sábado, 20 de septiembre de 2014

Giacomo Leopardi: Il Sogno



GIACOMO LEOPARDI (1798-1837)

È ritenuto il maggior poeta dell'Ottocento italiano e una delle più importanti figure della letteratura mondiale, nonché una delle principali del romanticismo letterario; la profondità della sua riflessione sull'esistenza e sulla condizione umana – di ispirazione sensista e materialista – ne fa anche un filosofo di notevole spessore. La straordinaria qualità lirica della sua poesia lo ha reso un protagonista centrale nel panorama letterario e culturale europeo e internazionale, con ricadute che vanno molto oltre la sua epoca.

Leopardi, intellettuale dalla vastissima cultura, inizialmente sostenitore del classicismo, ispirato alle opere dell'antichità greco-romana, ammirata tramite le letture e le traduzioni di Mosco, Lucrezio, Epitteto ed altri, approdò al Romanticismo dopo la scoperta dei poeti romantici europei, quali Byron, Shelley, Chateaubriand, Foscolo, divenendone un esponente principale, pur non volendo mai definirsi romantico.

Il Sogno 1819-25


Era il mattino, e tra le chiuse imposte
Per lo balcone insinuava il sole
Nella mia cieca stanza il primo albore;
Quando in sul tempo che più leve il sonno
E più soave le pupille adombra,
Stettemi allato e riguardommi in viso
Il simulacro di colei che amore
Prima insegnommi, e poi lasciommi in pianto.
Morta non mi parea, ma trista, e quale
Degl'infelici è la sembianza. Al capo
Appressommi la destra, e sospirando,
Vivi, mi disse, e ricordanza alcuna
Serbi di noi? Donde, risposi, e come
Vieni, o cara beltà? Quanto, deh quanto
Di te mi dolse e duol: nè mi credea
Che risaper tu lo dovessi; e questo
Facea più sconsolato il dolor mio.
Ma sei tu per lasciarmi un'altra volta?
Io n'ho gran tema. Or dimmi, e che t'avvenne?
Sei tu quella di prima? E che ti strugge
Internamente? Obblivione ingombra
I tuoi pensieri, e gli avviluppa il sonno,
Disse colei. Son morta, e mi vedesti
L'ultima volta, or son più lune. Immensa
Doglia m'oppresse a queste voci il petto.
Ella seguì: nel fior degli anni estinta,
Quand'è il viver più dolce, e pria che il core
Certo si renda com'è tutta indarno
L'umana speme. A desiar colei
Che d'ogni affanno il tragge, ha poco andare
L'egro mortal; ma sconsolata arriva
La morte ai giovanetti, e duro è il fato
Di quella speme che sotterra è spenta.
Vano è saper quel che natura asconde
Agl'inesperti della vita, e molto
All'immatura sapienza il cieco
Dolor prevale. Oh sfortunata, oh cara,
Taci, taci, diss'io, che tu mi schianti
Con questi detti il cor. Dunque sei morta,
O mia diletta, ed io son vivo, ed era
Pur fisso in ciel che quei sudori estremi
Cotesta cara e tenerella salma
Provar dovesse, a me restasse intera
Questa misera spoglia? Oh quante volte
In ripensar che più non vivi, e mai
Non avverrà ch'io ti ritrovi al mondo,
Creder nol posso. Ahi ahi, che cosa è questa
Che morte s'addimanda? Oggi per prova
Intenderlo potessi, e il capo inerme
Agli atroci del fato odii sottrarre.
Giovane son, ma si consuma e perde
La giovanezza mia come vecchiezza;
La qual pavento, e pur m'è lunge assai.
Ma poco da vecchiezza si discorda
Il fior dell'età mia. Nascemmo al pianto,
Disse, ambedue; felicità non rise
Al viver nostro; e dilettossi il cielo
De' nostri affanni. Or se di pianto il ciglio,
Soggiunsi, e di pallor velato il viso
Per la tua dipartita, e se d'angoscia
Porto gravido il cor; dimmi: d'amore
Favilla alcuna, o di pietà, giammai
Verso il misero amante il cor t'assalse
Mentre vivesti? Io disperando allora
E sperando traea le notti e i giorni;
Oggi nel vano dubitar si stanca
La mente mia. Che se una volta sola
Dolor ti strinse di mia negra vita,
Non mel celar, ti prego, e mi soccorra
La rimembranza or che il futuro è tolto
Ai nostri giorni. E quella: ti conforta,
O sventurato. Io di pietade avara
Non ti fui mentre vissi, ed or non sono,
Che fui misera anch'io. Non far querela
Di questa infelicissima fanciulla.
Per le sventure nostre, e per l'amore
Che mi strugge, esclamai; per lo diletto
Nome di giovanezza e la perduta
Speme dei nostri dì, concedi, o cara,
Che la tua destra io tocchi. Ed ella, in atto
Soave e tristo, la porgeva. Or mentre
Di baci la ricopro, e d'affannosa
Dolcezza palpitando all'anelante
Seno la stringo, di sudore il volto
Ferveva e il petto, nelle fauci stava
La voce, al guardo traballava il giorno.
Quando colei teneramente affissi
Gli occhi negli occhi miei, già scordi, o caro,
Disse, che di beltà son fatta ignuda?
E tu d'amore, o sfortunato, indarno
Ti scaldi e fremi. Or finalmente addio.
Nostre misere menti e nostre salme
Son disgiunte in eterno. A me non vivi
E mai più non vivrai: già ruppe il fato
La fe che mi giurasti. Allor d'angoscia
Gridar volendo, e spasimando, e pregne
Di sconsolato pianto le pupille,
Dal sonno mi disciolsi. Ella negli occhi
Pur mi restava, e nell'incerto raggio
Del Sol vederla io mi credeva ancora.

