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Thread: Literature Ramble

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I would be careful, though, not infer much about the social role of children during the Second Temple period from their later importance in Rabbinic Judaism (which technically speaking did not exist at the time). From what we can tell (mostly from Josephus), Second Temple Judaism was a different kettle of fish.

    But okay, fine, looking at the post-war, pre-Rabbinic, Gospel narrative and its effect on the way people thought about children over time (which is, as the hippies used to say, your bag) is certainly worth doing.
    It is just a ramble, we do not need to be careful

    Anyways, there is certain cultural traits which are linked to something you pointed ahead: it was very easy to die when you were a child. Our modern society changes it and the perception of what is a children dies. Most of those older (and traditional societies) had this passage momment that the kid jumped to adulthood - which meant to do all choirs and meet the demand of any addult and not only the sexual life and marriage. When we get a traditional society that still around - for example a hunting tribe, the 7-8 years is when the kid must hunt also to provide his share of food. The boys will be out of the mother's guard. Etc. We can expect the hebrew society to have similar approaches.



    From a critical perspective, it is impossible to infer the historicity of the anecdote from its supposedly casual nature. That shouldn't bother us though, since we are now looking at the natural history of a narrative rather than the historical context of a saying. Your question is whether the anecdote contributed to a change (as you say, a radical one) in the social position of children. To know that, we would have to have a better record than we do of the fragmented and sometimes outlaw communities that used the Gospel texts between the 2nd and 4th centuries (that is, before the conversion of Constantine and the normalization of Christian beliefs in the Roman empire. But since we don't, it's almost impossible to say. Welcome to ancient history.
    Of course, just speculation. But I read some of Mamoinides and I do not recall him giving an extra or different care about children either. And funny enough, a heir of that time, Muhammad has a story that he also said the circle closer to Allah in Heaven is where the children go. I think the pressure caused by children death put a lot of pressure in how children was seen and that caused similar approaches. But well...


    It's an interesting question. My other hobby (besides reading) is genealogy. I'm always amazed at the numbers of children my farmer ancestors had in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (even pious Quakers couldn't keep their business in their pockets). Sometimes women would have 10 or 12 children then die (often in childbirth). Their husbands would then marry 19 year olds and have another 10 or 12 kids. There plenty of infant deaths (it makes the genealogy hard because they would often recycle the same names), but I suspect infant and childhood mortality increased the value of children in parents' eyes (understanding that value to be based in part on the child's ability to help in the fields--the reason they wanted to have so many kids in the first place). In that context, it is interesting that Dorothy doesn't have siblings. But I suppose she is an orphan since she lives with her aunt and uncle. Agrarian life could be precarious for adults, too.
    Yes. My greathfather even had the same name of a brother that last 5 months a year before his birth. Children vallue was big but linked with the shadow of death - they could die easily, so lets be sure there will be plenty of them. Something quite primal, but logical and reflected in many ways in the narratives (the special sittuation of primogeny, or only children, the narratives of civil wars around family disuputes, the evil stepmothers which are born from the dispute of heritage, etc.) and shapped the view that children had. As soon medicine worked out and the mortality reduced, the pull for more children reduced too. And of course, more things we had to do with children, more time to care about her, pedagogy, blablabla.



    I suspect, in our times anyway, it is too some extent a marketing concept. Teenagers have money now, and they are dumb enough to be too free with it, so they become a lucrative demographic. I don't know enough about psychology to understand whether being a teenager is socially constructed (or perhaps I just don't trust psychologists enough). But give a 16 year old a rifle and send him to the Battle of Chickamauga and he may find adulthood thrust upon him. Give him a computer game and send him to his room and he'll remain a teenager for some time to come (much to someone's financial gain).
    Of course, there is a market concept over it, but it is not what created that. That is how it can be explored. It is born from school experience - at the moment our socieyt deem that teenagers should be in school and not working (even more), we had to deal with them more and more. Remember, working, making our own money, is a more concrete symbol of adulthood than beard. It is not different from old age, at the moment retirement became a more concrete reality, we had to deal/understand/produce for this new age category.



    Original sin was not formulated per se until long after the Gospels were written. But it was not long after the Christianizing of Rome (when we can finally see something about the way Christians thought about children), and it was first articulated gat least in writing that survives) not in in Europe but in North Africa by Augustine. The 3rd-century Origen (another North African) had a higher anthropology, but again, there was very little sense of orthodoxy in his time (indeed, much of his work was burned once there was). I do not know whether Origen cited the "suffer the little children" saying/anecdote in his thoughts about human nature or if Augustine used it in his. It would be interesting research for a graduate student to take on. But for our discussion, the bottom line is that prior to Augustine's time, the Christian position on human nature would largely have depended on which elder you asked.
    Oh, well, when we study the artistic representation of dead/death, we get in the identification of children with cherubs. As you well know, angels had nothing to do with that image and this imaginery was born from mourning of young children dying (of course, this is higher class we are talking here) so the statues, portraits ,etc created the image. The idea to represent the inocence of a child going to heaven was there, it was a big concern, but it was past VI century, so yeah, this is something post augustyne and cia.

