Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Antoine Artaud

Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud was born on 4 September, 1896, in Marseille, France and died on 4 March, 1948 in Paris, France. Antoine Artaud was a French playwright, poet, actor and director. Antonin Artaud is a diminutive form of Antoine (little Anthony), and was among a long list of names which Antoine Artaud used throughout his life.

Antoine Artaud’s parents, Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud, were of Greek origin (Smyrna), and he was much affected by this background. Although his mother had 9 children, only Antoine Artaud and 2 siblings survived infancy.

At the age of 4, Antoine Artaud had a severe attack of meningitis. The virus gave Antoine Artaud a nervous, irritable temperament throughout adolescence. Antoine Artaud also suffered from neuralgia, stammering and severe bouts of depression. As a teenager, he was allegedly stabbed in the back by a pimp for apparently no reason, similar to the experience of playwright Samuel Beckett.

Antoine Artaud’s parents arranged a long series of sanatorium stays for their disruptive son, which were both prolonged and expensive. They lasted 5 years, with a break of 2 months, June and July 1916, when Antoine Artaud was conscripted into the army. Antoine Artaud was allegedly discharged due to his self-induced habit of sleepwalking. During Antoine Artaud’s “rest cures” at the sanatorium, he read Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Poe. In May 1919, the director of the sanatorium prescribed laudanum for Antoine Artaud, precipitating a lifelong addiction to that and other opiates.

In March 1920, Antoine Artaud moved to Paris. At the age of 27, Antoine Artaud sent some of his poems to the journal La Nouvelle Revue Française; they were rejected, but the editor wrote back seeking to understand him, and a relationship in letters was born. This epistolary work, “Correspondence avec Jacques Rivière,” is Antoine Artaud’s 1st major publication. In November 1926, Antoine Artaud was expelled from the surrealist movement, in which he had participated briefly, for refusing to renounce theater as a bourgeois commercial art form, and for refusing to join the French Communist Party along with the other Surrealists.

Antoine Artaud cultivated a great interest in cinema as well, writing the scenario for the 1st Surrealist film, The Seashell and the Clergyman, directed by Germaine Dulac. Antoine Artaud also acted in Abel Gance’s Napoleon in the role of Jean-Paul Marat, and in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc as the monk Massieu. Antoine Artaud’s portrayal of Marat used exaggerated movements to convey the fire of Jean-Paul Marat’s personality.

In 1926-28, Antoine Artaud ran the Alfred Jarry Theater, along with Roger Vitrac. Antoine Artaud produced and directed original works by Roger Vitrac, as well as pieces by Claudel and Strindberg. The theatre advertised that they would produce Artaud’s play Jet de sang in their 1926-1927 season, but it was never mounted and was not premiered until 40 years later. The Theater was extremely short-lived, but was attended by an enormous range of European artists, including Andre Gide, Arthur Adamov, and Paul Valery.

The 1930s saw the publication of The Theatre and Its Double, his most well-known work. This book contained the 2 manifestos of the Theater of Cruelty, essential texts in understanding his artistic project. In 1935, Antoine Artaud’s production of his adaptation of Shelley’s The Cenci premiered. The Cenci was a commercial failure, although it employed innovative sound effects and had a set designed by Balthus.

After the production failed, Antoine Artaud received a grant to travel to Mexico where he gave lectures on the decadence of Western civilisation. Antoine Artaud also studied the Tarahumaran people and experimented with peyote, recording his experiences which were later released in a volume called Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara. The content of this work closely resembles the poems of his later days, concerned primarily with the supernatural. Antoine Artaud also recorded his horrific withdrawal from heroin upon entering the land of the Tarahumaras; having deserted his last supply of the drug at a mountainside, he literally had to be hoisted onto his horse, and soon resembled, in his words, “a giant, inflamed gum”. Having beaten his addiction, however, Antoine Artaud would return to opiates later in life.

In 1937, Antoine Artaud returned to France where he obtained a walking stick of knotted wood that he believed belonged to St. Patrick, but also Lucifer and Jesus Christ. Antoine Artaud traveled to Ireland in an effort to return the staff, though he spoke very little English and was unable to make himself understood. The majority of his trip was spent in a hotel room that he was unable to pay for. On his return trip, Antoine Artaud believed he was being attacked by 2 crew members and retaliated; he was arrested and put in a straitjacket.

The return from Ireland brought about the beginning of the final phase of Antoine Artaud’s life, which was spent in different asylums. When France was occupied by the Nazis, friends of Antoine Artaud had him transferred to the Psychiatric hospital in Rodez, well inside Vichy territory, where he was put under the charge of Dr. Gaston Ferdière. Dr Gaston Ferdière began administering electroshock treatments to eliminate Antoine Artaud’s symptoms, which included various delusions and odd physical tics. The doctor believed that Antoine Artaud’s habits of crafting magic spells, creating astrology charts, and drawing disturbing images, were symptoms of mental illness. The electro-shock treatments have created much controversy, although it was during these treatments — in conjunction with Dr Gaston Ferdière’s art therapy — that Antoine Artaud began writing and drawing again, after a long dormant period. In 1946, Dr Gaston Ferdière released Antoine Artaud to his friends, who placed him in the psychiatric clinic at Ivry-sur-Seine. Current psychiatric literature describes Antoine Artaud as having schizophrenia, with a clear psychotic break late in life and schizotypal symptoms throughout life.

Antoine Artaud was encouraged to write by his friends, and interest in his work was rekindled. Antoine Artaud visited an exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh which resulted in a study Van Gogh le suicidé de la société (Van Gogh, The Man Suicided by Society), published by K éditeur, Paris, 1947 which won a critics´ prize. Antoine Artaud recorded Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu (To Have Done With the Judgment of god) between 22 November and 29 November, 1947. This work was shelved by Wladimir Porché, the director of the French Radio, the day before its scheduled airing on 2 February, 1948. The performance was prohibited partially as a result of its scatological, anti-American, and anti-religious references and pronouncements, but also because of its general randomness, with a cacophony of xylophonic sounds mixed with various percussive elements. While remaining true to his Theater of Cruelty and reducing powerful emotions and expressions into audible sounds, Antoine Artaud had utilized various, somewhat alarming cries, screams, grunts, onomatopoeia, and glossolalia.

As a result, Fernand Pouey, the director of dramatic and literary broadcasts for French radio, assembled a panel to consider the broadcast of Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu. Among the approximately 50 artists, writers, musicians, and journalists present for a private listening on 5 February, 1948 were Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, Raymond Queneau, Jean-Louis Barrault, René Clair, Jean Paulhan, Maurice Nadeau, Georges Auric, Claude Mauriac and René Char. Although the panel felt almost unanimously in favour of Antoine Artaud’s work, Porché refused to allow the broadcast. Fernand Pouey left his job and the show was not heard again until 23 February, 1948 at a private performance at the Théâtre Washington.

In January 1948, Antoine Artaud was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Antoine Artaud died shortly afterwards on 4 March, 1948. Antoine Artaud died alone in his pavilion, seated at the foot of his bed, allegedly holding his shoe. It was suspected that he died from a lethal dose of the drug chloral, although whether or not he was aware of its lethality is unknown. 30 years later, French radio finally broadcast the performance of Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu.

Antoine Artaud believed that the Theatre should affect the audience as much as possible, therefore he used a mixture of strange and disturbing forms of lighting, sound and performance. In one production that he did about the plague he used sounds so realistic that some members of the audience were sick in the middle of the performance.

In his book The Theatre and Its Double, which was made up of a 1st and 2nd manifesto, Antoine Artaud expressed his admiration for Eastern forms of theatre, particularly the Balinese. Antoine Artaud admired Eastern theatre because of the codified, highly ritualised and precise physicality of Balinese dance performance, and advocated what he called a “Theatre of Cruelty”. By cruelty, he meant not exclusively sadism or causing pain, but just as often a violent, physical determination to shatter the false reality. Antoine Artaud believed that text had been a tyrant over meaning, and advocated, instead, for a theatre made up of a unique language, halfway between thought and gesture. Antoine Artaud described the spiritual in physical terms, and believed that all theatre is physical expression in space.

The Theatre of Cruelty has been created in order to restore to the theatre a passionate and convulsive conception of life, and it is in this sense of violent rigour and extreme condensation of scenic elements that the cruelty on which it is based must be understood. This cruelty, which will be bloody when necessary but not systematically so, can thus be identified with a kind of severe moral purity which is not afraid to pay life the price it must be paid.

Evidently, Antoine Artaud’s various uses of the term cruelty must be examined to fully understand his ideas. Lee Jamieson has identified 4 ways in which Antoine Artaud used the term cruelty. Firstly, it is employed metaphorically to describe the essence of human existence. Antoine Artaud believed that theatre should reflect his nihilistic view of the universe, creating an uncanny connection between his own thinking and Nietzsche’s:

[Nietzsche’s] definition of cruelty informs Antoine Artaud’s own, declaring that all art embodies and intensifies the underlying brutalities of life to recreate the thrill of experience … Although Antoine Artaud did not formally cite Nietzsche, [their writing] contains a familiar persuasive authority, a similar exuberant phraseology, and motifs in extremis …

Antoine Artaud’s 2nd use of the term (according to Jamieson), is as a form of discipline. Although Antoine Artaud wanted to “reject form and incite chaos”, he also promoted strict discipline and rigor in his performance techniques. A 3rd use of the term was ‘cruelty as theatrical presentation’. The Theatre of Cruelty aimed to hurl the spectator into the centre of the action, forcing them to engage with the performance on an instinctive level. For Antoine Artaud, this was a cruel, yet necessary act upon the spectator designed to shock them out of their complacency:

Antoine Artaud sought to remove aesthetic distance, bringing the audience into direct contact with the dangers of life. By turning theatre into a place where the spectator is exposed rather than protected, Antoine Artaud was committing an act of cruelty upon them.

Antoine Artaud put the audience in the middle of the ‘spectacle’ (his term for the play), so they would be ‘engulfed and physically affected by it’. Antoine Artaud often referred to this layout as like a ‘vortex’ – a constantly shifting shape – ‘to be trapped and powerless’.

Finally, Antoine Artaud used the term to describe his philosophical views, which will be outlined in the following section.

Imagination, to Antoine Artaud, is reality; dreams, thoughts and delusions are no less real than the “outside” world. Reality appears to be a consensus, the same consensus the audience accepts when they enter a theatre to see a play and, for a time, pretend that what they are seeing is real.