miércoles, 17 de septiembre de 2014

El Post Número 600



Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Although remembered now for his elegantly argued critical essays, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) began his career as a poet, winning early recognition as a student at the Rugby School where his father, Thomas Arnold, had earned national acclaim as a strict and innovative headmaster. Arnold also studied at Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1844, after completing his undergraduate degree at Oxford, he returned to Rugby as a teacher of classics. After marrying in 1851, Arnold began work as a government school inspector, a grueling position which nonetheless afforded him the opportunity to travel throughout England and the Continent. Throughout his thirty-five years in this position Arnold developed an interest in education, an interest which fed into both his critical works and his poetry. Empedocles on Etna (1852) and Poems (1853) established Arnold's reputation as a poet and in 1857 he was offered a position, which he accepted and held until 1867, as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Arnold became the first professor to lecture in English rather than Latin. During this time Arnold wrote the bulk of his most famous critical works, Essays in Criticism (1865) and Culture and Anarchy (1869), in which he sets forth ideas that greatly reflect the predominant values of the Victorian era.

Meditative and rhetorical, Arnold's poetry often wrestles with problems of psychological isolation. In "To Marguerite—Continued," for example, Arnold revises Donne's assertion that "No man is an island," suggesting that we "mortals" are indeed "in the sea of life enisled." Other well-known poems, such as "Dover Beach," link the problem of isolation with what Arnold saw as the dwindling faith of his time. Despite his own religious doubts, a source of great anxiety for him, in several essays Arnold sought to establish the essential truth of Christianity. His most influential essays, however, were those on literary topics. In "The Function of Criticism" (1865) and "The Study of Poetry" (1880) Arnold called for a new epic poetry: a poetry that would address the moral needs of his readers, "to animate and ennoble them." Arnold's arguments, for a renewed religious faith and an adoption of classical aesthetics and morals, are particularly representative of mainstream Victorian intellectual concerns. His approach—his gentlemanly and subtle style—to these issues, however, established criticism as an art form, and has influenced almost every major English critic since, including T. S. Eliot, Lionel Trilling, and Harold Bloom. Though perhaps less obvious, the tremendous influence of his poetry, which addresses the poet's most innermost feelings with complete transparency, can easily be seen in writers as different from each other as W. B. Yeats, James Wright, Sylvia Plath, and Sharon Olds. Late in life, in 1883 and 1886, Arnold made two lecturing tours of the United States. Matthew Arnold died in Liverpool in 1888.

"Cadmus & Harmonia" 1852

Far, far from here,
The Adriatic breaks in a warm bay
Among the green Illyrian hills; and there
The sunshine in the happy glens is fair,
And by the sea, and in the brakes.
The grass is cool, the sea-side air
Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers
More virginal and sweet than ours.