    Yes, she's too white for the racists. Plus MGM would have sued the ears off of Disney if they'd tried anything.
    Baum is public domain now, so no need to worry with MGM, as if Disney couldnt buy them anyways...


    Well, I suppose one is as dangerous as the other if you end up dead. But my point was that Dorothy's danger was more personal. She had accidentally killed the witch's sister and was the object of a vendetta of sorts. So her world, despite its wonders, was filled with dread. Alice faces a more arbitrary, capricious sort of danger (unpredictable people in a mad world). But Wonderland is not a dreadful place as Oz can be at times. Carroll's zany logic underpins the things that happen there.
    Yeah, but that is it: it is personal because there is an organization there that implies her actions had consequences, rules to be broken and amended. Is Alice even doing "acting"?

    I was thinking that Oz's combination of dread (that is, anxiety) and wonder was yet another reason that Dorothy should have been a teenager. But in light of our discussion above, maybe we are missing the point. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, when childhood's vision of splendor in the grass was mitigated by genuine horrors like meningitis, measles, and polio. Perhaps Dorothy's world is sometimes desperate because that was part of being a child at the time, at least children from hersocioeconomic stratum. The horror, if not the witch, was real in a way). Lewis' Carroll's protégées, by contrast, came from a safer (though not altogether safe) level of society. There were ugly duchesses and potentially dangerous aristocrats, but there were no witches seeking your extermination.
    This could make sense if Baum had the option of having her as a teenager. I think both Carroll (even more, because he had a model) imagined little girls because they had no intention to concern with girls old enough to be married, which happened to teenagers back them. Sure, could work if they were 11, but the 7-9 years is a safe age to not allow any sexual tension to slip in the narrative by any accident.



    Yes, I recall your convincing me the last time we talked about this that Baum was influenced by Grimm. It seems obvious to me now (the cursed ax and the woodsman cutting his own body to pieces, etc.), but I was probably thinking of the MGH movie, which is rather sui generis. Dorothy does express amazement that a scarecrow can talk--at least in the movie. I don't remember if she does soin the book, but I would guess so since it sets up dialogue potentially important to Baum's Populist analogy about the scarecrow having no brains. Something like:

    Dorothy: Well, if you don't have any brains, then how can you talk?

    Scarecrow: Oh, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.

    Alice would surely have been curious, too, although her response would probably have been more detached, as with: "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin...but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!" Dorothy is fighting for her life. Alice is at risk, too, but somehow she's always just passing through.
    Dorothy is being the person arguing a Green talking backward Gnome being the wisest warrior in the universe was unrealistic in a universe where sounds happens in space. She is not surprised (if it is like that) with a talking scarecrow, but a with brainless person talking. Very rational she is.



    Thanks. I only know about him from Mario Vargas Llosa's novel about the Canudos rebellion. I guess Dom Sebastião was important to Conselheiro's millennialism.
    In portugal, the waiting for Sebastião is known as sebastianismo, some sort of cultural attitude of expecting the return of "lost good times" symbolized by Dom Sebastião and the age of discovery that was the top of Portugal political power. Conselheiro had this "attitude" , not exactly the desire for Dom Sebastião, but rather how he would restaure the monarchy in Brazil and bring back the "better times" before the republic.
    #foratemer

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    I've already apologized to JC for my sudden and unannounced departure from this site and thread. If anyone else has been following, I extend my regrets to you, too. LitNet would not let me in for several months. I wondered if I had been banned, perhaps for saying that HAL 9000 had Asperger syndrome (which I'll admit wasn't very nice). I seem to be back in any case, although God only knows when the site will pull this crap again.

