Thursday, 1 August 2013

21 - Greene/Longfellow/Hume

David Hume. The Epicurean.  Wisdom and nature point the way to true pleasure, and man's art is a shadow of nature's. I like his conclusion to: 'render not your joys too serious, by dwelling forever upon it,' but I found this is a difficult essay, with references to Xerxes, Caelia etc., with which I'm unfamiliar. I would need to read this several times to fully understand everything I think.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The Day is Done. This is one of my all-time favourite poems so I wanted to re-read it. I used to have it memorised, and should put it in my memory again. I love the images, the language, the rhythm, the ambience of the poem - a melancholy misty night when reading poetry, the kind that gushes from the heart, and reading it aloud, soothes away the stresses of the day. I imagine them on a wintry night, with a log fire burning and an oil lamp or two. The only sound apart from the poems being read aloud are the breeze rustling the leaves of a tree outside, the crackling of the fire, and a sprinkle of rain on the roof.
'And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.'
That is so beautiful! (I wouldn't have used so many commas though, but that's because styles have changed.)

Short story
Graham Greene. The Blue Film (1954). I love the depth GG gets into his stories, and the characters he draws so deeply and in so few words. He was a genius. This is the story of a middle-aged man who has taken his wife on a business trip to Siam (now Thailand). She wants to do something decadent, such as smoke opium or see strippers, so he takes her to a dingy back alley cinema where they show blue (ie. porno) films, just for them.

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