Ramblings

2001-10-28

Hmph. My e-pal Moira has been holding out on me. How could it be that the one and only Cobalt Poetry Goddess has been keeping a weblog for all these months, yet has neglected to inform me? I'd go off and sulk in a corner if I didn't like her so much. :)

I finished reading Ibsen's play The Master Builder the other night. There's a magical element in this play that I found intriguing, especially in the interactions (and immediate depth of understanding) between the characters of Halvard Solness and Hilde Wangel. Here again we meet with Ibsen's opposition to conformity and to the notion of duty (Hilde says: "I can't stand that nasty, beastly word.... It sounds so cold and sharp, like a knife."), and his advocacy of personal fulfillment (Hilde again: "If only one had a brash and hearty conscience, so that one dared to do what one wanted!"). There is a quicksilver quality to this play, a feeling of almost grasping ideals and experiences but seeing them slip away -- just as Solness does in the end. Next up on my Ibsen list: Little Eyolf.

Now playing: the twenty-four preludes for piano of Sergei Rachmaninoff. I'm not a huge Rachmaninoff fan, but I do like his preludes a great deal.

Through the wonders of inter-library loan, several books on Peter Abelard arrived for me yesterday at the Eugene Field branch of the Denver Public Library. I'm endeavoring to finish up my paper comparing Abelard and Rand in epistemology, so I need to once again consult some books on Abelard's philosophy in order to address several of the finer points in my argument. I also received several books related to the poetic aspect of Abelard's genius, since I would like to translate the six laments (in Latin, planctus) he wrote. I also want to translate some of the likely suspects for his lost secular songs, which may be scattered about in collections such as that found at the monastery of Benedictbeuern (a.k.a., the Carmina Burana) as well as the Ripoll collection. Scholars have suggested that Carmina Burana numbers 97, 117, and 169, along with Ripoll 22, might well be the work of Abelard (though we'll likely never know), but I'm always hunting for more!

And back in the messy reality of the present day....

The Observer on the making of Osama bin Laden.

Dave Winer on power (and freedom) in the Islamic world

Jonah Goldberg on the culture underlying Islam. I hear echoes here of Robert Tracinski's call for cultural imperialism.

Today's quote from Victor Hugo, this time about the Middle Ages: "In those days, they saw everything thus, without metaphysics, without exaggeration, without a magnifying glass, with the naked eye. The microscope had not yet been invented, either for material things or for the things of the spirit." (Notre-Dame de Paris, VI.2)


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