    I'll try to resume the ramble, although I don't remember everything I said before so I may repeat myself. I notice a comment I made above to the effect that even pious Quakers weren't shy about making babies in the days of high infant mortality rates. I've been researching my Quaker ancestors and Quakerism in general, and I've learned that having an active sex life was actually an important part of the Quaker lifestyle. This was because radical Protestantism largely defined itself against Roman Catholicism, in which there was a great value put on chastity and virginity--even long into adult life. Quaker communities censured and sometimes even exiled men who would not sleep with their wives. But everything needed to be within marriage. You were not allowed to sow your Quaker Oats.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Anyways, there is certain cultural traits which are linked to something you pointed ahead: it was very easy to die when you were a child. Our modern society changes it and the perception of what is a children dies. Most of those older (and traditional societies) had this passage momment that the kid jumped to adulthood - which meant to do all choirs and meet the demand of any addult and not only the sexual life and marriage. When we get a traditional society that still around - for example a hunting tribe, the 7-8 years is when the kid must hunt also to provide his share of food. The boys will be out of the mother's guard. Etc. We can expect the hebrew society to have similar approaches.
    This reminds me of an old joke about the Jewish position on abortion, which (according to the joke) is that a fetus is only a fetus until its third year at medical school. Seriously though, a child becomes responsible for the Commandments at 13. I don't think that was the case during the Second Temple period, though, otherwise one could argue that Jesus taught the Law was not a prerequisite for Salvation (since it is the little children who are like the Kingdom of Heaven). But as I said before, the saying probably references their powerlessness and social insignificance in the secular age.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Oh, well, when we study the artistic representation of dead/death, we get in the identification of children with cherubs. As you well know, angels had nothing to do with that image and this imaginery was born from mourning of young children dying (of course, this is higher class we are talking here) so the statues, portraits ,etc created the image. The idea to represent the inocence of a child going to heaven was there, it was a big concern, but it was past VI century, so yeah, this is something post augustyne and cia.
    Well, the image of cherubs as pudgy babies weren't so much born of mourning parents as adopted by them from earlier fertility images. Roman sculptors loved to put fat babies almost anywhere. They even transformed Eros, whom the Greeks represented as a prankish teenager, into the just-plain-weird Cupid, who still hangs in there after all these years. But cherubs as dead babies aren't going anywhere either. They are popular on Internet genealogy sites (where infant mortality in not uncommon) in place of photographs. I find them a bit maudlin, although I recently uncovered a cult-of death photograph of a 19th-century relative (the son of Harriet Beecher Stowe, in fact, who was a distant cousin). YIKES! Give me cherubs any day.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    This could make sense if Baum had the option of having her as a teenager. I think both Carroll (even more, because he had a model) imagined little girls because they had no intention to concern with girls old enough to be married, which happened to teenagers back them. Sure, could work if they were 11, but the 7-9 years is a safe age to not allow any sexual tension to slip in the narrative by any accident.
    You're probably right. There is also the very real possibility that Baum's publisher told him to make Dorothy a seven to nine years (or that Baum did it on his own) old because that is the age of girls they envisioned reading the book or having it read to them--especially since many sequels were forthcoming. Even then you had to know your market.

    Anyway, it's nice to be rambling again. Hope you're still around. (And feel free to chime in, anyone else).
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Well, the image of cherubs as pudgy babies weren't so much born of mourning parents as adopted by them from earlier fertility images. Roman sculptors loved to put fat babies almost anywhere. They even transformed Eros, whom the Greeks represented as a prankish teenager, into the just-plain-weird Cupid, who still hangs in there after all these years. But cherubs as dead babies aren't going anywhere either. They are popular on Internet genealogy sites (where infant mortality in not uncommon) in place of photographs. I find them a bit maudlin, although I recently uncovered a cult-of death photograph of a 19th-century relative (the son of Harriet Beecher Stowe, in fact, who was a distant cousin). YIKES! Give me cherubs any day.
    Yeah, I mean how the iconography was used, not created. I dunno, perhaps the naughty child Eros image helped to make the kind of "love" he was the God, but then, Romans were not exactly that prude and Eros in the Psyche tale was a bit of mama's boy, but then this story is already in the very edge between myth and faery tale. Well, child mortality may have ceased to be a primary concern (in some countries, of course), we today have stories of children being horror monsters such those scific horror stories of cities controled only by children, or baby monsters ripping people apart as soon they are born and horror stories more concerned with the lack of fertility or birth control effects. Or some scary babies like your favorite 2001 baby


    You're probably right. There is also the very real possibility that Baum's publisher told him to make Dorothy a seven to nine years (or that Baum did it on his own) old because that is the age of girls they envisioned reading the book or having it read to them--especially since many sequels were forthcoming. Even then you had to know your market.
    It would not be strange that someone started to think about children as a public, rather than object, with whims, opinions, preferences (not very far, Disney would be doing more or less the same). It would make sense, instead of "what stories we write for kids that their parents would like" to "what stories the kids would like" and this show an "evolution" to the children story and development of the characters. I am certain Monteiro Lobato (more or less same time) was thinking in the same line. Does Baum make Dorothy age with the sequels like Rowling did with Potter? Or Dorothy remained in her eternal youth?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Yeah, I mean how the iconography was used, not created. I dunno, perhaps the naughty child Eros image helped to make the kind of "love" he was the God, but then, Romans were not exactly that prude and Eros in the Psyche tale was a bit of mama's boy, but then this story is already in the very edge between myth and faery tale.

    Well, sort of. I mean, it morphed into a lot of fairy tale versions, most notably Beauty and the Beast. But that may be a case of function following form, since Apuleius' version is a Neoplatonic fable that he uses as--whatever it was called when authors used to insert thematically related allegories into otherwise unrelated plots). My point is that Apuleius' fable lent itself to later forms. But the myth of Cupid and Psyche was many centuries older than Apuleius, and if our source were Hesiod or Homer (for example) it might seem more profound and less fairy tale-ish. But don't get me wrong, I love Apuleius and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy story --truly a tale as old as time (or however the song goes).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Or some scary babies like your favorite 2001 baby

    This reminds me of an otherwise unrelated subject (but since we're rambling...) It seems to me you said something once about not much liking Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day (or maybe it was just the film version you didn't like---I remember your complaining about Anthony Hopkins). I saw the movie, too, and liked it more than you did. Normally I insist on reading a book before I see a movie, otherwise, it interferes with my imagination of charactets' appearances and especially of the narrator's voice. But that time I didnt. So many years have passed, though, that I thought maybe I could read it without envisioning Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and without hearing Hopkins' voice as the narrator.

