio recording of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick by a roster of big names in the Anglo-American cultural sphere, starting with Tilda Swinton for chapter one.
The beauty of this project is that it’s free. You can listen to it online, download it as a podcast…
The easiest option is probably the latter, but do check out the website for the project because each chapter is illustrated with an original work of art, and some of them are truly inspiring.
Portrait by Anne Estelle Rice, painted in Cornwall in 1918: offered to the National Portrait Gallery in 1932, the trustees rejected it and it was bought by the National Art Gallery of New Zealand in 1940. In 1999 a photograph of KM was hung in the NPG.
Katherine Mansfield said to an old friend, sadly, at the end of her life, that all she had produced were « little stories like birds bred in cages ».
She was a colonial and her banker father was a self-made man, so that she fitted all too well into a certain ready-made stereotype « provincial », « trade ». She felt very close to Virginia Woolf,who had influenced her writing. She was inspired by the world she had left behind, the New Zealand of her childhood and adolescence : nearly half of the stories have a New Zealand setting, including « The Garden Party ». Her brother, Leslie, «Chummie» was killed in a grenade accident during the war. He was one of the reasons why she turned more and more to New Zealand memories, and he is also a character in some of those stories : a new-born baby in « At the Bay ». Mansfield seems to have felt that her own vocation as a writer was vindicated in Leslie’s death, she could immortalize their shared childhood world somehow, carry on the family « line » in the way only an artist can.
Claire Tomalin describes Mansfield’s writing very well : « The particular stamp of her fiction is the isolation in which each character dwells… there is no story in these stories, and no exploration of motive. The most brilliant of them are post-impressionist…grotesquely people and alight with colour and movement ». Indeed, it is obvious at the very beginning of « Bank Holiday » : « A stout man with a pink face wears dingy white flannel trousers, a blue coat with a pink handkerchief showing, and a straw hat much too small for him, perched at the back of his head. He plays the guitar. A little chap in white canvas shoes, his face hidden under a felt hat like a broken wing, breathes into a flute; and a tall thin fellow, with bursting over-ripe button boots, draws ribbons–long, twisted, streaming ribbons–of tune out of a fiddle. They stand, unsmiling, but not serious, in the broad sunlight opposite the fruit-shop; the pink spider of a hand beats the guitar, the little squat hand, with a brass-and-turquoise ring, forces the reluctant flute, and the fiddler’s arm tries to saw the fiddle in two. ». What is not said is frequently as vital as what is said : she takes possession of their silences. Death is more or less openly a theme in the Garden Party stories (in The Stranger, The Garden Party, The Daughters of the Late Colonel etc.). She created a kind of continuity between her short stories, with some allusions, created the unreal process of reading and re-reading. I really love « the Garden Party » which is, I think, her masterpiece : story, style, autobiographical echoes… All is gathered to make a master-piece. I also recommend « Mr and Mrs Dove » , where she examines the idea of marriage and gender relations through the male and female perspectives, an uncommon point of view for the time period.
« All that I write -all that I am – is on the borders of the sea. It is a kind of playing » Katherine Mansfield.