Posts Tagged ‘literature’

This year marked the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  There have been many articles and books written in celebration of this brilliant work.  David Day’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Decoded (2015) must be one of the most unique explorations of the book’s creation.  Day pairs the full text of the novel with a detailed analysis of how Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) tapped his interests in mathematics, literature, religion, music and more to build a complex world for a curious little girl named Alice.

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson),photograph,2 June 1857

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson),photograph,2 June 1857

It is widely believed that the character Alice is based on Alice Liddell. Alice and her sisters Lorina, Edith and brother Harry were the children of Henry George Liddell, dean of Christ Church College, Oxford where Hodgson had been studying mathematics. He would befriend the family and especially the sisters and the rest is literary history.

Alice Liddel, photograph by ,1860

Alice Liddel, photograph by Lewis Carroll,1860

A few years ago I had the opportunity to meander around Christ Church, Oxford and there I photographed a stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones. His model was Edith Liddell.  That image appears in Mr. Day’s book for which I am grateful because the book is filled with beautiful illustrations, photography and reproductions of engraving and paintings.  And then there’s the mathematical diagram of Fibonacci’s rabbits and the explanation of how that rule applies to the story.  The book truly is a treat for people of wide-ranging interests.

Highly recommend this article by Katherine Dedyna in the Times Colonist and Nathan Whitlock’s review on the Quill and Quire.

The book is available for purchase via the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Alices-Adventures-Wonderland-Decoded-Carrolls/dp/0385682263

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Recently, a friend invited me to join her for an “art-in,” and there she provided me with paper, pens and watercolors and encouraged me to paint whatever came to mind.  I decided to paint what I call a little somerset sky.

a somerset sky

a somerset sky

Its origin is this:  Of late, W. Somerset Maugham’s  Of Human Bondage has found its way into my hands, and there is a particular color-filled passage that I return to.  It is near the end of the book.  After an eventful night, Philip Carey, the main character …

“He leaned against the parapet and looked toward the morning.  At that hour the great city was like a city of the dead. The sky was cloudless, but the stars were dim at the approach of day; there was a light mist on the river, and the great buildings on the north side were like palaces in an enchanted island.  … It was all of an unearthly violet, troubling somehow and awe-inspiring; but quickly everything grew pale, and cold, and grey.  Then the sun rose, a ray of yellow gold stole across the sky, and the sky was iridescent .”

Thanks, Carol, for the opportunity to put brush to paper.  More about Carol’s beautiful artwork later this summer.

Have a good day, folks. 😉

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Hands, hands, hands.  I was surprised in preparing this post to discover that I have written about hands quite a bit over the years. Two posts that moved me most were from four years ago, Hands I and Hands II.   Hands stood out again during a recent visit to the Boston Public Library, visiting yet again the room with the Abbey Murals. I’ve photographed the murals often but this time I tried to focus on the hands.

For those new to the murals, in the 1890s Edwin Austin Abbey began a series of 15 wall paintings depicting The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail (based on a version of the legend by Henry James).  They were installed in 1895.

On the BPL website, you can read a description of the 15 panels and the story they depict.  Given how many shy maidens must have their hands kissed by Sir Galahad …

… and how many babes, swords and various vessels must be borne aloft and so on …

… well, it’s clear why Abbey paid so much attention to the hands of his legendary figures.

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As a child, I loved all literary critters from Stuart Little to Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web.  I also loved the feisty young heroes in books like Little House on the Prairie, The Black Stallion, The Secret Garden, The Swiss Family Robinson and so many more.   I wanted to be those young people and see the places described in those literary worlds.  Those young people and those stories helped to shape my initial views of my country, the world, and of myself.  I think I turned out okay. 😉  But I do recognize as writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asserts in the following TED presentation how stories — or the communication of “a single story” — can have unexpected consequences at many levels.  In her eloquence on a thought-provoking topic, she raises both my awareness as reader and writer.  I hope you have a chance to view.