    That's a long way to go to say that I bought a copy of Remains of the Day with the prodigious Kindle gift card my wife gave me for our anniversary. Sure enough, the voice is no longer Anthony Hopkins'. It's HAL 9000's. I'm not kidding. The main character, Stevens, talks just like HAL. Both are detached, methodical, and unfailingly polite (despite each pushing his own agenda). Both use the same gentle, robot voice. And of course, they both fail because of who they are (though I suppose that has nothing to do with voice). Ultimately they complement one another: HAL is a robot who is in principle a servant and Stevens is a servant who is on the surface a robot. And both are tragic figures in their own ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Does Baum make Dorothy age with the sequels like Rowling did with Potter? Or Dorothy remained in her eternal youth?

    I've only read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so I don't know. My impression is that she's always a kid. I think she becomes a queen at some point, but I doubt that provides much character development. I think the subsequent books were mostly cash-ins on the success of the first--kind of like a modern movie franchise that turns out sequel after sequel without ever really trying to reach the quality of the original. But as I said I've never read them, so I'm really no judge.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 05-21-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Well, sort of. I mean, it morphed into a lot of fairy tale versions, most notably Beauty and the Beast. But that may be a case of function following form, since Apuleius' version is a Neoplatonic fable that he uses as--whatever it was called when authors used to insert thematically related allegories into otherwise unrelated plots). My point is that Apuleius' fable lent itself to later. But the myth of Cupid and Psyche was many centuries older than Apuleius, and if our source were Hesiod or Homer (for example) it might seem more profound and less fairy tale-ish. But don't get me wrong, I love Apuleius and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy story --truly a tale as old as time (or however the song goes).
    Sure (albeit I think Psyche is a late addition, Eros in Hesiod has a more primeval function, almost a creative principle than just a lover boy). That study i posted a link some pages bellow identify the Eros & Psyche motif (the cursed husband I think is how they call) as one of the oldest oral tales, so, it is back to India (and something reasonable, getting married to someone is a motive for anxiety since ever). Apuleio is of course working in the thin line between myth and faery tales with his Eros & Pysche (and other stories) and his two lovers behave pretty much like teenagers (or imature people, Psyche with her credulity and naiviety and Eros with his capricious pampared attitude, which then again, make sense, since only imature people would be getting married for the first time to be prone to such troubles). But this Eros is not exactly winged, after all he needs help of the wind (forget which one, Boreas?) to capture Psyche.

    It is indeed an interesting tale. Have you seem Shape of Water? (A clear modern version of the tale, modern more in the sense of how the "Belle" of the story has no risk to be called a victim of stolcoholm syndrome).


    This reminds me of an otherwise unrelated subject (but since we're rambling...) It seems to me you said something once about not much liking Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day (or maybe it was just the film version you didn't like---I remember your complaining about Anthony Hopkins. I saw the movie, too, and liked it more than you did. Normally I insist on reading a book before I see a movie, otherwise, it interferes with my imagination of charactets' appearances and especially of the narrator's voice, but that time I didnt. So many years now, though, that I thought maybe I could read it without envisioning Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and without hearing Hopkins' voice as the narrator.
    The movie. I don't dislike it much, just Hopkins is always so over the top with his perfomance, but this was enough to make not have much interest for Ishiguro's work. However, recently I read The Buried Giant (only because I was buying online books and had to fill the vallue to get free shipping, so I found this cheap pocket edition and got it) and I liked it.

    That's a long way to go to say that, I bought a copy of Remains of the Day with the prodigious Kindle gift card my wife gave me for our anniversary. Sure enough, the voice is no longer Anthony Hopkins'. It's HAL 9000's. I'm not kidding. The main character, Stevens, talks just like HAL. Both are detached, methodical, and unfailingly polite (despite each pushing his own agendas). Both use the same gentle, robot voice. And of course, they both fail because of who they are (though I suppose that has nothing to do with voice). Ultimately they complement one another: HAL is a robot who is in principle a servant and Stevens is a servant who is on the surface a robot. And both are tragic figures in their own ways.
    Which means HAL is a pragmatic english construction? So he is Kubrick?