Antoine Artaud’s later work presents his rejection of the idea of the spirit as separate from the body. Antoine Artaud’s poems imagistically revel in flesh and excretion, but sex was always a horror for him. Civilisation was so pernicious that Europe was pulling once proud tribal nations like Mexico down with it into decadence and death. The inevitable end result would be self-destruction and mental slavery. These were 2 evils Antoine Artaud opposed in his own life at great pain and imprisonment, as they could only be opposed personally and not on behalf of a collective or movement. Antoine Artaud thus rejected politics and Marxism wholeheartedly, a stance which led to his expulsion by the Surrealists who had begun to embrace it.

Antoine Artaud saw suffering as essential to existence, and thus rejected all utopias as inevitable dystopia.

Antoine Artaud was heavily influenced by seeing a Colonial Exposition of Balinese Theatre in Marseille. Antoine Artaud read eclectically, inspired by authors and artists such as Seneca, Shakespeare, Poe, Lautréamont, Alfred Jarry, André Masson, etc.

Antoine Artaud’s theories in Theatre and Its Double influenced rock musician Jim Morrison. Mötley Crüe named the Theatre of Pain album after reading his proposal for a Theater of Cruelty, much like Christian Death had with their album Only Theatre of Pain. The band Bauhaus included a song about the playwright, called “Antonin Artaud”, on their album Burning from the Inside. Charles Bukowski also claimed him as a major influence on his work. Influential Argentinean folk-rock songwriter Luis Alberto Spinetta named his album Artaud and wrote most of the songs on that album based on his writings. Composer John Zorn has 3 records, “Astronome,” “Moonchild,” and “6 Litanies for Heliogabalus,” dedicated to Antoine Artaud.

Theatrical practitioner Peter Brook took inspiration from Antoine Artaud’s “Theatre of cruelty” in a series of workshops that lead up to his well-known production of Marat/Sade. The Living Theatre was also heavily influenced by him, as was much English-language experimental theater and performance art; Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Liz LeCompte, Richard Foreman, Charles Marowitz, Sam Shepard, Joseph Chaikin, and more all named Artaud as one of their influences.

Antoine Artaud also had a profound influence on the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who borrowed Antoine Artaud’s phrase “the body without organs” to describe their conception of the virtual dimension of the body and, ultimately, the basic substratum of reality.

The survival horror video game Silent Hill: Origins contains a segment in which the protagonist must solve puzzles within the “Artaud Theatre”, which is in the town of Silent Hill.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac (pronounced /ˈkɛɹəwæk/; was born on 12 March, 1922 and died on 21 October, 1969 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, one day after being rushed with severe abdominal pain from his St. Petersburg home by ambulance.

Jack Kerouac’s death, at the age of 47, resulted from an internal hemorrhage(bleeding esophageal varices) caused by cirrhosis, the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking. At the time of his death, he was living with his 3rd wife Stella, and his mother Gabrielle. Jack Kerouac is buried in his home town of Lowell and was honoured posthumously with a Doctor of Letters degree from his hometown’s University of Massachusetts Lowell on 2 June, 2007.

Jack Kerouac was an American novelist, writer, poet, and artist from Lowell, Massachusetts. Along with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, he is amongst the best known of the writers (and friends) known as the Beat Generation.

Jack Kerouac’s work was very popular, but received little critical acclaim during his lifetime. Today, he is considered an important and influential writer who inspired others, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Lester Bangs, Richard Brautigan, Ken Kesey, and writers of the New Journalism. Jack Kerouac also influenced musicians such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Barenaked Ladies, Tom Waits, Simon & Garfunkel, Ulf Lundell and Jim Morrison. Jack Kerouac’s best-known books are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, The Subterraneans, and Visions of Cody.

Jack Kerouac was born Jean Louis Kirouac, in Lowell, Massachusetts to French-Canadian parents, Léo-Alcide Kerouac and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, natives of the province of Quebec, Canada. Like many other Quebecers of their generation, the Lévesques and Kerouacs were part of the Quebec emigration to New England to find employment. Jack Kerouac’s father was related to Brother Marie-Victorin (né Conrad Kirouac), one of Canada’s most prominent botanists and his mother was 2nd cousin to future Quebec premier René Lévesque.

Jack Kerouac often gave conflicting stories about his family history and the origins of his surname. Though his father was born to a family of potato farmers in the village of St-Hubert, he often claimed aristocratic descent, sometimes from a Breton noble granted land after the Battle of Quebec, whose sons all married Native Americans. However, research has shown him to be the descendant of a middle-class merchant settler, whose sons married French Canadians. Jack Kerouac was part Native American through his mother’s largely Norman-side of the family. Jack Kerouac also had various stories on the etymology of his surname, usually tracing it back to Irish, Breton, or other Celtic roots. In one interview he claimed it was the name of a dead Celtic language and in another said it was from the Irish for “language of the water” and related to “Kerwick”. The name, though Breton, seems to derive from the name of one of several hamlets in Brittany near Rosporden.

Jack Kerouac did not start to learn English until the age of 6, and at home, he and his family spoke Joual, a Quebec French dialect. When he was 4 he was profoundly affected by the death of his 9-year-old brother, Gérard, from rheumatic fever, an event later described in his novel Visions of Gerard. Some of Jack Kerouac’s poetry was written in French, and in letters written to friend Allen Ginsberg towards the end of his life he expressed his desire to speak his parents’ native tongue again. Recently, it was discovered that Jack Kerouac first started writing On the Road in French, a language in which he also wrote 2 unpublished novels. The writings are in dialectal Quebec French, and predate the 1st plays of Michel Tremblay by a decade.

Jack Kerouac’s athletic prowess led him to become a 100-meter hurdler on his local high school track team, and his skills as a running back in American football earned him scholarship offers from Boston College, Notre Dame and Columbia University. Jack Kerouac entered Columbia University after spending a year at Horace Mann School, where he earned the requisite grades to matriculate to Columbia. Jack Kerouac cracked a tibia playing football during his freshman season, and he argued constantly with coach Lou Little who kept him benched. While at Columbia, Jack Kerouac wrote several sports articles for the student newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator.

When his football career at Columbia soured, especially because of conflict with Lou Little, Jack Kerouac dropped out of the university, though he continued to live for a period on New York City’s Upper West Side with his girlfriend, Edie Parker. It was during this time that he met the people — now famous — with whom he will always be associated, the subjects injected into many of his novels: the so-called Beat Generation, including Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, John Clellon Holmes, Herbert Huncke and William S. Burroughs. Jack Kerouac joined the United States Merchant Marine in 1942, and in 1943 joined the United States Navy, but was honorably discharged during World War II on psychiatric grounds (he was of “indifferent character” with a diagnosis of “schizoid personality”).

In 1944, Jack Kerouac was arrested as a material witness in the murder of David Kammerer, who’d been stalking Jack Kerouac’s friend Lucien Carr since Lucien Carr was a teenager in St. Louis. (William Burroughs was himself a native of St. Louis, and it was through Lucien Carr that Jack Kerouac came to know both Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.) When David Kammerer’s obsession with Lucien Carr turned aggressive, Lucien Carr stabbed him to death and turned to Jack Kerouac for help. Together, they disposed of evidence. As advised by Burroughs, they turned themselves in. Jack Kerouac’s father refused to pay his bail. Jack Kerouac then agreed to marry Edie Parker if she’d pay it. Their marriage was annulled a year later, and Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs briefly collaborated on a novel about the David Kammerer killing entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Though the book was not published during the lifetimes of either Jack Kerouac or William Burroughs, an excerpt eventually appeared in Word Virus: A William S. Burroughs Reader (and as noted below, the book is now scheduled for publication in late 2008). Jack Kerouac also later wrote about the killing in his novel Vanity of Duluoz.

Beginning of the original typed roll where Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road. The 1st sentence is: “I first met met Neal not long after my father died…” Later it would be replaced by the definitive one: “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up”.Later, he lived with his parents in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, after they, too, moved to New York. He wrote his first novel, The Town and the City, and, according to at least John Clellon Holmes, began the famous On the Road around 1949 while living there. Jack Kerouac’s friends jokingly called him “The Wizard of Ozone Park,” a spoof of Thomas Edison’s “Wizard of Menlo Park” nickname while simultaneously alluding to the title character of the film The Wizard of Oz and a shortened form of the word “ozone”.

Jack Kerouac tended to write constantly, carrying a notebook with him everywhere. Letters to friends and family members tended to be long and rambling, including great detail about his daily life and thoughts. Prior to becoming a writer, he tried a varied list of careers. Jack Kerouac was a sports reporter for The Lowell Sun; a temporary worker in construction and food service; a United States Merchant Marine and he joined the United States Navy twice.

The Town and the City was published in 1950 under the name “John Kerouac,” and, though it earned him a few respectable reviews, the book sold poorly. Heavily influenced by Jack Kerouac’s reading of Thomas Wolfe, it reflects on the generational epic formula and the contrasts of small town life versus the multi-dimensional, and larger, city. The book was heavily edited by Robert Giroux; some 400pages were taken out.

For the next 6 years, John Kerouac wrote constantly. Building upon previous drafts tentatively titled “The Beat Generation” and “Gone on the Road,” Jack Kerouac wrote what is now known as On the Road in April of 1951 while living at 454 West 20th Street in Manhattan with his 2nd wife, Joan Haverty. The book was largely autobiographical and describes Jack Kerouac’s road-trip adventures across the United States and Mexico with Neal Cassady in the late-40’s, as well his relationships with other Beat writers and friends. Jack Kerouac completed the 1st version of the novel during a 3 week extended session of spontaneous confessional prose. Before beginning, Jack Kerouac cut sheets of tracing paper into long strips, wide enough for a type-writer, and taped them together into a 120-foot (37 m) long roll he then fed into the machine. This allowed him to type continuously without the interruption of reloading pages. The resulting manuscript contained no chapter or paragraph breaks and was much more explicit than what would eventually be printed.

Though “spontaneous”, Jack Kerouac had prepared long in advance before beginning to write. In fact, according to his Columbia professor and mentor Mark Van Doren, he had outlined much of the work in his journals over the several preceding years.

Though the work was completed quickly, Jack Kerouac had a long and difficult time finding a buyer. Publishers rejected the manuscript due to its experimental writing style and its sympathetic tone towards minorities and marginalized social groups of post-War America. Many editors were also uncomfortable with the idea of publishing a book that contained, what was for the time, graphic descriptions of drug-use and homosexual behaviour, a move that could result in obscenity charges being filled, a fate that later befell Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Ginsberg’s Howl.

