Posts Tagged ‘New Yorker pictures’

Dear friends and readers,

How’s about a little bit of art criticism, poetry and music to start your day:

I put the picture below on facebook under the “rubric:” a touching scene:

Attributed to Thomas Bliss, from the New Yorker,

and the following chat ensued:

Diane K: “Really, and utterly un-ironic. I tore to the title page to see what bit of sarcasm I was missing, and lo and behold, it is what it is.” Arthur L: “A canine Romeo and Juliet?” Diane Loiselle L: “Yes.” Me: “We are too discouraged from the feelings of the heart — we need not ironize everything” [two people “liked” that]. Diana B: “(Scratches head) Maybe I’m too literal minded or something, but are you saying there’s a second dog in this picture? I don’t see ‘Romeo,’ only ‘Juliet.’ Unless it’s supposed to mean that the dog is looking wistful because he’s trapped in a zillion-dollar piece of real estate? Somebody explain, please!” Me: “There are two dogs. A white one is standing on a lower balcony on lower hind legs looking up, with paws on the top of the grating. A brown one whose head can be seen through the grating and is under a small bush of some sort is looking down. I like the like the adjective wistful. I agree we need not see it as Romeo-and-Juliet romance and we do see two dogs trapped in zillion dollar apartments. The one below has fur that looks well cared for; the top one has ears that look brushed. I saw them as longing for closer companionship, to play with one another. If I were their owners I would not pemit them to come onto those balconies lest they fall. But I am becoming too realistic. It’s a fetching emblem. The New Yorker often turns what are pictures of wealth into picturesqueness …”

which morphed into a dialogue:

Diana B: “Oh, thank you Ellen. I couldn’t see all that on my screen – still can’t – so no wonder I was puzzled! I only see the top dog, which limits my perspective!” Me: “A sign of the control (from over-the-top sentimentalism) is that the lower dog is not wagging a tail and we can’t tell which dog is which sex. Yet they stand there so stilly …. (I just invented that adjective). New Yorker cartoons and drawings are often very clever … [a few minutes later] There is a hint of a cat on the next red brick building, next to the air conditioner on the ledge. One hopes not — yet there is the hint of a swishing tail or maybe paw just over the ledge. Now I notice the air-conditioner — I know that apartments in NYC can cost “the earth” and yet have very old fashioned technology. Only central air keeps you cool in summer.”  [So the picture is about NYC too.] Diana: “I can’t see any of those things as the picture is so badly reproduced here. I’ll take your word for them. Ellen, you might like to listen to the wonderful old song, “Oft in the stilly night.” Must try to find a good version for you. ‘Oft in the stilly night, ere slumber’s chains have bound me, Fond mem’ry brings the light, Of other days around me.’ Is it Burns? Or Scott? You’d like it… ” Me: I know and do like it and have it (in effect) in my copy of the 1972 Emma: the actress playing Jane Fairfax plays it in front of the others in the first scene where she plays the piano. The film adaptations bring home how often she does play for different ones film different moments in the novel where Jane plays the piano and others listen. It’s neither Burns or Scott but someone else (more minor). Diana: “Thomas Moore! Not so minor, lovely old Irish song. I’m so glad you know the melody, Ellen.” Me: “Ah yes. In the text itself (Emma), there’s an allusion to an old Irish ballad. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we “know” that Austen had Irish songs in a songbook — and would play them in the early morning.”

By which time ten people (all friends I know, most have met face-to-face) had “liked” the thread.

Only the music and tone of “Oft in the stilly Night” calls for evening, a dark twilight.

Click to hear bagpipes:

Oft in the stilly night
Ere slumbers chain has bound me,
Fond memry brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears of boyhoods years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimmd and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumbers chain has bound me,
Sad memry brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so linkd together,
I’ve seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose grlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumbers chain has bound me,
Sad memry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Ania Martin as Jane (Constantduros’ Emma, BBC 1972): here the music is Schubert’s overture to a ballet, Rosamond, later in the film adaptation she plays twice more, and once it is “Stilly night …”

John Carson as Mr Knightley appreciates it, Doran Goodwin as Emma glum, left out, with Constance chapman as Miss Bates smiling gamely but not understanding at all.

All very suggestive of Jane Austen’s inner world, not quite blocked off from us.


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