    I've only read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so I don't know. My impression is that she's always a kid. I think she becomes a queen at some point, but I doubt that provides much character development. I think the subsequent books were mostly cash-ins on the success of the first--kind of like a modern movie franchise that turns out sequel after sequel without ever really trying to reach the quality of the original. But as I said I've never read them, so I'm really no judge.
    Ah, I am now curious if she went for the "frozen childhood" children heroine aspect or moved on (which would make sense if Baum was trying to make his audience identify with Dorothy that much). Certainly was a cleaver trick by Rowling, allowing the readers to continue following Porter stories instead of moving to new stories. (Delvish trick maybe).
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Sure (albeit I think Psyche is a late addition, Eros in Hesiod has a more primeval function, almost a creative principle than just a lover boy).

    You're taking me back to my dimly remembered undergraduate days (Hesiod was only a junior professor back then), but I seem to recall that Psyche and Eros (as a couple) had a long pre-literate tradition reflected in little clay votives from the Greek Archaic Period. We bookwyrms are prone to forget that our literary forebears didn't make this stuff up. And actually it looks like those the crazy kids have been dating for a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    That study i posted a link some pages bellow identify the Eros & Psyche motif (the cursed husband I think is how they call) as one of the oldest oral tales, so, it is back to India (and something reasonable, getting married to someone is a motive for anxiety since ever).

    Interesting. Indian traders were sailing to Sumer (via the Persian Gulf) very early. That is the most likely route of dissemination west. I wonder if original/transitional forms exist from India or Mesopotamia.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Apuleio is of course working in the thin line between myth and faery tales with his Eros & Pysche (and other stories) and his two lovers behave pretty much like teenagers (or imature people, Psyche with her credulity and naiviety and Eros with his capricious pampared attitude, which then again, make sense, since only imature people would be getting married for the first time to be prone to such troubles).

    I'm not sure that's the case with Apuleius' version C&Psy (see and sigh--not a bad title for a love story); and much less so with the "other stories" you mention. The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche circulated in Renaissance Europe independently of the rest of the Golden A ss. That led to the idea that it was typical of Apileius's overall style (it isn't). And since it appeared to be a fairy tale (and later influenced fairy tales), people got the idea that Apuleius was a sort of 2nd century Roman Perrault. While the early chapters of the Golden A ss contain plenty of supernatural vignettes (some doubtlessly popular ghost and witch stories, it is far more a proto-picaresque novel than a collection of folk tales. Moreover, Apuleius' tone darkens quickly, and grows rather ugly before he's done, as he seeks to show the degraded nature of carnal life. This is very much a Neoplatonic allegory and really not a fairy tale at all. I know many fairy tales were allegorical in a similar way (Beauty and the Beast, for example), but that's at least partly because they were influenced by the (independently circulating) editions of Cupid and Psyche. But Apuleius himself was up to something quite different.


    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    But this Eros is not exactly winged, after all he needs help of the wind (forget which one, Boreas?) to capture Psyche.

    It was Zephyr, I think. And, hey, even a 747 can use a good tailwind sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    It is indeed an interesting tale. Have you seem Shape of Water? (A clear modern version of the tale, modern more in the sense of how the "Belle" of the story has no risk to be called a victim of stolcoholm syndrome).

    No, I've never even heard of it. I don't spend money on movies anymore (although I saw Zootopia in a hotel room recently and just loved it). Oh hey, apropos of nothing, there's a book out this year about Circe (just called Circe, I think) that looks like your kind of thing. Do you know about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The movie. I don't dislike it much, just Hopkins is always so over the top with his perfomance, but this was enough to make not have much interest for Ishiguro's work. However, recently I read The Buried Giant (only because I was buying online books and had to fill the vallue to get free shipping, so I found this cheap pocket edition and got it) and I liked it.

    I was hot and cold on The Buried Giant. I liked the first third, which reminded me of the black and white medieval world in Bergman's The Seventh Seal. But I was bored silly by the second third. I mean, I got the postmodernism, and actually the part about the dying dragon was pretty good, but most of it seemed to me like Ishiguro does Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Huh? Then unexpectedly I loved the last third and was deeply moved by it. I also liked some of the ideas Ishiguro was playing with throughout the novel--about memory and history and the cost of remembering love and hate. On the whole it was worth reading, though I could have done without the faux sword and sorcery parts.


    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Ah, I am now curious if she went for the "frozen childhood" children heroine aspect or moved on (which would make sense if Baum was trying to make his audience identify with Dorothy that much). Certainly was a cleaver trick by Rowling, allowing the readers to continue following Porter stories instead of moving to new stories. (Delvish trick maybe).

    My bet is that Baum kept her forever young. Rowling's franchise has to make money in a the ADHD-paced world of 21st-century youth attention. That means you have to bring the paying cohort along with you because the next generation can never be counted on not to become distracted by the Next Big Shiny Thing. Baum didn't have to worry about that. He wrote for the oversized American farm families at the turn of the century. Those kids were still living like their great grandparents had--with not much change in sight (as far as anyone knew). So it made sense for him to identify a lucrative readership and stick with it. If one set of young'uns outgrew Dorothy and the gang, there was bound to be another one right behind. We've already talked about the importance of making babies in the American Midwest.
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    By the way, I'm thinking about reading "Till we have faces" (C.S. Lewis) in the coming months; it has to do with the same Greek myth. I've already read most of Lewis' works and mostly enjoyed reading them. Has someone read it and can, perhaps, recommend it?