In late 1951, Joan Haverty left and divorced Jack Kerouac while pregnant. In February of 1952, she gave birth to Jack Kerouac’s only child Jan Kerouac, though he refused to acknowledge her as his own until a blood test confirmed it 9 years later. For the next several years Jack Kerouac continued writing and traveling, taking extensive trips though out the U.S. and Mexico and often fell into bouts of depression and heavy drug and alcohol use. During this period he finished drafts for what would become 10 more novels, including The Subterraneans, Doctor Sax, Tristessa, and Desolation Angels, which chronicle many of the events of these years.

In 1954, Jack Kerouac discovered Dwight Goddard’s A Buddhist Bible at the San Jose Library, which marked the beginning of Jack Kerouac’s immersion into Buddhism. In 1955 Jack Kerouac wrote a biography of Siddhartha Gautama, entitled Wake Up, which was unpublished during his lifetime but eventually serialised in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, 1993-95.

In 1957, after being rejected by several other firms, On the Road was finally purchased by Viking Press, which demanded major revisions prior to publication. Many of the more sexually explicit passages were removed and, fearing libel suits, pseudonyms were used for the books “characters.” These revisions have often led to criticisms as to the actual spontaneity of Jack Kerouac’s style.

In July 1957, Jack Kerouac moved to a small house at 1418½ Clouser Ave. in the College Park section of Orlando, Florida to await the release of On the Road. A few weeks later, the review appeared in the New York Times proclaiming Jack Kerouac the voice of a new generation. Jack Kerouac was hailed as a major American writer. Jack Kerouac’s friendship with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso, among others, became a notorious representation of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac’s fame would come as an unmanageable surge that would ultimately be his undoing. Jack Kerouac’s novel is often described as the defining work of the post-World War II Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac came to be called “the king of the beat generation,” a term that he never felt comfortable with. Jack Kerouac once observed, “I’m not a beatnik, I’m a Catholic.”

The immediate success of On the Road brought Jack Kerouac instant fame. Jack Kerouac soon found he had little taste for celebrity status. After 9 months, he no longer felt safe in public. Jack Kerouac was badly beaten by 3 men outside the San Remo Bar in New York one night. Neal Cassady, possibly as a result of his new notoriety as the central character of the book, was set up and arrested for selling pot.

Publishers were eager for a quick “sequel” to capitalise on On the Road’s success. In response, Jack Kerouac chronicled parts of his own experience with Buddhism, as well as some of his adventures with Gary Snyder and other San Francisco-area poets, in The Dharma Bums, set in California and Washington and published in 1958. It was written in Orlando, Florida between 26 November and 7 December, 1957. To begin writing Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac typed onto a 10-foot length of teletype paper, to avoid interrupting his flow for paper changes, as he had done 6 years previously for On the Road.

Jack Kerouac was demoralised by criticism of Dharma Bums from such respected figures in the American field of Buddhism as Zen teacher Ruth Fuller Sasaki and Alan Watts. Jack Kerouac wrote to Snyder, referring to a meeting with D. T. Suzuki, that “even Suzuki was looking at me through slitted eyes as tho I was a monstrous imposter”. He passed up the opportunity to reunite with Snyder in California, and explained to Whalen, “I’d be ashamed to confront you and Gary now I’ve become so decadent and drunk and dontgiveashit. I’m not a Buddhist any more.”

Jack Kerouac also wrote and narrated a “Beat” movie entitled Pull My Daisy in 1959. Originally to be called “The Beat Generation”, the title was changed at the last moment when MGM released a film by the same name which sensationalised “beatnik” culture.

John Antonelli’s 1985 documentary Jack Kerouac, the Movie begins and ends with footage of Jack Kerouac reading from On the Road and Visions of Cody on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen in 1957. Jack Kerouac appears intelligent but shy. “Are you nervous?” asks Steve Allen. “Naw”, says Jack Kerouac, sweating and fiddling.

Jack Kerouac developed something of a friendship with the scholar Alan Watts (cryptically named Arthur Wayne in Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur, and Alex Aums in Desolation Angels). Jack Kerouac moved to Northport, New York in March 1958, 6 months after releasing On the Road, to care for his aging mother Gabrielle and to hide from his new-found celebrity status.

In 2007, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of On the Road’s publishing, Viking issued two new editions: On the Road: The Original Scroll, and On the Road: 50th Anniversary Edition.[20][21] By far the more significant is Scroll, a transcription of the original draft typed as one long paragraph on sheets of tracing paper which Kerouac taped together to form a 120-foot (37 m) scroll. The text is more sexually explicit than Viking allowed to be published in 1957, and also uses the real names of Kerouac’s friends rather than the fictional names he later substituted.

(Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay paid $2.43,000,000 for the original scroll and is allowing an exhibition tour that will conclude at the end of 2009. The other new issue, 50th Anniversary Edition, is a reissue of the 40th anniversary issue under an updated title.

In March 2008, Penguin Books announced that the Kerouac/Burroughs manuscript, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks will be published for the first time in November 2008. Previously, a fragment of the manuscript had been published in the Burroughs compendium, Word Virus.

Jack Kerouac is generally considered to be the father of the Beat movement, although he actively disliked such labels, and, in particular, regarded the subsequent Hippie movement with some disdain. Jack Kerouac’s method was heavily influenced by the prolific explosion of Jazz, especially the Bebop genre established by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and others. Later, Jack Kerouac would include ideas he developed in his Buddhist studies, beginning with Gary Snyder. Jack Kerouac called this style Spontaneous Prose, a literary technique akin to stream of consciousness. Although Jack Kerouac’s prose were spontaneous and purportedly without edits, he primarily wrote autobiographical novels (or Roman à clef) based upon actual events from his life and the people he interacted with.

Many of his books exemplified this approach including On the Road, Visions of Cody, Visions of Gerard, Big Sur, and The Subterraneans. The central features of this writing method were the ideas of breath (borrowed from Jazz and from Buddhist meditation breathing), improvising words over the inherent structures of mind and language, and not editing a single word (much of his work was edited by Donald Merriam Allen, a major figure in Beat Generation poetry who also edited some of Ginsberg’s work as well). Connected with his idea of breath was the elimination of the period, preferring to use a long, connecting dash instead. As such, the phrases occurring between dashes might resemble improvisational jazz licks. When spoken, the words might take on a certain kind of rhythm, though none of it pre-meditated.

Jack Kerouac greatly admired Gary Snyder, many of whose ideas influenced him. The Dharma Bums contains accounts of a mountain climbing trip Jack Kerouac took with Snyder, and also whole paragraphs from letters Gary Snyder had written to Jack Kerouac. While living with Gary Snyder outside Mill Valley, California in 1956, Jack Kerouac was working on a book centering around Gary Snyder, which he was thinking of calling Visions of Gary.(This eventually became Dharma Bums, which Jack Kerouac described as “mostly about [Snyder]”.)That summer, Jack Kerouac took a job as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades in Washington, after hearing Gary Snyder’s and Philip Whalen’s accounts of their own lookout stints. Jack Kerouac described the experience in his novel Desolation Angels.

Jack Kerouac would go on for hours, often drunk, to friends and strangers about his method. Allen Ginsberg, initially unimpressed, would later be one of its great proponents, and indeed, he was apparently influenced by Jack Kerouac’s free flowing prose method of writing in the composition of his masterpiece “Howl”. It was at about the time that Jack Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans that he was approached by Allen Ginsberg and others to formally explicate exactly how he wrote it, how he did Spontaneous Prose. Among the writings he set down specifically about his Spontaneous Prose method, the most concise would be Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, a list of thirty “essentials.”

Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
Submissive to everything, open, listening
Try never get drunk outside your own house
Be in love with your life
Something that you feel will find its own form
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
Blow as deep as you want to blow
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
The unspeakable visions of the individual
No time for poetry but exactly what is
Visionary tics shivering in the chest
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yrself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life
Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
You’re a Genius all the time
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh…”
from On the Road

Some believed that at times Jack Kerouac’s writing technique did not produce lively or energetic prose. Truman Capote famously said about Jack Kerouac’s work, “That’s not writing, it’s typing.” Despite such criticism, it should be kept in mind that what Jack Kerouac said about writing and how he wrote are sometimes seen to be separate. According to Carolyn Cassady and other people who knew him he rewrote and rewrote. Some claim his own style was in no way spontaneous. However it should be taken into account that throughout most of the ’50s, Jack Kerouac was constantly trying to have his work published, and consequently he often revised and re-arranged manuscripts in an often futile attempt to interest publishers, as is clearly documented in his collected letters (which are in themselves wonderful examples of his style). The Subterraneans and Visions of Cody are possibly the best examples of Jack Kerouac’s free-flowing spontaneous prose method.

Although the body of Jack Kerouac’s work has been published in English, recent research has suggested that, aside from already known correspondence and letters written to friends and familly, he also wrote unpublished works of fiction in French. A manuscript entitled Sur le Chemin (On the road) completed in 5 days in Mexico during December 1952 is a telling example of Jack Kerouac’s attempts at writing in Joual, a dialect typical of the French-Canadian working class of the time, which can be summarised as a form of expression utilising both old patois and modern French mixed with modern English words (windshield being a modern English expression used casually by some French Canadians even today). Set in 1935, mostly on the American east coast, The short manuscript (50 pages), explores some of the recurring themes of Jack Kerouac’s literature by way of a narrative very close to, if not identical to the spoken word. It tells the story of a group of men, including a young 13-year-old Jack Kerouac to whom he refers to as Ti-Jean, who agree to meet in New York. Ti-Jean and his father Leo (Jack Kerouac’s father’s real name) leave Boston by car, traveling to assist friends looking for a place to stay in the city. The story actually follows 2 cars and their passengers, 1 driving out of Denver and the other from Boston until they eventually meet in a dingy bar in New York’s Chinatown. In it, Jack Kerouac’s “French” is written in a form which has little regard for grammar or spelling, relying often on phonetics in order to render an authentic reproduction of his French-Canadian vernacular. Jack Kerouac does not only use Joual freely but frequently confuses grammatical word genders and verb tenses, a phenomenon typical to the francophone speech pattern of the assimilated French Canadians of the American east coast at the time. Even though this work shares the same title as one of his best known English novels, it is rather the original French version of a short text that would later become Old bull in the Bowery (also unpublished) once translated to English prose by Jack Kerouac himself. Sur le Chemin is Jack Kerouac’s 2nd known French manuscript, the 1st being La nuit est ma Femme written in early 1951 and completed a few days before he began the original English version of On the Road.

Jack Kerouac’s technique was heavily influenced by Jazz, especially Bebop, and later, Buddhism, as well as the famous “Joan Anderson letter”, authored by Neal Cassady.

