Thursday, 25 July 2013

15 - Saki/Longfellow/Hume

Now we enter the third week and night 15 of the 1000 nights. So far it's been fine and I've found the time to do this, although I must admit my selections have been based on how short the essay or story is! It doesn't matter, and I expect life will intervene from time to time and I will have gaps when I do nothing at all. Having said that though, it takes about 30 minutes to read a poem, a story, and an essay, and if I can't find that then there's something wrong. I've also found time to write, and have written two fairly decent short stories and other stuff as well, along with my non-fiction articles and editing.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Village Blacksmith. This is a great poem. It tells a story, is emotional without descending into pathos, and paints a picture of a hard-working man who has had ups and downs in life and who carries on and does what he needs to do. I can picture him, and I can empathise with him, and even though the job of the village blacksmith is gone, I can see him mirrored in a thousand men and women in a thousand different jobs. Big fan of HWL.

Short story
Saki, The Match-maker. I'm on a roll with Saki and loving this crazy, imaginative and probably quite weird, man. I love this: 'You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.' I know people just like that! How about this:
'My mother is thinking of getting married.'
'It's the first time.'
'brevity is the soul of widowhood.'
I'm loving the way Saki writes.

David Hume. Of Superstition and Enthusiasm. Hume defines superstition and enthusiasm as corruptions of the true religion. (I would have thought they are both characteristics of religion, but who am I to say - and in fact he says as much later on.) He thinks superstition is founded on depression and melancholy and enthusiasm is founded on presumptuous pride and confidence. Hume contends that superstition is an enemy to civil liberty and enthusiasm is a friend to it.
I need to read this one again as it seems alien and foreign to this 21st century world, and I'm not sure what he's really saying.

Didn't do any fiction today, but wrote a couple of non-fiction articles.

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