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    Hey, Benjy! Welcome to the Ramble! I haven't read Till We Have faces. Ecurb is the C.S. Lewis expert around this place. He's probably read it. Or maybe JC has. I know he's read the Narnia books.
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    Nope, I read only the Narnia books and Out of Silent planet, also know as the book that blinded Borges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    You're taking me back to my dimly remembered undergraduate days (Hesiod was only a junior professor back then), but I seem to recall that Psyche and Eros (as a couple) had a long pre-literate tradition reflected in little clay votives from the Greek Archaic Period. We bookwyrms are prone to forget that our literary forebears didn't make this stuff up. And actually it looks like those the crazy kids have been dating for a long time.
    A quick cheek, she is really not mentioned on Theogony (I do not recall in Homer either, but his theme is more spefic, I suppose she would not have any function in a work where Aphrodite gets kicked out). But then, Homer and Hesiod may predate Psyche myth and she can be still be an old tale. Of course, this would have little to do with Apueleio and watever version the romans produced. Stuff like a matron-like Aphrodite is very roman. Greek gods when went pissed off usually would do something very colorful, not some scheme to kill a rival.

    Interesting. Indian traders were sailing to Sumer (via the Persian Gulf) very early. That is the most likely route of dissemination west. I wonder if original/transitional forms exist from India or Mesopotamia.
    More or less, the idea of the study is rather ingenuous. We have the indo-european language more or less developed, in the sense we "Know" where and when those languages traveled from India to europe. They used the stystem used to build up the philogenic charts for animals to produce a reasonable guess about the origem of the tales (using the complex Arnie-Thompson classification). So, in cultures (therefore) languages they found tales of a kind, they marked it. If they see this take in the language three was present in other "branches" it was reasponable to expect to be present in the previous "ancestor" branch (they used older languages, but more or less, like it is reasonable to expect Sleeping Beauty in the latim branch, since we find it in french, italian, portuguese, etc - keep in mind this is just an example, there is cinderela in china too, so i am just being simplistic). They went with this pratice and of course, at some point there is a clear lack of register, but they come to the conclusion the Eros & Psyche motif was one of the oldest motifs (another was abotu the ironsmith that make as a deal with the devil (or death) and at the time of payment he tricks the devil to be stuck in a chair and gets away with it - a reasonable story about contact with other cultures and technological trade we also saw in 2001 ). I saw mentions of an Appalachian, Chiense, Turk and Japanese versions (but without details, so I have no idea if they are after XVII century or before).

    I'm not sure that's the case with Apuleius' version C&Psy (see and sigh--not a bad title for a love story); and much less so with the "other stories" you mention. The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche circulated in Renaissance Europe independently of the rest of the Golden A ss. That led to the idea that it was typical of Apileius's overall style (it isn't). And since it appeared to be a fairy tale (and later influenced fairy tales), people got the idea that Apuleius was a sort of 2nd century Roman Perrault. While the early chapters of the Golden A ss contain plenty of supernatural vignettes (some doubtlessly popular ghost and witch stories, it is far more a proto-picaresque novel than a collection of folk tales. Moreover, Apuleius' tone darkens quickly, and grows rather ugly before he's done, as he seeks to show the degraded nature of carnal life. This is very much a Neoplatonic allegory and really not a fairy tale at all. I know many fairy tales were allegorical in a similar way (Beauty and the Beast, for example), but that's at least partly because they were influenced by the (independently circulating) editions of Cupid and Psyche. But Apuleius himself was up to something quite different.
    Oh, no, I do not think he is like Perrault or Grimm or any other of faery tale collectors. He is a satyrist, more like Petronio, obviously some oral stories came to his tale, but his work is the work of someone who read more Ovid than listen to old wives. He is in the thin line between myth and faery tale not because he had any notion of that (Well, chronology for all this is a bit absurd, but I do not think we can even mention faery tale with the religion reggarding those myths still with enough credit. It is necessary an "womb" made of skepticism, mixing with popular traditions, changes in the belief system, time to bring a faery tale, be it original from Herodotus or Apuelio or Sophocles or however.), but because his comic approach certainly help to remove part of the "sacred" aura of story and made it ready for popular appreciation. Of course, he was probally read without being read at all before he was rediscovered, being absorbed by oral tradition even if not the exactly story, but the structure and facetious tone that was borrowed by a number of stories.


    No, I've never even heard of it. I don't spend money on movies anymore (although I saw Zootopia in a hotel room recently and just loved it). Oh hey, apropos of nothing, there's a book out this year about Circe (just called Circe, I think) that looks like your kind of thing. Do you know about it?
    I liked the movie (dark movie in a way, but interesting that even with the realistic approach (as sci-fic, with obvious references to B Monster of Lagoon movies), a movie that trusted in magic (there represented by the love for old musical by the belle of the story).