The Diamond Sutra was the most important Buddhist text for Jack Kerouac, and “probably 1 of the 3 or 4 most influential things he ever read.” In 1955, he began an intensive study of this sutra, in a repeating weekly cycle, devoting 1 day to each of the 6 Pāramitās, and the 7th to the concluding passage on Samādhi. This was his sole reading on Desolation Peak, and he hoped by this means to condition his mind to emptiness, and possibly to have a vision.

Jack Kerouac is considered by some[who?] as the “King of the Beats”, a title with which Jack Kerouac himself was deeply uncomfortable.

Jack Kerouac’s plainspeak manner of writing prose, as well as his nearly long-form haiku style of poetry have inspired countless modern neo-beat writers and artists, such as painter George Condo, poet and philosopher Roger Craton, and filmmaker John McNaughton.

In 1974 the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics was open in his honour by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman at Naropa University, a private Buddhist University in Boulder, Colorado. The school offers an MFA in Writing & Poetics, a BA in Writing and Literature, a Summer Writing Program, and MFA in Creative Writing.

In 1997, the house on Clouser Avenue where Dharma Bums was written was purchased by a newly formed non-profit group entitled The Jack Kerouac Writers in Residence Project of Orlando, Inc. This group continues to this day to provide aspiring writers to live in the same house Jack Kerouac was inspired in, with room and board covered, for 3 months.

In 2007, Jack Kerouac was awarded a posthumous honourary degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….

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Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron, later Noel, 6th Baron Byron FRS was born on 22 January 1788 and died on 19 April 1824. George Gordon Byron was an English poet and a leading figure in Romanticism.

Amongst George Gordon Byron’s best-known works are the brief poems “She walks in beauty,” and “So, we’ll go no more a-roving,” and the narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan. George Gordon Byron is regarded as one of the greatest European poets and remains widely read and influential, both in the English-speaking world and beyond.

George Gordon Byron’s fame rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured extravagant living, numerous love affairs, debts, separation, and marital exploits. George Gordon Byron was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

George Gordon Byron served as a regional leader of Italy’s revolutionary organisation the Carbonari in its struggle against Austria. George Gordon Byron later travelled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. George Gordon Byron died from a fever in Messolonghi in Greece.

The mountain Lochnagar is the subject of one of George Gordon Byron’s poems, in which he reminsces about his childhood. George Gordon Byron was born in a house on Hollis Street in London, the son of Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron and his 2nd wife, the former Catherine Gordon, heiress of Gight in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. George Gordon Byron’s paternal grandparents were Vice-Admiral John “Foulweather Jack” Byron and Sophia Trevanion. Vice Admiral John Byron had circumnavigated the globe and was the younger brother of the 5th Baron Byron, known as “the Wicked Lord.”

George Gordon Byron was christened George Gordon at St Marylebone Parish Church, after his maternal grandfather, George Gordon of Gight, a descendant of King James I. This grandfather committed suicide in 1779. George Gordon Byron’s mother Catherine had to sell her land and title to pay her husband’s debts. John Byron may have married Catherine for her money and, after squandering it, deserted her. Catherine regularly experienced mood swings and bouts of melancholy.

Catherine moved back to Scotland shortly afterward, where she raised her son in Aberdeen. On 21 May 1798, the death of George Gordon Byron’s great-uncle, the “wicked” Lord Byron, made the 10-year-old the 6th Baron Byron, inheriting the title and estate, Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire, England. George Gordon Byron’s mother proudly took him to England. George Gordon Byron only lived at his estate infrequently as the Abbey was rented to Lord Grey de Ruthyn, among others, during George Gordon Byron’s adolescence.

In August 1799, George Gordon Byron entered the school of William Glennie, an Aberdonian in Dulwich. George Gordon Byron would later say that around this time and beginning when he still lived in Scotland, his governess, May Gray, would come to bed with him at night and “play tricks with his person.” According to George Gordon Byron, this “caused the anticipated melancholy of my thoughts–having anticipated life.” Mary Gray was dismissed for allegedly beating George Gordon Byron when he was 11.

George Gordon Byron received his early formal education at Aberdeen Grammar School. In 1801 he was sent to Harrow, where he remained until July 1805. George Gordon Byron represented Harrow during the very 1st Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord’s in 1805. After school he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

George Gordon Byron’s names changed throughout his life. George Gordon Byron was christened George Gordon Byron in London. “Gordon” was a baptismal name, not a surname, honouring his maternal grandfather. In order to claim his wife’s estate in Scotland, George Gordon Byron’s father took the additional surname Gordon, becoming John Byron Gordon, and he was occasionally styled John Byron Gordon of Gight. George Gordon Byron himself used this surname for a time and was registered at school in Aberdeen as George Byron Gordon. At the age of 10, he inherited the English Barony of Byron, becoming Lord Byron, and eventually dropped the double surname (though after this point his surname was hidden by his peerage in any event).

When George Gordon Byron’s mother-in-law died, her will required that he change his surname to Noel in order to inherit half her estate, and so he obtained a Royal Warrant allowing him to “take and use the surname of Noel only”. Very unusually, the Royal Warrant also allowed him to “subscribe the said surname of Noel before all titles of honour”, and from that point he signed himself “Noel Byron” (the usual signature of a peer being merely the peerage, in this case simply “Byron”). George Gordon Byron was also sometimes referred to as Lord Noel Byron, as if “Noel” were part of his title, and likewise his wife was sometimes called Lady Noel Byron. Lady Byron eventually succeeded to the Barony of Wentworth, becoming Lady Wentworth; her surname before marriage had been “Milbanke”.

While not at school or college, George Gordon Byron lived with his mother at Burgage Manor in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, in some antagonism. While there, he cultivated friendships with Elizabeth Pigot and her brother, John, with whom he staged 2 plays for the delight of the community.

During this time, with the help of Elizabeth Pigot, who copied many of his rough drafts, he was encouraged to write his 1st volumes of poetry. Fugitive Pieces was the 1st, printed by Ridge of Newark, which contained poems written when George Gordon Byron was only 14. However, it was promptly recalled and burned on the advice of his friend, the Reverend Thomas Becher, on account of its more amorous verses, particularly the poem “To Mary”. Pieces on Various Occasions, a “miraculously chaste” revision according to George Gordon Byron, was published after this.

Hours of Idleness, which collected many of the previous poems, along with more recent compositions, was the culminating book. The savage criticism this received— anonymously, but now known to be the work of Henry Peter Brougham— in the Edinburgh Review prompted his 1st major satire, “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers”. The work so upset some of these critics they challenged George Gordon Byron to a duel.

Some early verses which George Gordon Byron had published in 1806 were suppressed. George Gordon Byron followed those in 1807 with Hours of Idleness, which the Edinburgh Review, a Whig periodical, savagely attacked. In reply, George Gordon Byron sent 4th English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), which created considerable stir and shortly went through 5 editions. While some authors resented being satirized in its 1st edition, over time in subsequent editions it became a mark of prestige to be the target of George Gordon Byron’s pen.

After his return from his travels, the 1st 2 cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage were published in 1812, and were received with acclaim, making George Gordon Byron famous overnight. In his own words, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.” George Gordon Byron followed up his success with the poem’s last 2 cantos, as well as 4 equally celebrated Oriental Tales, The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara, which established the Byronic hero. About the same time, he began his intimacy with his future biographer, Thomas Moore.

A more complete picture of George Gordon Byron’s personal life has only been possible in recent years with the freeing up of the archive of John Murray, George Gordon Byron’s original publishers, which had formerly withheld compromising letters and instructed at least 1 major biographer (Leslie A. Marchand, 1957) to censor details of his bisexuality.

George Gordon Byron’s 1st loves included Mary Duff and Margaret Parker, his distant cousins, and Mary Chaworth, whom he met while at Harrow. George Gordon Byron later wrote that his passion for Mary Duff began when he was “not [yet] 8 years old” and was still unforgettable in 1813. George Gordon Byron refused to return to Harrow in September 1803 due to his love for Mary Chaworth; his mother wrote, “He has no indisposition that I know of but love, desperate love, the worst of all maladies in my opinion. In short, the boy is distractedly in love with Miss Chaworth.” In George Gordon Byron’s later memoirs, “Mary Chaworth is portrayed as the 1st object of his adult sexual feelings”

George Gordon Byron returned to Harrow in January 1804 to a more settled period which saw the formation of a circle of emotional involvements with other Harrow boys recalled with great vividness: ‘My School friendships were with me passions (for I was always violent).’ The most enduring of those was with the young Earl of Clare – 4years George Gordon Byron’s junior – whom he was to meet unexpectedly many years later in Italy (1821), to great intensity of feeling. George Gordon Byron’s nostalgic poems about his Harrow friendships, ‘Childish Recollections’ (1806), express a sense of melancholy at the passing of youthful freedoms, even a prescient ‘consciousness of sexual differences that may in the end make England untenable to him.’

“Ah! Sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,
Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear
To one, who thus for kindred hearts must roam,
And seek abroad, the love denied at home.”

While at Trinity, he met and formed a close friendship with a 15 year old choirboy by the name of John Edleston. About his “protégé” he wrote, “He has been my almost constant associate since October, 1805, when I entered Trinity College. George Gordon Byron’s voice 1st attracted my attention, his countenance fixed it, and his manners attached me to him for ever.” In his memory George Gordon Byron composed Thyrza, a series of elegies. George Gordon Byron wore a ring of Edleston’s for the 13years until he died. In later years he described the affair as ‘a violent, though pure love and passion’. This however has to be read in the context of hardening public attitudes to homosexuality in England and the severe sanctions (including public hanging) against convicted or suspected offenders. The liaison on the other hand may well have been ‘pure’ out of respect for Edleston’s innocence, in contrast to the (probably) more sexually overt relations experienced at Harrow School.

In an early scandal, George Gordon Byron embarked in 1812 on a well-publicised affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb that shocked the British public. George Gordon Byron eventually broke off the relationship, but Lady Caroline Lamb never entirely recovered, pursuing him even after he tired of her. Lady Caroline Lamb was emotionally disturbed and lost so much weight that George Gordon Byron cruelly commented to her mother-in-law, his friend Lady Melbourne, that he was “haunted by a skeleton.” Lady Caroline Lamb began to call on him at home, sometimes dressed in disguise as a page boy, at a time when such an act could ruin both of them socially. One day, during such a visit, she wrote on a book at his desk, “Remember me!” As a retort, George Gordon Byron wrote a poem beginning: “Remember thee!” and ending “Thou false to him, thou fiend to me.” Lady Caroline Lamb famously said George Gordon Byron was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

As a child, George Gordon Byron had seen little of his half-sister Augusta Leigh; in adulthood, he formed a close relationship with her that has been interpreted by some as incestuous and by others as innocent. Augusta Leigh gave birth on 15 April 1814 to a daughter, Elizabeth Medora Leigh.

