Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rosemary's Baby's Birthday

Yeah, I plan to get back to Catullus next Wednesday.  Christmas comes six months from today, so Ira Levin made that Rosemary's baby's birthday.  March 25 (my grandmother's birthday) used to mark the new year since people considered it the day of Jesus's conception.  September 25 marks William Faulkner's birthday.

I watched Rosemary's Birthday on cable about fifteen years ago.  Joe Bob Briggs hosted, and he did a very thorough job discussing the production.  After each commercial he had more tidbits.  I've never seen a more thorough job.  The show lasted for hours.

Stephen King has a nice discussion of both the novel and the film in his wonderful Danse Macabre.  He comments on the amazing fidelity of the movie to the novel.  Robert Evans said he had to talk Mia Farrow into doing the film.  Frank Sinatra, Farrow's husband at the time, didn't want her to do it.  Evans told her the film would make her a star.  It did, and she got a divorce shortly thereafter.

John Lennon later lived in the apartment in the Dakota where they filmed it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Delta Seventy

David Thomson seems to me to have a deeper understanding of media and its impact on humanity than Marshall McLuhan.  David Thomson wrote a book called Have You Seen? which consists of one thousand one page film reviews.  I decided to watch all the films in that book I had not seen before, and I decided to watch them mostly in chronological order.  I started in 1895, and I did a little background reading on each year as I moved forward.  1895 marked the height of Oscar Wilde's success as well as his downfall.  As I moved forward through the decades, I found myself getting caught up in the historical sweep.

I've now reached 1944.  As part of my background reading I read the chronologically arranged Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams.  In 1944 Williams published The Wedge, and Louis Zukofsky helped him with arranging and editing the poems.  Reading the poems and the notes, especially Williams' response to Wallace Stevens' notion of "anti-poetry," the vastness of literature struck me.  One can spend a lifetime studying an author and still have so much to learn about them.  "Remove infinity from it, and infinity still remains," as the Upanishads say.  I recall a story about someone introducing a scholar to Robert Frost as "a Hawthorne man."  Frost replied, "Why not be your own man?"  I think I see Frost's point, but I can also understand the yearning for scholarship, for understanding the contexts of literature.

William Snodgrass wrote,

"I haven't read one book about
a book"

but I love books about books.  I've devoted a fair chunk of my life to understanding Robert Anton Wilson, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound, etc., but I've barely scratched the surface.  Oh well, I do look forward to 1945 and the end of the war.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Catullus 4

This poem deals with the retirement of a boat.  It contemplates the trees which gave the wood which made the boat (which docks by the house that Jack built).  It contemplates the whole process of life.  It reminds me of the scenes in Bull Durham which deal with aging, with Crash never achieving his dreams in the Show.  I read a bit of the Fusus al-Hikam by Ibn 'Arabi yesterday which echoed Heraclitus's notions that reality never repeats itself.  The patterns seem to, though.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Catullus 3

The father of one of my students speaks a number of languages, and he said that the more one studies them, the easier they get.  Researching Catullus 3 today, I reread the Zukofskys' version, read another English version, and for the hell of it looked at a German version.  Having just read two versions of the poem in English, and with my limited German, the German version made a little sense.  However, I couldn't say what I considered Catullus's true mood in the poem.  Parts of it sound sarcastic in one English version.

It would not surprise me if I end up teaching Latin for the next 23 years.  In that case, I suspect my Latin will greatly improve, which I look forward to.  I did find interesting how Catullus observed his girlfriend's great love for her pet two thousand years ago.  This theme recurs from culture to culture, from century to century.  It made me think of Chekhov's "Lady with a Lapdog."

Right now I have George Harrison's All Things Must Pass playing.  I had forgotten how much I love the "Apple Jam" section of that CD.