Category Archives: fine arts

on inhabiting earth with inaccessibly beautiful things

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0I unfortunately know no Chinese. The sounds, resonances, allusions, and calligraphy of traditional Chinese poetry can reach me only through paraphrase or as abstract patterns, each character looking not much different from the next. However, Perry Link writes, Should we compare … Continue reading

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Walter de la Mare, Fare Well

Facebook4 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 4Derek Walcott says that he always “cherished” the poem “Fare Well” by Walter de la Mare “because of its melody and its plaintiveness.” I think Walcott proceeds to recite it from memory rather than read it, because his spoken … Continue reading

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aphorisms, proverbs, maxims, and the purpose of this blog

Facebook10 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 10If you search the Internet for “aphorisms,” you’ll find a mix of authors, from Lao Tze to Jean Baudrillard. Some are literary figures who are eminently quotable–good at writing short, memorable passages that stand on their own even if … Continue reading

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cultural mixing and power

Facebook6 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 6  These two objects were juxtaposed during a wonderful Tisch Talk in the Humanities yesterday, with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Lisa Lowe from Tufts’ Department of English. On … Continue reading

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Maoist chic as Orientalism

Facebook6 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 6While visiting the excellent Tufts University Art Gallery exhibition, “Tseng Kwong-Chi: Performing for the Camera,” my colleagues and I heard the following story. Tseng was the child of Chinese anticommunist refugees. He moved to the East Village in the … Continue reading

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game theory, naval warfare, and Derek Walcott

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0I am in Washington, DC but remembering our winter vacation in Les Saintes, near Guadeloupe, because I am reading Derek Walcott’s astoundingly good epic, Omeros. In the channel with three islets christened “Les Saintes” in a mild … Continue reading

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remembering Melisto

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0This is Melisto, a daughter of Ktesikrates from Sounion, which is now a day-trip from Athens. I think her name means “Melody,” unless it’s related to the word for “honey.”* Melisto lived for a few years (six, perhaps?) around 340 BCE. … Continue reading

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on the proper use of moral clichés

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0In Joseph Roth’s finely wrought novel The Redetsky March (1932), a simple and good-hearted peasant orderly tries to make a huge financial sacrifice to help his boss, Lieutenant Trotta. The feckless Trotta is badly in debt, and … Continue reading

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St. Margaret of Cortona and medieval populism

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0 This is highlight #3 from our recent vacation in Italy. St. Margaret of Cortona was a remarkable person–more on her in a moment. The picture is a narrative of her life painted around 1298, or just … Continue reading

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civic republicanism in medieval Italy: the Lucignano council frescoes

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0 This is highlight #2 from our recent time in Italy. Lucignano is a small medieval town in Tuscany, notable for its street plan of concentric ellipses capping a steep hill. During the middle ages, it was … Continue reading

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