Eventually George Gordon Byron began to court Lady Caroline’s cousin Anne Isabella Milbanke (“Annabella”), who refused his 1st proposal of marriage but later accepted. They married at Seaham Hall, County Durham, on 2 January 1815. The marriage proved unhappy. George Gordon Byron treated her poorly and showed disappointment at the birth of daughter (Augusta Ada), rather than a son. On 16 January 1816, Lady Byron left him, taking Ada with her. On 21 April, George Gordon Byron signed the Deed of Separation. Rumours of marital violence, adultery with actresses, incest with Augusta Leigh, and sodomy were circulated, assisted by a jealous Lady Caroline. In a letter, Augusta quoted him as saying: “Even to have such a thing said is utter destruction & ruin to a man from which he can never recover.”

George Gordon Byron racked up numerous debts as a young adult due to what his mother termed a reckless disregard for money. George Gordon Byron’s mother Catherine lived at Newstead during this time, in fear of her son’s creditors.

From 1809 to 1811, George Gordon Byron went on the Grand Tour then customary for a young nobleman. The Napoleonic Wars forced him to avoid most of Europe, and he instead turned to the Mediterranean. Correspondence among his circle of Cambridge friends also suggests that a key motive was the hope of homosexual experience, and other theories saying that he was worried about a possible dalliance with the married Mary Chatsworth, his former love (the subject of his poem from this time, “To a Lady: On Being Asked My Reason for Quitting England in the Spring.”)George Gordon Byron travelled from England over Spain to Albania and spent time at the court of Ali Pasha of Ioannina, and in Athens. For most of the trip, he had a traveling companion in his friend John Cam Hobhouse.

While in Athens, George Gordon Byron had a torrid love affair with Nicolò Giraud, a boy of 15 or 16 who was teaching him Italian. George Gordon Byron sent Giraud to school at a monastery in Malta and bequeathed him £7,000 sterling – almost double what he was later to spend refitting the Greek fleet. The will, however, was later cancelled.

After this break-up of his domestic life George Gordon Byron again left England, forever as it turned out. George Gordon Byron passed through Belgium and continued up the Rhine River. In the summer of 1816 he settled at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, Switzerland with his personal physician, John William Polidori. There George Gordon Byron befriended the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s future wife Mary Godwin. George Gordon Byron was also joined by Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with whom he had had an affair in London. George Gordon Byron initially refused to have anything to do with Claire Clairmont, and would only agree to remain in her presence with the Shelleys, who eventually persuaded George Gordon Byron to accept and provide for Allegra, the child she bore him in January 1817.

Kept indoors at the Villa Diodati by the “incessant rain” of “that wet, ungenial summer” over 3 days in June, the 5 turned to reading fantastical stories, including “Fantasmagoriana”, and then devising their own tales. Mary Shelley produced what would become Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of George Gordon Byron’s to produce The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre. George Gordon Byron’s story fragment was published as a postscript to Mazeppa; he also wrote the 3rd canto of Childe Harold. George Gordon Byron wintered in Venice, pausing his travels when he fell in love with Marianna Segati, in whose Venice house he was lodging, and who was soon replaced by 22-year-old Margarita Cogni; both women were married. Margarita Cogni could not read or write, and she left her husband to move into George Gordon Byron’s Venice house. Their fighting often caused George Gordon Byron to spend the night in his gondola; when he asked her to leave the house, she threw herself into the Venetian canal.

In 1817, he journeyed to Rome. On returning to Venice, he wrote the 4th canto of Childe Harold. About the same time, he sold Newstead and published Manfred, Cain, and The Deformed Transformed. The 1st 5 cantos of Don Juan were written between 1818 and 1820, during which period he made the acquaintance of the young Countess Guiccioli, who found her first love in George Gordon Byron, who in turn asked her to elope with him. It was about this time that he received a visit from Thomas Moore, to whom he confided his autobiography or “life and adventures,” which Thomas Moore, Hobhouse and George Gordon Byron’s publisher, John Murray, burned in 1824, a month after George Gordon Byron’s death.

George Gordon Byron had a child with Anne Isabella Milbanke (“Annabella”), who was Augusta Ada Byron, Lady Byron, later Lady Wentworth:

The Hon. Ada Augusta Byron (10 December 1815-29 November 1852), later Countess of Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, notable in her own right, collaborated with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine, a predecessor to modern computers.

George Gordon Byron also had 1 illegitimate child with Claire Clairmont, stepsister of Mary Shelley and stepdaughter of Political Justice and Caleb Williams writer, William Godwin:

Clara Allegra Noel-Byron (12 January 1817-20 April 1822).
Allegra is not entitled to the style “The Hon.” as is usually given to the daughter of barons since she was illegitimate. Born in Switzerland in 1817, Allegra lived with George Gordon Byron for a few months in Venice; he refused to allow an Englishwoman caring for the girl to adopt her, nor for her to be raised in the Shelleys’ household. George Gordon Byron wished for her to be brought up Catholic and not marry an Englishman. George Gordon Byron made arrangements for her to inherit 5,000 lira upon marriage or reaching age 21, provided she did not marry a native of Britain. However, the girl died at 5 years old of a fever in Bagna Cavallo, Italy while George Gordon Byron was in Pisa; he was deeply upset by the news. George Gordon Byron had Allegra’s body sent back to England to be buried at his old school, Harrow, because Protestants could not be buried in consecrated ground in Catholic countries. At one time he himself had wanted to be buried at Harrow. George Gordon Byron was indifferent towards Allegra’s mother, Claire Clairmont.

George Gordon Byron eventually took his seat in the House of Lords in 1811, shortly after his return from the Levant, and made his 1st speech there on 27 February 1812. A strong advocate of social reform, he received particular praise as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites: specifically, he was against a death penalty for Luddite “frame breakers” in Nottinghamshire, who destroyed textile machines that were putting them out of work. George Gordon Byron’s 1st speech before the Lords was loaded with sarcastic references to the “benefits” of automation, which he saw as producing inferior material as well as putting people out of work. George Gordon Byron said later that he “spoke very violent sentences with a sort of modest impudence” and thought he came across as “a bit theatrical”. In another Parliamentary speech he expressed opposition to the established religion because it was unfair to people of other faiths. These experiences inspired George Gordon Byron to write political poems such as “Song for the Luddites” (1816) and “The Landlords’ Interest” (1823). Examples of poems in which he attacked his political opponents include “Wellington: The Best of the Cut-Throats” (1819) and “The Intellectual Eunuch Castlereagh” (1818).

Ultimately, George Gordon Byron resolved to escape the censure of British society (due to his perceived sodomy and allegations of incest) by living abroad, thereby freeing himself of the need to conceal his sexual interests. George Gordon Byron left England in 1816 and did not return for the last 8 years of his life, even to bury his daughter.

In 1816, George Gordon Byron visited Saint Lazarus Island in Venice where he acquainted himself with Armenian culture through the Mekhitarist Order. George Gordon Byron learned the Armenian language from Fr. H. Avgerian and attended many seminars about language and history. George Gordon Byron wrote “English grammar and the Armenian” in 1817, and “Armenian grammar and the English” (1819) in which he quoted samples from classical and modern Armenian. George Gordon Byron participated in the compilation of “English Armenian dictionary” (1821) and wrote the preface where he explained the relationship of the Armenians with and the oppression of the Turkish “pashas” and the Persian satraps, and their struggle of liberation. George Gordon Byron’s 2 main translations are the “Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians”, several chapters of Khorenatsi’s “Armenian History” and sections of Lambronatsi’s “Orations”. When in Polis he discovered discrepancies in the Armenian vs. the English version of the Bible and translated some passages that were either missing or deficient in the English version. George Gordon Byron’s fascination was so great that he even considered a replacement of Cain story of the Bible with that of the legend of Armenian patriarch Haik. George Gordon Byron may be credited with the birth of Armenology and its propagation. George Gordon Byron’s profound lyricism and ideological courage has inspired many Armenian poets, the likes of Fr. Ghevond Alishan, Smbat Shahaziz, Hovhannes Tumanyan, Ruben Vorberian and others.

George Gordon Byron had a bust sculpted of him by Bertel Thorvaldsen at this time.

In 1821 to 1822, he finished Cantos 6–12 of Don Juan at Pisa, and in the same year he joined with Leigh Hunt and Percy Bysshe Shelley in starting a short-lived newspaper, The Liberal, in the first number of which appeared “The Vision of Judgment.” George Gordon Byron’s last Italian home was Genoa, where he was still accompanied by the Countess Guiccioli, and where he met Charles John Gardiner, 1st Earl of Blessington and Marguerite, Countess of Blessington and provided the material for her work Conversations with Lord Byron, an important text in the reception of George Gordon Byron in the period immediately after his death.

George Gordon Byron lived in Genoa until 1823 when— growing bored with his life there and with the Countess — he accepted overtures for his support from representatives of the movement for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. On 16July, George Gordon Byron left Genoa on the Hercules, arriving at Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands on 4 August. George Gordon Byron spent £4000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet, then sailed for Messolonghi in western Greece, arriving on 29December to join Alexandros Mavrokordatos, a Greek politician with military power. During this time, George Gordon Byron pursued his Greek page, Lukas Chalandritsanos, but the affections went unrequited. When the famous Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen heard about George Gordon Byron’s heroics in Greece, he voluntarily resculpted his earlier bust of George Gordon Byron in Greek marble.

Alexandros Mavrokordatos and George Gordon Byron planned to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. George Gordon Byron employed a fire-master to prepare artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command and pay, despite his lack of military experience, but before the expedition could sail, on 15 February 1824, he fell ill, and the usual remedy of bleeding weakened him further. George Gordon Byron made a partial recovery, but in early April he caught a violent cold which the bleeding — insisted on by his doctors — aggravated. The cold became a violent fever, and he died on 19 April. It has been said that had George Gordon Byron lived, he might have been declared King of Greece.

Lord Byron on his deathbed as depicted by Joseph-Denis Odevaere c.1826 Oil on canvas, 166 × 234.5 cm Groeninge Museum, Bruges. Note the sheet covering his misshapen right foot.Alfred, Lord Tennyson would later recall the shocked reaction in Britain when word was received of Lord Byron’s death. The Greeks mourned Lord Byron deeply, and he became a hero. The national poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, wrote a poem about his unexpected loss, named “To the Death of Lord Byron.” Βύρων (Vyron), the Greek form of “Byron”, continues in popularity as a masculine name in Greece, and a suburb of Athens is called Vyronas in his honour.