    Madeline Miler book? I am an oportunit to get books (hence I end reading less recent books), the price of it is a bit prohibitive by now (I do not think it is even translated yet and if I pay the dollar, it would go as close as R$ 250,00...)


    I was hot and cold on The Buried Giant. I liked the first third, which reminded me of the black and white medieval world in Bergman's The Seventh Seal. But I was bored silly by the second third. I mean, I got the postmodernism, and actually the part about the dying dragon was pretty good, but most of it seemed to me like Ishiguro does Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Huh? Then unexpectedly I loved the last third and was deeply moved by it. I also liked some of the ideas Ishiguro was playing with throughout the novel--about memory and history and the cost of remembering love and hate. On the whole it was worth reading, though I could have done without the faux sword and sorcery parts.
    Would you disagree if I can translate this to: the old couple was engaging and interesting, but sometimes the setting get a bit too lively and we have those knights for some motive in the story?




    My bet is that Baum kept her forever young. Rowling's franchise has to make money in a the ADHD-paced world of 21st-century youth attention. That means you have to bring the paying cohort along with you because the next generation can never be counted on not to become distracted by the Next Big Shiny Thing. Baum didn't have to worry about that. He wrote for the oversized American farm families at the turn of the century. Those kids were still living like their great grandparents had--with not much change in sight (as far as anyone knew). So it made sense for him to identify a lucrative readership and stick with it. If one set of young'uns outgrew Dorothy and the gang, there was bound to be another one right behind. We've already talked about the importance of making babies in the American Midwest.
    Yeah, it seems (quick search) he didnt aged her even after she moved to Oz, but then, it appears very little time passed story-wise. He seems to have suffered the Doyle-syndrome, of wanting to move from a character, but the public had no intention to let him do so.
    Last edited by JCamilo; 05-22-2018 at 09:08 AM.
    #foratemer

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Out of Silent planet, also know as the book that blinded Borges.
    Why is that so? Interesting book, by the way, especially because of its impressive atmosphere.

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    Borges in his memory tells about a small accident that happened to him, while waiting a book arrive by mail. When the mailman came, he climbed down the stairs too fast and feel, hitting the head and had to be taken to the hospital. There he had a sort of panic because his sight showed signals of vanishing (However, he never had good sight, it was a hereditary) and he went thinking he would never be able to write again. However, that was also when he he came with the idea of his short stories about other stories. The book he was waiting was Out of Silent Planet (he reviewed the book for a newspaper).

    However, I think he was making up a Excalibur out of the stone momment, because the years do not match well, for what I noticed, and I honestly, do not Imagine Borges that enthustiastic with C.S.Lewis (albeit his review of the book was positive, but then, he was usually respectuful and avoided to say negative stuff in his reviews).

    Yes, interesting book, but I could not avoid to think Lewis aliens were more close to Tolkien elfs than the movies were able to portrait (Yes, I am aware Lewis book came out before Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, where the elfs were really defined).
    #foratemer

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    may I ramble a bit here myself and add is there anyone here who may say:
    I am thinking of ''not reading''....fifty shades of grey for example?
    and was Byron really that promiscuous ??
    just saying
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    Fifty Shades of Gray? Heavens, no! You'd have to tie me up first.

    Re: Byron--well so they say. But I think what really destroyed his reputation was more qualitative than quantitative one. He was supposed to have been sexually involved with his sister. But I don't know if that is true. I doubt it, although he apparently had a very close relationship with her (hence the gossip).

    And welcome, by the way. Come ramble with us!
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Stuff like a matron-like Aphrodite is very roman.

    Very true. The Romans didn't have a problem with aggression (natural so okay) or sexuality as aspects of family. Romulus and Remus were the sons of the war god, Mars, and a none too chaste Vestal Virgin (Vesta being the goddess of the family). And their foster mother the she-wolf is similar (wolves are aggressive but good parents).

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I saw mentions of an Appalachian, Chiense, Turk and Japanese versions (but without details, so I have no idea if they are after XVII century or before).

    Interesting. Appalachia obviously is not going to be before the 17th century. Quite a few of the Child Ballads went there, but I can't think of a close British equivalent off hand. Tam Lin is certainly a "cursed husband" (or in his case, a cured boyfriend) and Janet has to win him from an overbearing goddess-like figure, but the story is otherwise pretty different. Also I don't know that Tam and Janet ever actually immigrated.


    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Oh, no, I do not think he is like Perrault or Grimm or any other of faery tale collectors. He is a satyrist, more like Petronio, obviously some oral stories came to his tale, but his work is the work of someone who read more Ovid than listen to old wives.

