Wednesday, 31 July 2013

20 - Saki/Yeats/Hazlitt

Short story
Saki. The Open Window. Another brilliant and funny story by Saki, about a man visiting neighbours in the country village he has moved to for health reasons.

W.B. Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole (1917) A beautiful rustic poem about swans in the autumn over the years when he visited a friend, and is the title poem of one of Yeats's collections of poems. It has a regular rhyme, but so cleverly done that it's not noticeable, and it doesn't have the sing-song quality of many rhyming poems such as bush poems. It's more contemplative and the lines are different lengths, which allows for pauses before changing ideas.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830). Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen (pub. 1826). Charles Lamb posed the question, and Hazlitt answers it, describing a discussion in Lamb's house on which dead people those in the room would most like to see. They discuss writers, artists, politicians, famous women and so on. Many of the names are still familiar- such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, da Vinci and Judas Iscariot - and others are not known to me, or I recognise the name but know nothing about them. An interesting question though -if you could for instance only pick two to meet, who would they be?

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