T.S. Eliot in the Library

September 26, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

"In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo"...Eliot photographed by Lady Ottoline Morrell

26 September 1888: Thomas Stearns Eliot born in St Louis, Missouri. In its long piece on Old Possum, Poetry Foundation [https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/t-s-eliot] said: “When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, “the world became a lesser place.” Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky “not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.” For Alfred Kazin he was “the mana known as ‘T. S. Eliot,’ the model poet of our time, the most cited poet and incarnation of literary correctness in the English-speaking world.” Northrop Frye simply states: “A…

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The Football Solution

By George Megalogenis (2018) First, one disclamatory reason for liking this book. At a pub on the south side of Adelaide on AFL Grand Final day, 2017, I was the sole Richmond supporter (wearing my Glenelg Tigers scarf and barracking for my 2nd team) which earned plenty of dirty looks.  Outside a restaurant in town after the match, I caught the eye of an Adelaide Crows fan, bedecked in all the gear, packing his sullen family into a people-mover.  Without a trace of sarcasm (because I’ve seen a few losing Grand Finals, and you don’t rub it in in such…

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H. L. Mencken and Crap Towns

September 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, TRAVEL, WRITING & LITERATURE |

H. L. Mencken (12 September 1880) There’s a splendid English book called Crap Towns.  Lovingly referred to by ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ as “The Domesday book of misery” it celebrates awful urban constructs, from Luton to Hull to Bury St Edmonds.  TVC once thought to produce an Australian edition, covering such lively towns as Mt Druitt and Wilcannia, NSW, and Millicent, SA. But the great H.L. Mencken beat us all to it.  In his 1928 article, The Libido for the Ugly, Mencken canvasses the ugliest towns in the USA: “I have seen, I believe, all of the most unlovely towns of…

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H. L. Mencken and Götterdämmerung

September 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, METAPHYSICS, Non-Fiction |

Wotan's ravens (by Arthur Rackham)

H.L.Mencken, 12 September, 1880 Mencken buried lots of idols, icons, and foolish ideas.  He also buried a swathe of gods: “Huitzilopochtli…was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that [his mother, a virtuous widow] carried on with the sun…But to-day Huitzilopochtli is as Marie Corelli. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Father Rasputin, J.B. Planché, Sadi Carnot, General Boulanger, Lottie Collins, and Little Tich.”* Mencken goes on to list some 114 gods and comments: “They were gods of the highest standing and dignity – gods of civilized peoples – worshipped and believed in by…

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D. H. Lawrence

September 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Born 11 September 1885 ‘There was very little about Lawrence that wasn’t irritating to someone.  Edmund Wilson…thought him “ill-bred and hysterical…One saw that he belonged to an inferior caste – some bred-down unripening race of the collieries. Against this inferiority – fundamental and physical-he must have had to fight all his life: his passionate spirit made up for it by exaggerated self-assertion.“‘* Lawrence’s books evoked similar reactions.  One critic lumped him in with novelists “who appear to have passed their prime long before reaching it.”*  (Note that your correspondent once wrote a high school essay asserting that there was no…

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