Lord Byron’s body was embalmed, but the Greeks wanted some part of their hero to stay with them. According to some sources, his heart remained at Messolonghi. According to others, it was his lungs, which were placed in an urn that was later lost when the city was sacked. Lord Byron’s other remains were sent to England for burial in Westminster Abbey, but the Abbey refused for reason of “questionable morality.” Huge crowds viewed his body as he lay in state for 2 days in London. Lord Byron is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham.

At her request, Ada Lovelace, the child he never knew, was buried next to him. In later years, the Abbey allowed a duplicate of a marble slab given by the King of Greece, which is laid directly above Lord Byron’s grave. Lord Byron’s friends raised the sum of £1,000 to commission a statue of the writer; Thorvaldsen offered to sculpt it for that amount. However, when the statue was completed in 1834, most British institutions it was offered to turned it down for more than 10 years as it remained in storage– the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the National Gallery in turn. Trinity College, Cambridge finally placed the statue of Lord Byron in its library.

In 1969, 145 years after Lord Byron’s death, a memorial to him was finally placed in Westminster Abbey. The memorial had been lobbied for since 1907; The New York Times wrote, “People are beginning to ask whether this ignoring of Lord Byron is not a thing of which England should be ashamed… a bust or a tablet might put in the Poets’ Corner and England be relieved of ingratitude toward one of her really great sons.”

Upon his death, the barony passed to a cousin, George Anson Byron, a career military officer and George Gordon Byron’s polar opposite in temperament and lifestyle.

In 1833 his publisher, John Murray, released the complete works in 17 duodecimo volumes, including a life by Thomas Moore.

Although George Gordon Byron falls chronologically into the period most commonly associated with Romantic poetry, much of his work looks back to the satiric tradition of Alexander Pope and John Dryden. The most striking thing about George Gordon Byron’s poetry is its strength and masculinity. Trenchantly witty, he used unflowery and colloquial language in many poems, such as “Written after Swimming from Sestos to Abydos.” George Gordon Byron’s talent for drama was expressed in the vibrantly galloping rhythms of “The Destruction of Sennacherib.” However, poems such as “When We Two Parted” and “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” express strong feelings in simple and touching language. George Gordon Byron made little use of imagery and did not aspire to write of things beyond this world; the Victorian critic John Ruskin wrote of him that he “spoke only of what he had seen and known; and spoke without exaggeration, without mystery, without enmity, and without mercy.”

George Gordon Byron’s attitude towards writing poetry is summed up well in a letter to Thomas Moore on 5th July 1821:

I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?

George Gordon Byron’s magnum opus, Don Juan, a poem spanning 17 cantos, ranks as one of the most important long poems published in England since Milton’s Paradise Lost. The masterpiece, often called the epic of its time, has roots deep in literary tradition and, although regarded by early Victorians as somewhat shocking, equally involves itself with its own contemporary world at all levels—social, political, literary and ideological.

George Gordon Byron published the 1st 2 cantos anonymously in 1819 after disputes with his regular publisher over the shocking nature of the poetry; by this time, he had been a famous poet for 7 years and when he self-published the beginning cantos, they were well-received in some quarters. It was then released volume by volume through his regular publishing house. By 1822, cautious acceptance by the public had turned to outrage, and George Gordon Byron’s publisher refused to continue to publish the works. In Canto III of “Don Juan,” Byron expresses his detestation for poets such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The figure of the Byronic hero pervades much of his work, and George Gordon Byron himself is considered to epitomize many of the characterestics of this literary figure. Scholars have traced the literary history of the Byronic hero from John Milton, and many authors and artists of the Romantic movement show George Gordon Byron’s influence during the 19th century and beyond, including Charlotte and Emily Bronte. The Byronic hero presents an idealised but flawed character whose attributes include: having great talent, exhibiting great passion, having a distaste for society and social institutions, expressing a lack of respect for rank and privilege, thwarted in love by social constraint or death, rebelling, suffering exile, hiding an unsavoury past, arrogance, overconfidence or lack of foresight, and ultimately, acting in a self-destructive manner.

George Gordon Byron was a bitter opponent of Lord Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon marbles from Greece, and “reacted with fury” when Elgin’s agent gave him a tour of the Parthenon in which he saw the missing friezes and metopes. George Gordon Byron penned a poem, “The Curse of Minerva,” to denounce Elgin’s actions.

Lord Byron, by all accounts, had a magnetic personality. Lord Byron obtained a reputation as being extravagant, melancholy, courageous, unconventional, eccentric, flamboyant and controversial. Lord Byron was independent and given to extremes of temper; on at least 1 trip, his traveling companions were so puzzled by his mood swings they thought he was mentally ill. Lord Byron enjoyed adventure, especially relating to the sea.

Lord Byron believed his depression was inherited, and he wrote in 1821, “I am not sure that long life is desirable for one of my temper & constitutional depression of Spirits.”

Lord Byron was noted even during his time for the extreme loyalty he inspired in his friends. Cam Hobhouse said, “No man lived who had such devoted friends.”

George Gordon Byron’s adult height was about 5’10”, his weight fluctuating between 9 1/2 to 14 stone (133–196 pounds). George Gordon Byron was renowned for his personal beauty, which he enhanced by wearing curl-papers in his hair at night. George Gordon Byron was athletic, being competent at boxing and an excellent swimmer. At Harrow, he played cricket despite his lameness.

From birth, George Gordon Byron suffered from an unknown deformity of his right foot, causing a limp that resulted in lifelong misery for him, aggravated by the suspicion that with proper care it might have been cured. However, he refused to wear any type of mechanical device that could improve the limp, although he often wore specially made shoes that would hide the deformed foot.

Lord Byron and other writers such as his friend John Cam Hobhouse left detailed descriptions of his eating habits. From the time that he entered Cambridge he went on a strict diet to control his weight. Lord Byron also exercised a great deal and at that time wore a great number of clothes to cause himself to perspire. For most of his life he was a vegetarian and often lived for days on dry biscuits and white wine. Occasionally he would eat large helpings of meat and desserts, after which he would purge himself. George Gordon Byron’s friend Cam Hobhouse claimed that when he became overweight, the pain of his deformed foot made it difficult for him to exercise.

George Gordon Byron is considered to be the 1st modern-style celebrity. George Gordon Byron’s image as his own Byronic hero personified fascinated the public, and his wife Annabella coined the term “Byromania” to refer to the mania surrounding him. George Gordon Byron’s self-awareness and personal promotion are seen as a beginning to what would become the modern rock star; he would instruct artists painting portraits of him not to paint him with pen or book in hand, but as a “man of action.”

While George Gordon Byron first welcomed fame, he later turned away from it by going into voluntary exile from Britain.

George Gordon Byron had a great fondness for animals, most famously for a Newfoundland dog named Boatswain; when Boatswain contracted rabies, George Gordon Byron reportedly nursed him without any fear of becoming bitten and infected. Boatswain lies buried at Newstead Abbey and has a monument larger than his master’s. George Gordon Byron at one point expressed interest in being buried next to Boatswain. The inscription, Byron’s “Epitaph to a Dog,” has become one of his best-known works, reading in part:

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803,
and died at Newstead Nov.r 18th, 1808.
George Gordon Byron also kept a bear while he was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge (reputedly out of resentment of Trinity rules forbidding pet dogs—he later suggested that the bear apply for a college fellowship). At other times in his life, George Gordon Byron kept a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, and a heron.

The re-founding of the Byron Society in 1971 reflects the fascination that many people have for George Gordon Byron and his work. This society has become very active, publishing a learned annual journal. Today some 36 International Byron Societies function throughout the world, and an International Conference takes place annually. Hardly a year passes without a new book about the poet appearing. In the last 20 years, two new feature films about him have screened, and a television play has been broadcast.

George Gordon Byron exercised a marked influence on Continental literature and art, and his reputation as a poet is higher in many European countries than in Britain or America, although not as high as in his time, when he was widely thought to be the greatest poet in the world. George Gordon Byron has inspired the works of Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi.

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Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was born on 15 August 1771 in College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland and died on 21 September 1832. Sir Walter Scott was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time.

In some ways Sir Walter Scott was the 1st English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers all over Europe, Australia, and North America. Sir Walter Scott’s novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

Sir Walter Scott’s childhood at Sandyknowe farm, seen across the lochan from Smailholm Tower, introduced him to the Borders. Sir Walter Scott was the son of a solicitor, the young Walter Scott survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that would leave him lame. To cure his lameness he was sent in that year to live in the rural Borders region at his grandparents’ farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends which characterized much of his work. In January 1775 he returned to Edinburgh, and that summer went with his aunt Jenny to take spa treatment at Bath in England. In the winter of 1776 he went back to Sandyknowe, with another attempt at a water cure being made at Prestonpans during the following summer.

In 1778 Sir Walter Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education to prepare him for school, and in October 1779 he began at the Royal High School of Edinburgh. Sir Walter Scott was now well able to walk and explore the city as well as the surrounding countryside. Sir Walter Scott’s reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books. Sir Walter Scott was given private tuition by James Mitchell in arithmetic and writing, and learned from him the history of the Kirk with emphasis on the Covenanters. After finishing school he was sent to stay for 6 months with his aunt Jenny in Kelso, attending the local Grammar School where he met James Ballantyne who later became his business partner and printed his books.

Sir Walter Scott began studying classics at the University of Edinburgh in November 1783, at the age of only 12, so he was a year or so younger than most of his fellow students. In March 1786 he began an apprenticeship in his father’s office, to become a Writer to the Signet. While at the university Sir Walter Scott had become a friend of Adam Ferguson, the son of Professor Adam Ferguson who hosted literary salons. Sir Walter Scott met the blind poet Thomas Blacklock who lent him books as well as introducing him to James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle of poems. During the winter of 1786–87 the 15 year old Walter Scott saw Robert Burns at one of these salons, for what was to be their only meeting. When Robert Burns noticed a print illustrating the poem “The Justice of the Peace” and asked who had written the poem, only Sir Walter Scott could tell him it was by John Langhorne, and was thanked by Robert Burns. When it was decided that he would become a lawyer he returned to the university to study law, 1st taking classes in Moral Philosophy and Universal History in 1789–90.

After completing his studies in law, he became a lawyer in Edinburgh. As a lawyer’s clerk he made his 1st visit to the Scottish Highlands directing an eviction. Sir Walter Scott was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1792. Sir Walter Scott had an unsuccessful love suit with Williamina Belsches of Fettercairn, who married Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet.

Sir Walter Scott’s childhood at Sandyknowes, close to Smailholm Tower, introduced him to tales of the Scottish Borders. At the age of 25 he began dabbling in writing, translating works from German, his 1st publication being rhymed versions of ballads by Bürger in 1796. Sir Walter Scott then published a 3 volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This was the 1st sign of his interest in Scottish history from a literary standpoint.

