One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Isola di San Michele: Floating Island of the Dead

Have been dreaming about a visit. Have been dreaming. I saw it from a boat last I was in Venice (did I take a photo?), but didn't visit. I'm hoping to bump into Uncle Ezra and a few other distant relatives.

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San Michele is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It is associated with the sestiere of Cannaregio, from which it lies a short distance northeast.


History

Along with neighbouring San Cristoforo della Pace, the island was a popular place for local travellers and fishermen to land. Mauro Codussi's Chiesa di San Michele in Isola of 1469, the first Renaissance church in Venice, and a monastery lie on the island, which also served for a time as a prison.

San Cristoforo was selected to become a cemetery in 1807, designed by Gian Antonio Selva, when under French occupation it was decreed that burial on the mainland (or on the main Venetian islands) was unsanitary. The canal that separated the two islands was filled in during 1836, and subsequently the larger island became known as San Michele. Bodies were carried to the island on special funeral gondolas. Among those buried there are Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Brodsky, Jean Schlumberger, Christian Doppler, Frederick Rolfe, Horatio Brown, Sergei Diaghilev, Ezra Pound, Luigi Nono, Catherine Bagration, Franco Basaglia, Zoran Mušič, Helenio Herrera, Emilio Vedova, and Salvador de Iturbide y Marzán. The cemetery is still in use today.

[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isola_di_San_Michele]



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Photograph by Aconcagua]





Nikolai Leskov (1831 - 1895)

Inspired by Benjamin's essay, I will probably read Leskov next (unless the blind librarian hands me another book).

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Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov (Russian: Никола́й Семёнович Леско́в; 16 February [O.S. 4 February] 1831 — 5 March [O.S. 21 February] 1895) was a Russian novelist, short story writer, playwright, and journalist who also wrote under the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky. Praised for his unique writing style and innovative experiments in form, and held in high esteem by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky among others, Leskov is credited with creating a comprehensive picture of contemporary Russian society using mostly short literary forms.[1] His major works include Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865) (which was later made into an opera by Shostakovich), The Cathedral Clergy (1872), The Enchanted Wanderer (1873), and The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea (1881).[2]

Leskov received his formal education at the Oryol Lyceum. In 1847 Leskov joined the Oryol criminal court office, later transferring to Kiev where he worked as a clerk, attended university lectures, mixed with local people, and took part in various student circles. In 1857 Leskov quit his job as a clerk and went to work for the private trading company Scott & Wilkins owned by Alexander Scott, his aunt's English husband.

His literary career began in the early 1860s with the publication of his short story The Extinguished Flame (1862), and his novellas Musk-Ox (May 1863) and The Life of a Peasant Woman (September, 1863). His first novel No Way Out was published under the pseudonym M.Stebnitsky in 1864. From the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s Leskov published a wide range of works, including journalism, sketches, short stories, and novels. Leskov's major works, many of which continue to be published in modern versions, were written during this time. A number of his later works were banned because of their satirical treatment of the Russian Orthodox Church and its functionaries. Leskov died on 5 March 1895, aged 64, and was interred in the Volkovo Cemetery in Saint Petersburg, in the section reserved for literary figures.


[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Leskov]

Palette: Green





Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From Benjamin's "Illuminations"

From "The Task of the Translator" (a bit wrenched from context):

Art, in the same way, posits man's physical and spiritual existence, but in none of its works is it concerned with his response. No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bolsa Chica: 5.17.15

Just three souvenirs. Will look for the name of the beautiful groundcover (it was there a month or so ago, has always been there, but it seemed redder than before and had a small, white flower).


 
 

 
 



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Benjamin (Reloaded)

Really enjoyed "Scholem on Benjamin" so I've decided to reread Benjamin's Illuminations. Last read it when I was still "tied to paper," but this time I'm taking it on via Kindle.

Should "take me home" re the semester finale.

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A single clip from Hannah Arendt's Intro re Benjamin:

To describe adequately his work and him as an author within our usual framework of reference, one would have to make a great many negative statements, such as: his erudition was great, but he was no scholar; his subject matter comprised texts and their interpretation, but he was no philologist; he was greatly attracted not by religion but by theology and the theological type of interpretation for which the text itself is sacred, but he was no theologian and he was not particularly interested in the Bible; he was a born writer, but his greatest ambition was to produce a work consisting entirely of quotations; he was the first German to translate Proust (together with Franz Hessel) and St.-John Perse, and before that he had translated Baudelaire's Tableaux pariseiens, but he was no translator; he reviewed books and wrote a number of essays on living and dead writers, but he was no literary critic; he wrote a book about the German baroque and left behind a huge unfinished study of French nineteenth century, but he was no historian, literary or otherwise; I shall try to show that he thought poetically, but he was neither a poet nor a philosopher.




Knight-Errants are Back!

Cottonwoods and Mourning Cloaks. Not many knight-errants yet, but they're riding on a few walls and trying to write their erotemes.