Thursday, April 29, 2010


Atlas bearing the heavens from William Cunningham,
The Cosmographicall Glasse, London 1559
(The verse on the engraving is from Virgil´s Aenid)

The Metamorphoses
Book II

Yet Ancient Earth, child-bearer of all things
Was not subdued, surrounded as she was
By deep and shrinking seas and by her rivers
That sank to darkest wells down to her womb;
Though black with heat and soot she raised her face,
And as she lifted hands to shield her eyes, 
She shrank back lower than her usual place
While all things shook as though the world would break.
She cried aloud, "O greatest of the gods! 
Is this your will and is this my reward?
Why does your lightning cease? If this
Is death by fire, then let your bolt of fire
Bring death to me so I may suffer you
To cause my death; even now I scarcely speak -"
For flames and smoke had filled her mouth, her throat.
"See my charred hair, ashes are in my eyes, 
Across my face; have I earned this for my 
Fertility? For me who wear the scars
of plough and spade? And each year torn and delved
That grass my grow for cattle, grain for men,
And myrrh placed on the altars of the gods?
It may be I deserve and easy death,
But how or why has Sea, your brother erred?
And why has water, fallen to his share
As third of our estate, dwindled to nothing
And farther from the sky? If you have no
Concern for him nor me, look how your heavens
Blaze from pole to pole - if fire consumes them
The very universe will fall to dust.
In pain, in worry, Atlas almost fails 
To balance world´s hot axis on his shoulders;
If sea, land, and celestial heavens fall,
The very world we live in falls to dust,
Then we return to Chaos. Save, O Lord,
The charred remains of our poor Universe."

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Watched the Shakespearian movie for the second time last night with Irene Jacob as Desdemona, Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as Iago.

It is just excellent.... and reminds you about how destructive jealousy is.

"She that was ever fair and never proud,
had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
never lacked gold and yet went never gay,
fled from her wish and yet said 'Now I may.'
She that, being angered, her revenge being nigh,
bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly.
She that in wisdom never was so frail
to change the cod's head for the salmon's tail.
She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind,
see suitors following and not look behind.
She was a wight, if ever such wight were...
to suckle fools and chronicle small beer."

- spoken by Iago.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


On the shortness of life 

I love these small Penguin books about great ideas. They make the great philosophers and thinkers available to us in artistic bring along books. 
It has been questioned when actually Seneca was born but the say about 5 BC and that he died AD 65 when he was forced to commit suicide. 
Seneca was a philosopher, dramatist, statesman and humorist, during the Silver Age of Latin Literature. 

"we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it"

"Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man; yet there is nothing which is harder to learn."

"...learning how to live takes a whole life, takes a whole life to learn how to die."

"live immediately"

"Life is divided into three periods, past, present and future. Of these, the present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain"

"Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only those are really alive"

"No man is despised by another unless he is first despised by himself"

I will end it with this great paragraph... have a fabulous study day, with love:)

"If you apply yourself to study you will avoid all boredom with life, you will not long for night because you are sick of daylight, you will be neither a burden to yourself nor useless to others, you will attract many to become your friends and the finest people will flock around you".

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Edna St. Vincent Millay

To the Not Impossible Him

How shall I know, unless I go
To Cairo and Cathay,
Whether or not this blessed spot
Is blest in every way?

Now it may be, the flower for me
Is this beneath my nose;
How shall I tell, unless I smell
The Carthaginian rose?

The fabric of my faithful love
No power shall dim or ravel
Whilst I stay here, -but oh, my dear,
If I should ever travel!

Now I know I have the flower beneath my nose, but I think it is a beautiful flirt with the world. With love! 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh the Tudors...

Hilary Mantel
Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall took me about 2 months to finish.... every time I opened this book I managed to read about two pages and then I fell asleep. For those who knows me... I usually have a hard time getting any sleep at all....
The novel about Thomas Cromwell/Thomas More/King Henry VIII and the ladies that was the cause of Religion change, divorce or the King that did not get any male heir and the problems surrounding it.
Well, this novel won the Man Booker Prize. 
I think it is admirable the effort that has been put to work to write such a novel, all the enormous research that must have been done. I also think she managed many times to touch on great stories but then to move the story along too quickly to really end up not touching deeply on anything.
I sat many times thinking ah now I am finally getting into this novel.... for then to fall asleep again.
I am being a bit harsh here... but really 2 months of my life! I am perhaps too dutiful to put it aside and read something else, I guess that is my problem:)

Here, a few of her hits:

"Man is wolf to man" (old latin saying)

"For what is the point of breeding children, if each generation does not improve on what went on before?"

"It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires"

"Time now to consider the compacts that hold the world together: the compact between ruler and ruled, and that between husband and wife. Both these arrangements rest on a sedulous devotion, the one to the interests of the other..."

"It was fear of plain words, or the assertion that plain words pervert themselves; More´s dictionary against our dictionary. You can have a silence full of words. A lute retains, in its bowl, the notes it has played. The viol, in its strings, holds a concord. A shriveled petal can hold its scent a prayer can rattle with curses; an empty house, when the owner have gone out, can still be loud with ghosts."

.... One thing that surprised we was the horror of More, the man who wrote "Utopia" being so evil.
But as a friend said to me when we discussed this novel "where not all of them pretty brutal?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Anna Karenina


Any serious reader knows the beginning of Anna Karenina... but it does not hurt to repeat it.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

After all it is one of my absolute favorite books. I think I could have never understood Anna Karenina when I was younger, how could she throw away her life like that? But now after having lived a life with faults of my own, I have less to blame on others and more to understand. Therefore I felt like I lived and breathed with Anna Karenina while reading this fantastic novel. We even named our first son Konstantin Levi after the other protagonist, supposedly a character based a lot on Tolstoy himself.

Here comes a couple of quotes from the book, a tiny bobble from a large glass of Champagne...

He was on familiar terms with everyone with whom he drank champagne, and he drank champagne with everyone.

...And as soon as these words were spoken, both he and she understood that the matter was ended, and that what was to have been said would not be said, and their excitement, which had reached its highest point just before then, began to subside.

So he lived, not knowing and not seeing any possibility of knowing what he was and why he was living in the world, tormented by this ignorance to such a degree that he feared suicide.

But I looked for miracles, I was sorry that I´d never seen a miracle that would convince me.
And here it is, the only possible miracle, ever existing, surrounding me on all sides, and I never noticed it!

"No, I can´t argue with them " he thought, "they are wearing impenetrable armour, and I am naked"

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bright Star!

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-- 
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death. 

John Keats

Just watched "Bright Star" the movie, and sentimental 
as I am, I cried and cried. How can someone that talented 
die so young and leave behind so many fantastic
thoughts? Fanny broke my heart as well with her
undying love. Ah, Romantic poets...