Sir Walter Scott then became an ardent volunteer in the yeomanry and on one of his “raids” he met at Gilsland Spa Margaret Charlotte Charpentier (or Charpenter), daughter of Jean Charpentier of Lyon in France whom he married in 1797. They had 5children. In 1799 he was appointed Sheriff-Deputy of the County of Selkirk, based in the Royal Burgh of Selkirk.

In his earlier married days, Sir Walter Scott had a decent living from his earnings at the law, his salary as Sheriff-Deputy, his wife’s income, some revenue from his writing, and his share of his father’s rather meagre estate.

After Sir Walter Scott had founded a printing press, his poetry, beginning with The Lay of the Last Minstrel in 1805, brought him fame. Sir Walter Scott published a number of other poems over the next 10 years, including the popular The Lady of the Lake, printed in 1810 and set in the Trossachs. Portions of the German translation of this work were later set to music by Franz Schubert. One of these songs, Ellens dritter Gesang, is popularly labelled as “Schubert’s Ave Maria”.

When the press became embroiled in pecuniary difficulties, Sir Walter Scott set out, in 1814, to write a cash-cow. The result was Waverley, a novel which did not name its author. It was a tale of the “45” Jacobite rising in the Kingdom of Great Britain with its English protagonist Edward Waverley, by his Tory upbringing sympathetic to Jacobitism, becoming enmeshed in events but eventually choosing Hanoverian respectability. The novel met with considerable success. There followed a succession of novels over the next 5 years, each with a Scottish historical setting. Mindful of his reputation as a poet, he maintained the anonymous habit he had begun with Waverley, always publishing the novels under the name Author of Waverley or attributed as “Tales of…” with no author. Even when it was clear that there would be no harm in coming out into the open he maintained the façade, apparently out of a sense of fun. During this time the nickname The Wizard of the North was popularly applied to the mysterious best-selling writer. Edward Waverley’s identity as the author of the novels was widely rumoured, and in 1815 Sir Walter Scott was given the honour of dining with George, Prince Regent, who wanted to meet “the author of Waverley”.

In 1819 he broke away from writing about Scotland with Ivanhoe, a historical romance set in 12th-century England. It too was a runaway success and, as he did with his 1st novel, he wrote several books along the same lines. Among other things, the book is noteworthy for having a very sympathetic Jewish major character, Rebecca, considered by many critics to be the book’s real heroine – relevant to the fact that the book was published at a time when the struggle for the Emancipation of the Jews in England was gathering momentum.

As his fame grew during this phase of his career, he was granted the title of baronet, becoming Sir Walter Scott. At this time he organised the visit of King George IV to Scotland, and when the King visited Edinburgh in 1822 the spectacular pageantry Sir Walter Scott had concocted to portray George as a rather tubby reincarnation of Bonnie Prince Charlie made tartans and kilts fashionable and turned them into symbols of Scottish national identity.

Sir Walter Scott included little in the way of punctuation in his drafts which he left to the printers to supply.

Beginning in 1825 he went into dire financial straits again, as his company nearly collapsed. That he was the author of his novels became general knowledge at this time as well. Rather than declare bankruptcy he placed his home, Abbotsford House, and income into a trust belonging to his creditors, and proceeded to write his way out of debt. Sir Walter Scott kept up his prodigious output of fiction (as well as producing a biography of Napoléon Bonaparte) until 1831. By then his health was failing, and he died at Abbotsford in 1832. Though not in the clear by then, his novels continued to sell, and he made good his debts from beyond the grave. Sir Walter Scott was buried in Dryburgh Abbey where nearby, fittingly, a large statue can be found of William Wallace—one of Scotland’s most romantic historical figures.

When Sir Walter Scott was a boy he sometimes travelled with his father from Selkirk to Melrose, in the Border Country where some of his novels are set. At a certain spot the old gentleman would stop the carriage and take his son to a stone on the site of the battle of Melrose (1526). Not far away was a little farm called Cartleyhole, and this he eventually purchased. In due course the farmhouse developed into a wonderful home that has been likened to a fairy palace. Through windows enriched with the insignia of heraldry the sun shone on suits of armour, trophies of the chase, fine furniture, and still finer pictures. Panelling of oak and cedar and carved ceilings relieved by coats of arms in their correct colour added to the beauty of the house. More land was purchased, until Sir Walter Scott owned nearly 1,000 acres (4 km²), and it is estimated that the building cost him over £25,000. A neighbouring Roman road with a ford used in olden days by the abbots of Melrose suggested the name of Abbotsford.

The last of his direct descendants to inhabit Abbotsford House was his great-great-great granddaughter Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott (8 June 1923 – 7 July 2004). Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott inherited it from her elder sister Patricia in 1998. Patricia and Jean turned the house into one of Scotland’s premier tourist attractions, after they had to rely on paying visitors to afford the upkeep of the house. It had electricity installed only in 1962. Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott was at one time a lady-in-waiting to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester; patron of the Dandie Dinmont Club, for a breed of dog named after one of Sir Walter Scott’s characters; and a horse trainer, one of whose horses, Sir Wattie, ridden by Ian Stark, won 2 silver medals at the 1988Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Among the early critics of Sir Walter Scott was Mark Twain, who blamed Sir Walter Scott’s “romanticisation of battle” for what he saw as the South’s decision to fight the American Civil War. Mark Twain’s ridiculing of chivalry in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in which Mark Twain has the main character repeatedly utter “great Scott” as an oath, is considered as specifically targeting Sir Walter Scott’s books. Mark Twain also targeted Sir Walter Scott in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where he names a sinking boat the Walter Scott. 3 crooks drown on this wreck.

From being one of the most popular novelists of the 19th century, Sir Walter Scott suffered from a disastrous decline in popularity after the First World War. The tone was set early on in E.M. Forster’s classic “Aspects of the Novel” (1927), where Sir Walter Scott was savaged as being a clumsy writer who wrote slapdash, badly plotted novels. Sir Walter Scott also suffered from the rising star of Jane Austen.
Considered merely an entertaining “woman’s novelist” in the 19th century, in the
20th Jane Austen began to be seen as perhaps the major English novelist of the 1st few decades of the 19th century. As Jane Austen’s star rose, Sir Walter Scott’s sank, although, ironically, he had been one of the few male writers of his time to recognise Jane Austen’s genius.

Sir Walter Scott’s ponderousness and prolixity were fundamentally out of step with Modernist sensibilities. Nevertheless, Sir Walter Scott was responsible for 2 major trends that carry on to this day. 1st, he essentially invented the modern historical novel; an enormous number of imitators (and imitators of imitators) would appear in the 19th century. It is a measure of Sir Walter Scott’s influence that Edinburgh’s central railway station, opened in 1854 for the North British Railway, is called Waverley Station. 2nd, his Scottish novels followed on from James Macpherson’s Ossian cycle in rehabilitating the public perception of Highland culture after years in the shadows following southern distrust of hill bandits and the Jacobite rebellions. As enthusiastic chairman of the Celtic Society of Edinburgh he contributed to the reinvention of Scottish culture. It is worth noting, however, that Sir Walter Scott was a Lowland Scot, and that his re-creations of the Highlands were more than a little fanciful. Sir Walter Scott’s organisation of the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822 was a pivotal event, leading Edinburgh tailors to invent many “clan tartans” out of whole cloth, so to speak. After being essentially unstudied for many decades, a small revival of interest in Sir Walter Scott’s work began in the 1970s and 1980s. Ironically, postmodern tastes (which favoured discontinuous narratives, and the introduction of the ‘first person’ into works of fiction) were more favourable to Sir Walter Scott’s work than Modernist tastes. Despite all the flaws, Sir Walter Scott is now seen as an important innovator, and a key figure in the development of Scottish and world literature.

Sir Walter Scott was also responsible, through a series of pseudonymous letters published in the Edinburgh Weekly News in 1826, for retaining the right of Scottish banks to issue their own banknotes, which is reflected to this day by his continued appearance on the front of all notes issued by the Bank of Scotland.

Many of his works were illustrated by his friend, William Allan.

In addition to Landseer, fine portraits of him were painted by fellow-Scots Sir Henry Raeburn and James Eckford Lauder.

Sir Walter Scott is commemorated in Makars’ Court, outside The Writers’ Museum, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh.

Selections for Makars’ Court are made by The Writers’ Museum; The Saltire Society; The Scottish Poetry Library.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Pierre De Ronsard

Pierre de Ronsard was born on 11 September 1524 at the Manoir de la Possonnière, in the village of Couture-sur-Loir, Loir-et-Cher and died in December 1585. Pierre de Ronsard was a French poet and “prince of poets” (as his own generation in France called him).

Pierre de Ronsard’s family is said to have come from the predominantly Romanian provinces to the north of the Danube (provinces with which the Crusades had given France much intercourse) in the first half of the 16th century. Baudouin de Ronsard or Rossart was the founder of the French branch of the house, and made his mark in the early stages of the Hundred Years’ War. The poet’s father was named Louys de Ronsard, and his mother was Jeanne de Chaudrier, of a family not only noble in itself but well connected. Pierre de Ronsard was the youngest son. Loys de Ronsard was maître d’hôtel du roi to Francis I, whose captivity after Pavia had just been softened by treaty, and he had to quit his home shortly after Pierre’s birth.

The future Prince of Poets was educated at home for some years and sent to the Collège de Navarre in Paris when he was 9 years old. When Madeleine of France was married to James V of Scotland, Pierre de Ronsard was attached to the king’s service, and he spent 3 years in Britain. The latter part of this time seems to have been passed in England, though he had, strictly speaking, no business there. On returning to France in 1540, he was again taken into the service of the Duke of Orléans.

In this service he had other opportunities of travel, being sent to Flanders and again to Scotland. After a time a more important employment fell to his lot, and he was attached as secretary to the suite of Lazare de Baïf, the father of his future colleague in the Pléiade and his companion on this occasion, Antoine de Baïf, at the diet of Speyer. Afterwards he was attached in the same way to the suite of the cardinal du Bellay-Langey, and his mythical quarrel with François Rabelais dates from this period.

Pierre De Ronsard’s apparently promising diplomatic career was, however, cut short by an attack of deafness which no physician could cure, and he determined to devote himself to study. The institution which he chose for the purpose among the numerous schools and colleges of Paris was the Collège Coqueret, the principal of which was Jean Daurat — afterwards the “dark star” (as he has been called from his silence in French) of the Pléiade, and already an acquaintance of Pierre de Ronsard’s from his having held the office of tutor in the Baïf household. Antoine de Baïf, Daurat’s pupil, accompanied Pierre de Ronsard; Belleau shortly followed; Joachim du Bellay, the 2nd of the 7, joined not much later. Muretus (Marc Antoine de Muret), a great scholar and by means of his Latin plays a great influence in the creation of French tragedy, was also a student here.

