violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
I feel like this should have all the warnings, but nothing graphic actually happens. I just went there mentally, a lot.

Blood and Bile )
violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
Robert Browning

The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o’er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me – she
Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me forever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night’s gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshiped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria’s love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!
violsva: Geoffrey Tennant, offering a skull (have a skull)
Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.


Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."
Read more... )
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So everyone should go read The Café Elsinore by hoc_voluerunt. And then come here and talk to me about it.

It's made me think about modern adaptations and changing portrayals of mental health and the cliched argument over the transfer of power between generations in comedies vs tragedies and how parental relationships in Shakespeare compare to parental relationships in fairy tales. And I haven't had all these thoughts in my head at one time since university or mayybe when I was reading Aurora Leigh the year after, and oh, my brain is back.

(My brain is actually having serious difficulties at the moment, but the return of my critical reading skills can only be a good sign)

Reading

Jun. 4th, 2013 07:42 pm
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Someone else wrote me a Yuletide story (New Year's Resolution) and it's lovely, a whole bunch of little snippets of Greek women and goddesses. Human Hands Alone by Cirque. Go look!

I've been reading The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung, and OMG why did no one give me this when I was ten?* I would have loved it. I love it now. It's like Holmes but with more emotion and housebreaking and interesting conflicts of standards and morality. There's good reason for it to be like Holmes - it was written by Doyle's brother-in-law and dedicated to him. And the slash is very nearly on the page.

"In the dark!" said Raffles, as I dragged him in. "Why, Bunny, what's wrong?"

"Nothing - now you've come," said I, shutting the door behind him in a fever of relief and anxiety. ... "I've been thinking of you and nothing else for the last hour."


I'm also reading The Mysteries of Montreal by Charlotte Fuhrer. I was hoping for interesting medical details, of which there are none; instead it's a chatty generally moralizing bunch of short 'I swear its true' stories about the kind of weird stuff people get up to that causes them to need a midwife. Once I realized that I was expecting lots of "and then it turned out she was his father's illegitimate child and they couldn't get married and everyone was miserable," and there was some of that. But there's also stories like the woman who disobeyed her father to marry a man who shortly deserted her, and then moved to Boston and became the mistress of a couple men there and had two children out of wedlock ... and lived happily ever after. The children grew up to be brilliant and accomplished and popular in society, and there were no terrible consequences for the mother except a little social embarrassment. So that was kind of neat. She's funny, too:

Alice was glad to get a husband, and to be independent of her aunt. Mr. Taylor, her husband, was delighted to get such a beautiful and accomplished bride, and the old lady, Alice's aunt, was heartily glad to get rid of them both, so that never was rejoicing more universal.

And I am unstuck on something that was stuck for months, so things are progressing well enough writing wise given the amount of free time I have, which is not much. Apartment hunting is also progressing well, though.

*I know someone who is turning ten this year...
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Took [personal profile] knumpify out to The Bourne Legacy. Lots of fun.

Awesome parkour chase scenes! Is it still parkour if you're on a motorcycle while doing it? Scientists! Evil government officials! Bechdel test passes! Really!

...Lots of gore and violence, and the evil side are really creepily evil. But fun.

I've only seen the third one of the series, once, and I don't think any prior knowledge was necessary to follow the plot.

Also, I am apparently terrible at recognizing characters if they change their haircuts. But we already knew this.
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Greek tragedies come in threes. Playwrights were invited to have their plays performed at the City Dionysia, a huge festival in honour of Dionysus where Athens showed off how cultured it was. This is important: Athenian values are being defended to outsiders, at least a little. Comedies were performed at smaller, local festivals, and they have a lot more jokes about politics.

People were paid to attend the theatre in Athens (starting around the deaths of Euripides and Sophocles, or a bit before, I think). It'd almost be worth the lack of indoor plumbing and the horrific sex roles.

Greek theatre was not like modern theatre - there was lots of singing, and the conditions of staging were entirely different, but that's a huge tangent and I'll talk about it if it becomes relevant. The origins of tragedy are something lots of people talk about but no one actually knows anything about, so we'll drop that too. These are the basics.

Every playwright got one full day for his plays. The tragedies were performed one after another, with short breaks in between. After the three tragedies came the satyr play, which used tragic meter to make lots of dirty jokes about some of the same themes the trilogy covered. Right after the death of Ajax, when you're still all shell-shocked and horrified, you get to watch a bunch of satyrs getting drunk while wearing giant strap-ons. This is what Aristotle called catharsis.

This is entirely different from the modern experience, even of Greek plays, since we only have one surviving complete trilogy, Aeschylus's Oresteia, which is missing its satyr play.

Aeschylus's trilogies (we think) were all focused on one myth each, like the Oresteia. Later on, playwrights mostly wrote individual plays about different myths, and then presented three together as a trilogy. We have three plays by Sophocles about Odysseus, but he wrote them for three different festivals.

So what is the Oresteia?

Cut for cannibalism, matricide, infanticide, filicide, mariticide, and war. )

You have no idea how many times I typed 'Troy' as 'Tory' in this post.

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