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check out the Spring 2013 issue of Talking Writing Magazine.  There’s just some darn fine writing and imagery appearing in that publication.  Start with Editor Martha Nichol’s reflections on Why I Love and Hate Nature Writing. And in Green Among the Bones, Marc Schiffman presents a moving recount of his travels in Cambodia in an essay illustrated with photography by Mary Dineen.  More of her work can been seen in her Image Essay.  I’ll be honest I almost titled this post “my butt hurts,” a line taken from Patricia Dubrava’s Me, Writing.  I’ll stop there.  Hmmm, okay, two more words:  treat yourself. 😉


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Ingres Serenades The Memory Of His Late Wife's Youth by Donald Langosy

Ingres Serenades The Memory Of His Late Wife’s Youth by Donald Langosy

Walking into the studio of artist Donald Langosy is like venturing into a secret garden soaked in light and shadow.  At first, all that one can do is gaze at the surrounding forest of color-filled canvases in all sizes.  Then the individual scenes emerge, often mysterious, sometimes dark and yet filled with light and motion at the same time.  By his subject matter, it is clear his passions for family, friends and for the artists across the disciplines who continue to inspire and influence his work.  The drama, the intensity and indeed the mischievous humor, come through each piece.  Last year I asked him how music influenced his work (view here).  This year I asked if he’d share an update on recent works.  Thankfully, he shared these images and the following words about what’s new, his creative process and where he finds goodness and beauty in this world.


Here are recent paintings as requested.  The Titania Paintings are from my Shakespeare series:  Midsummer Night’s Dream.  This is an ongoing series of 50″x42″ canvases that were actually painted end of last year.

Titania Sleeping by Donald Langosy

Titania Sleeping

I thought [the above painting of artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres serenading his young wife] would lead into a series showing artists with their model/muses and so I began …

Mr. and Mrs. William Blake in their Garden Reading Paradise Lost by Donald Langosy

Mr. and Mrs. William Blake in their Garden Reading Paradise Lost

“... but my intentions veered with …

John Milton Composing Paradise Lost by Donald Langosy

John Milton Composing Paradise Lost

… and now I find myself beginning two large canvases that will deal with thoughts that have emerged out of the garden of eden…

And as for Mr. Langosy’s muse, his wife, Elizabeth…

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty is a painting that has been buried in my stacks for over a decade…it now shines over my shoulder as I work… reminding me that while evil and ugliness might have its moment it is rejected and fades… but goodness and beauty, an eternal delight,  endures….

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty by Donald Langosy

Celebrating Elizabeth Turns Fifty by Donald Langosy

Learn more about this artist at his Facebook page, The Art of Donald Langosy.

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Have you read Ray Bradbury’s The Pedestrian?  I had not until today.  Out loud.  Quite moving.  Amazing how some stories remain timeless, isn’t it? I also chanced upon the following video, a six minute and forty-four second student production based on the 1951 short story.  The dialogue is in German but if you do not speak German, I think the scenery and music are powerful enough.   See what you think when you have a chance.

The original short story:  The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

The YouTube video: http://youtu.be/t3qZsXStnlw

The Wiki summary (with some quotes by Bradbury): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pedestrian


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Via this link you can read English professor Hank Kellner’s latest article on Using Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing, an article that incorporates my poem, The Color of Sadness.  Throughout our lives, if we’re lucky, teachers guide us.  English teachers have been very important in my life.  That is why I am so honored to have met Hank who is so dedicated to helping other teachers inspire their students to write.  He enables teachers to help their students view a photo or a poem as a launching point.  He has certainly helped me view my own writing with new eyes.  I wrote the Color of Sadness as an expression of lingering grief over the loss of my parents.  I have watched him turn it into a teaching tool.  What an amazing world.  😉


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Pens, Paper, Postcards

Pens, Paper, Postcards

The camera is not going away, but if I have one goal in 2013, it is to do more creative writing.  Without doubt motivation has come from my involvement with Talking Writing, a nonprofit online literary magazine featuring the work of writers and visual artists.  I know firsthand the commitment and dedication of the editors in helping writers dig deep. See for yourself by checking out the Winter 2013 Issue.  And meet the editors this week at the 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Boston.

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I do not know if I will ever meet Mr. John Gredler, winner of the 2012 Talking Writing Prize for Nature Writing.  What I do know is viewing his words and image at the end of a long day was a lovely, calming respite.  If you’re in need, check it out. 😉


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