    Well, he's not quite a satirist either. All he's really got in common with Petronius is that they both wrote extremely early picaresques of a sort (Satyricon is more of a lowlife novel, but as you know, having a lowlife protagonist was a common feature of later picaresques). The best way to think about Apuleius is as a born again Neoplatonist. Even though he was a pagan, he was big influence on Augustine (who calls him "Apuleius the philosopher" and cites him maybe a hundred times in The City of God). Apuleius also wrote a treatise on Magic, which seems to have been an early interest judging from all the witchcraft in The Golden A ss. His "born again pagan" status seems to have been a reaction against his early dalliance in black magic, although it's a little hard to tell. Anyway, the Romans had satirists, and they didn't resemble Apuleius very closely. His book is more of a--sexy religious allegory?


    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    He is in the thin line between myth and faery tale not because he had any notion of that (Well, chronology for all this is a bit absurd, but I do not think we can even mention faery tale with the religion reggarding those myths still with enough credit. It is necessary an "womb" made of skepticism, mixing with popular traditions, changes in the belief system, time to bring a faery tale, be it original from Herodotus or Apuelio or Sophocles or however.), but because his comic approach certainly help to remove part of the "sacred" aura of story and made it ready for popular appreciation.

    Oh, I see what you are saying. Well, sort of. I mean, he's not trying remove the sacred aura, but he is taking the myth of Cupid and Psyche strictly as Neoplatonic allegory (as you suggest, he's an intellectual); so he is stripping the story of its traditional cultic significance. That may have contributed to the effect you are talking about.


    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Madeline Miler book?

    Yes, Circe by Madeline Miller. Looks like it could be fun. But I'll probably wait, too. I'm into heavy realism these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Would you disagree if I can translate this to: the old couple was engaging and interesting, but sometimes the setting get a bit too lively and we have those knights for some motive in the story?

    How about this? An otherwise moving novella about marriage padded into a novel by the addition of a bunch of Harry Potter-ish filler.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    He seems to have suffered the Doyle-syndrome, of wanting to move from a character, but the public had no intention to let him do so.

    Yes, Sherlock Holmes actually rose from the dead. That's more than Arthur Conan Doyle ever managed to do. But surely his mustache lives on in a better place.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 05-23-2018 at 10:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Interesting. Appalachia obviously is not going to be before the 17th century. Quite a few of the Child Ballads went there, but I can't think of a close British equivalent off hand. Tam Lin is certainly a "cursed husband" (or in his case, a cured boyfriend) and Janet has to win him from an overbearing goddess-like figure, but the story is otherwise pretty different. Also I don't know that Tam and Janet ever actually immigrated.
    I saw a list of english versions, again, no details provided, but some are clearly post-Perrault with the title similar to Belle, but other aren't. There is no french influence in the appalachia's region?


    Well, he's not quite a satirist either. All he's really got in common with Petronius is that they both wrote extremely early picaresques of a sort (Satyricon is more of a lowlife novel, but as you know, having a lowlife protagonist was a common feature of later picaresques). The best way to think about Apuleius is as a born again Neoplatonist. Even though he was a pagan, he was big influence on Augustine (who calls him "Apuleius the philosopher" and cites him maybe a hundred times in The City of God). Apuleius also wrote a treatise on Magic, which seems to have been an early interest judging from all the witchcraft in The Golden A ss. His "born again pagan" status seems to have been a reaction against his early dalliance in black magic, although it's a little hard to tell. Anyway, the Roman's had satirists, and they didn't resemble Apuleius very closely. His book is more of a--sexy religious allegory?
    Well, perhaps satyrist was a misplaced word, but anyways...


    Oh, I see what you are saying. Well, sort of. I mean, he's not trying remove the sacred aura, but he is taking the myth of Cupid and Psyche strictly as Neoplatonic allegory (as you suggest, he's an intellectual); so he is stripping the story of its traditional cultic significance. That may have contributed to the effect you are talking about.
    Well, that was the birth of allegorical interpretations among greeks was like this, even if Apulleio had or not some faith on Psyche and Eros cult (something not hard to believe, as you mention his ties with dark magic, considering the whole travel to the underworld part of the tale), for the effect was beyond his control. Just like however made Medea that perfect Faery Goodmother that turns in a terrible Witch had no idea one day she would be offering poison apples to 13 year old girls.

    How about this? An otherwise moving novella about marriage padded into a novel by the addition of a bunch of Harry Potter-ish filler.
    A bit mean, everything is so old there. Even if the thing goes a little dragged with Gareth and the whole arturian duels in the middle of the story, It got me wondering - Ishiguro is not japanese, but I have seen him claiming to have influence of this side (but then, how much indian Kipling was) and a literary aspect of japenese literature, named Mono no Ware, which is sort like the feeling of things passing, while they are still there. Or perhaps he just wanted to play the celtic twilight card a bit...


    Yes, Sherlock Holmes actually rose from the dead. That's more than Arthur Conan Doyle ever managed to do. But surely his mustache lives on in a better place.
    Which is something funny, because reading holmes stories by Doyle after the "ressurection" you got exactly the feeling Doyle wanted to twist Holmes neck a couple of time
    #foratemer

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