Pierre de Ronsard’s period of study occupied 7 years, and the 1st manifesto of the new literary movement, which was to apply to the vernacular the principles of criticism and scholarship learnt from the classics, came not from him but from Du Bellay. The Défense et illustration de la langue française of the latter appeared in 1549, and the Pléiade (or Brigade, as it was first called) may be said to have been then launched. It consisted, as its name implies, of 7 writers whose names are sometimes differently enumerated, though the orthodox canon is beyond doubt composed of Ronsard, Du Bellay, Baïf, Remy Belleau, Pontus de Tyard (a man of rank and position who had exemplified the principles of the friends earlier), Jodelle the dramatist, and Daurat. Pierre de Ronsard’s own work came a little later, and a rather idle story is told of a trick of Du Bellay’s which at last determined him to publish. Some single and minor pieces, an epithalamium on Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne de Navarre (1550), a “Hymne de la France” (1549), an “Ode a la Paix,” preceded the publication in 1550 of the 4 1st books (“first” is characteristic and noteworthy) of the Odes of Pierre de Ronsard.

This was followed in 1552 by the publication of his Amours de Cassandre with the fifth book of Odes, dedicated to the 15-year-old Cassandre Salviati, whom he had met at Blois and followed to her father’s Château de Talcy. These books excited a violent literary quarrel. Marot was dead, but he left numerous followers, some of whom saw in the stricter literary critique of the Pléiade, in its outspoken contempt of merely vernacular and medieval forms, in its strenuous advice to French poetry to “follow the ancients,” and so forth, an insult to the author of the Adolescence Clémentine and his school.

Pierre de Ronsard’s popularity in his own time was overwhelming and immediate, and his prosperity was unbroken. Pierre de Ronsard published his Hymns, dedicated to Margaret de Valois, in 1555; the conclusion of the Amours, addressed to another heroine, in 1556; and then a collection of Œuvres completes, said to be due to the invitation of Mary Stuart, queen of Francis II, in 1560; with Elégies, mascarades et bergeries in 1565. To this same year belongs his most important and interesting Abrégé de l’art poétique français.

The rapid change of sovereigns did Pierre de Ronsard no harm. Charles IX, King of France, who succeeded his brother after a very short time, was even better inclined to him than Henry and Francis. Pierre de Ronsard gave him rooms in the palace; he bestowed upon him divers abbacies and priories; and he called him and regarded him constantly as his master in poetry. Neither was Charles IX a bad poet. This royal patronage, however, had its disagreeable side. It excited violent dislike to Pierre de Ronsard on the part of the Huguenots, who wrote constant pasquinades against him, strove (by a ridiculous exaggeration of the Dionysiac festival at Arcueil, in which the friends had indulged to celebrate the success of the first French tragedy, Jodelle’s Cleopatre) to represent him as a libertine and an atheist, and (which seems to have annoyed him more than anything else) set up his follower Du Bartas as his rival.

According to some words of his own, which are quite credible considering the ways of the time, they were not contented with this variety of argument, but attempted to have him assassinated. During this period Pierre de Ronsard’s work was considerable but mostly occasional, and the one work of magnitude upon which Charles put him, the Franciade (1572), has never been ranked, even by his most devoted admirers, as a chief title to fame. The metre (the decasyllable) which the king chose could not but contrast unfavourably with the magnificent alexandrines which Du Bartas and Agrippa d’Aubigné were shortly to produce; the general plan is feebly classical, and the very language has little or nothing of that racy mixture of scholarliness and love of natural beauty which distinguishes the best work of the Pléiade. The poem could never have had an abiding success, but at its appearance it had the singular bad luck almost to coincide with the massacre of St Bartholomew, which had occurred about a fortnight before its publication. One party in the state were certain to look coldly on the work of a minion of the court at such a juncture, the other had something else to think of.

The death of Charles made, indeed, little difference in the court favour which Pierre de Ronsard enjoyed, but, combined with his increasing infirmities, it seems to have determined him to quit court life. During his last days he lived chiefly at a house which he possessed in Vendôme, the capital of his native province, at his abbey at Croix-Val in the same neighbourhood, or else at Paris, where he was usually the guest of Jean Galland, well known as a scholar, at the College de Boncourt. It seems also that he had a town house of his own in the Fauhourg Saint-Marcel. At any rate his preferments made him in perfectly easy circumstances, and he seems neither to have derived nor wished for any profit from his books. A half-jocular suggestion that his publishes should give him money to buy “du bois pour se chauffer” in return for his last revision of his Œuvres complètes is the only trace of any desire of the kind. On the other hand, he received not merely gifts and endowments from his own sovereign but presents from many others, including Elizabeth I of England. Mary, queen of Scots, who had known him earlier, addressed him from her prison; and Tasso consulted him on the Gerusalemme.

Pierre de Ronsard’s last years were, however, saddened not merely by the death of many of his most intimate friends, but by constant and increasing ill-health. This did not interfere with his literary work in point of quality, for he was rarely idle, and some of his latest work is among his best. But he indulged (what few poets have wisely indulged) the temptation of constantly altering his work, and many of his later alterations are by no means for the better. Towards the end of 1585 his condition of health grew worse and worse, and he seems to have moved restlessly from one of his houses to another for some months. When the end came, which, though in great pain, he met in a resolute and religious manner, he was at his priory of Saint-Cosme at Tours, and he was buried in the church of that name on Friday 27, December.

The character and fortunes of Pierre de Ronsard’s works are among the most remarkable in literary history, and supply in themselves a kind of illustration of the progress of French literature during the last 3 centuries. It was long his fortune to be almost always extravagantly admired or violently attacked. At first, as has been said, the enmity, not altogether unprovoked, of the friends and followers of Marot fell to his lot, then the still fiercer antagonism of the Huguenot faction, who, happening to possess a poet of great merit in Du Bartas, were able to attack Pierre de Ronsard in his tenderest point. But fate had by no means done its worst with him in his lifetime. After his death the classical reaction set in under the auspices of Malherbe, who seems to have been animated with a sort of personal hatred of Pierre de Ronsard, though it is not clear that they ever met. After Malherbe, the rising glory of Corneille and his contemporaries obscured the tentative and unequal work of the Pléiade, which was, moreover, directly attacked by Boileau himself, the dictator of French criticism in the last half of the 17th century.

Then Pierre de Ronsard was, except by a few men of taste, such as Jean de La Bruyère and Fénelon, forgotten when he was not sneered at. In this condition he remained during the whole 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th. The Romantic revival, seeing in him a victim of its special bête noire Boileau, and attracted by his splendid diction, rich metrical faculty, and combination of classical and medieval peculiarities, adopted his name as a kind of battle-cry, and for the moment exaggerated his merits somewhat. The critical work, however, first of Sainte-Beuve in his Tableau de la littérature francaise au 16ème siècle, and since of others, has established Pierre de Ronsard pretty securely in his right place, a place which may be defined in a few sentences.

Pierre de Ronsard was the acknowledged chief of the Pléiade and its most voluminous poet. Pierre de Ronsard was probably also its best, though a few isolated pieces of Belleau excel him in airy lightness of touch. Several sonnets of Du Bellay exhibit what may be called the intense and voluptuous melancholy of the Renaissance more perfectly than anything of his, and the finest passages of the Tragiques and the Divine Sep’maine surpass his work in command of the alexandrine and in power of turning it to the purposes of satirical invective and descriptive narration. But that work is, as has been said, very extensive (we possess at a rough guess not much short of a 100,000 lines of his), and it is extraordinarily varied in form. Pierre de Ronsard did not introduce the sonnet into France, but he practised it very soon after its introduction and with admirable skill – the famous “Quand vous serez bien vieille” being one of the acknowledged gems of French literature.

Pierre de Ronsard’s odes, which are very numerous, are also very interesting and in their best shape very perfect compositions. Pierre de Ronsard began by imitating the strophic arrangement of the ancients, but very soon had the wisdom to desert this for a kind of adjustment of the Horatian ode to rhyme, instead of exact quantitative metre. In this latter kind he devised some exquisitely melodious rhythms of which, till our own day, the secret died with the 17th century. Pierre de Ronsard’s more sustained work sometimes displays a bad selection of measure; and his occasional poetry–epistles, eclogues, elegies, etc.–is injured by its vast volume. But the preface to the Franciade is a very fine piece of verse, far superior (it is in alexandrines) to the poem itself. Generally speaking, Pierre de Ronsard is best in his amatory verse (the long series of sonnets and odes to Cassandre, Pikles, Marie, Genévre, Héléne–Héléne de Surgeres, a later and mainly “literary” love–etc.), and in his descriptions of the country (the famous “Mignonne allons voir si la rose,” the “Fontaine Bellerie,” the “Forêt de Gastine,” and so forth), which have an extraordinary grace and freshness. No one used with more art than he the graceful diminutives which his school set in fashion. Pierre de Ronsard knew well too how to manage the gorgeous adjectives (“marbrine,” “cinabrine,” “ivoirine” and the like) which were another fancy of the Pléiade, and in his hands they rarely become stiff or cumbrous. In short, Pierre de Ronsard shows eminently the 2 great attractions of French 16th-century poetry as compared with that of the 2 following ages – magnificence of language and imagery and graceful variety of metre.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Ferdinand Berthier

Ferdinand Berthier was born on 28 September, 1803 and died on 12 July, 1886. Ferdinand was a deaf educator, intellectual and political organizer in 19th Century France, and is one of the earliest champions of Deaf identity and culture. In late 1837 Ferdinand petitioned the French government for permission to create the Société Centrale des Sourds-muets, which was officially founded the following year as the first organisation to represent the interests of the deaf community. The organisation aimed to bring together “all the deaf spread across the globe. Ferdinand played a delicate balancing act as a passionate defender of the deaf identity and sign language, while under a repressive social and political climate. Ferdinand also wrote books about deaf history and deaf culture, noting deaf artists and sign-language poets of his time.

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Epilepsy Series-Disabled Legend Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott was born on 15 August 1771 and died on 21 September 1832. Sir Walter Scott was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time.

Walter Scott survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that would leave him lame. In 1778 Scott returned to Edinburgh for private education to prepare him for school, he was now well able to walk and explore the city as well as the surrounding countryside. His reading included chivalric romances, poems, history and travel books.

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