And there, they say, two bright and aged snakes,
Who once were Cadmus and Harmonia,
Bask in the glens or on the warm sea-shore,
In breathless quiet, after all their ills;
Nor do they see their country, nor the place
Where the Sphinx lived among the frowning hills,
Nor the unhappy palace of their race,
Nor Thebes, nor the Ismenus, any more.

There those two live, far in the Illyrian brakes!
They had stay'd long enough to see,
In Thebes, the billow of calamity
Over their own dear children roll'd,
Curse upon curse, pang upon pang,
For years, they sitting helpless in their home,
A grey old man and woman; yet of old
The Gods had to their marriage come,
And at the banquet all the Muses sang.

Therefore they did not end their days
In sight of blood, but were rapt, far away,
To where the west-wind plays,
And murmurs of the Adriatic come
To those untrodden mountain-lawns; and there
Placed safely in changed forms, the pair
Wholly forgot their first sad life, and home,
And all that Theban woe, and stray
For ever through the glens, placid and dumb.

domingo, 14 de septiembre de 2014

Lord Byron "To Woman"



Lord Byron (1788-1824)

"To Woman", 1806


Woman! experience might have told me,
That all must love thee who behold thee:
Surely experience might have taught
Thy firmest promises are naught:
But, placed in all thy charms before me,
All I forget, but to adore thee.
Oh memory! Thou choicest blessing
When join’d with hope, when still possessing;
But how much cursed by every lover
When hope is fled and passion’s over.
Woman, that fair and fond deceiver,
How throbs the pulse when first we view
The eye that rolls in glossy blue,
Or sparkles black, or mildly throws
A beam from under hazel brows!
How quick we credit every oath,
And hear her plight the willing troth!
Fondly we hope’t will last for aye,
When, lo! she changes in a day.
This record will for ever stand,
“Woman, thy vows are traced in sand.”





jueves, 11 de septiembre de 2014

Víctor Balaguer "La dama del rat penat"



Víctor Balaguer (1824-1901)

Víctor Balaguer i Cirera nació en Barcelona, en 1824, en un hogar de clase social relativamente acomodada. Después de la prematura muerte de su padre, su madre intentó conducir con mano firme su formación, pero el joven Balaguer muy pronto mostró su predilección por un estilo de vida de inspiración romántica y liberal. En 1844, obtuvo el título de bachiller en Jurisprudencia por la Universidad de Barcelona; no obstante, el año siguiente abandonó los estudios.

En estos años de juventud, tuvo una intensa actividad asociativa, literaria y periodística. Frecuentó tertulias y fue miembro activo de entidades culturales de Barcelona, como la Sociedad Filomática, la Sociedad Filarmónica y Literaria y la Real Academia de Buenas Letras. Publicó multitud de obras en la mayoría de los géneros (teatro, poesía, narrativa, divulgación de lugares catalanes), tradujo los románticos franceses, dirigió colecciones literarias y fue poeta teatral. Impulsó y colaboró en numerosos títulos de prensa, entre los que destaca su trabajo como director de El Genio (1844-1845) y El Catalán (1849-1850) y como redactor del Diario de Barcelona (1850-1854).

El periodo 1854-1868 fue el más relevante en varios ámbitos de actuación y en la formulación de su pensamiento catalanista y progresista. En el literario, publicó algunos de sus trabajos más significativos, como Don Juan de Serrallonga o los bandoleros de las Guillerías (drama, 1858, con versión catalana de 1868), Don Juan de Serrallonga (novela, 1858), La libertad constitucional (ensayo histórico y político, 1858), las poesías catalanas de «Lo trovador de Montserrat» (ediciones de 1861 y 1868) y Esperançes y records (ensayo, poesía y teatro, 1866), a la vez que fue uno de los principales impulsores de los Juegos Florales, de la hermandad entre las letras catalanas y occitanas y líder del sector liberal de la Renaixença. En el ámbito histórico, culminó la Historia de Cataluña y de la Corona de Aragón (1860-1864), primera historia general de Cataluña publicada en la época contemporánea. En el periodístico, dirigió publicaciones capitales en la presentación de su pensamiento, como La Corona de Aragón (1854-56), El Conseller (1856-57) y La Montaña de Montserrat (1868) y fue corresponsal de El Telégrafo en la guerra de Italia (1859). Como cronista de Barcelona, presentó un proyecto de nomenclátor para el nuevo Ensanche que permitiera la visualización de la identidad nacional catalana y que fue en buena parte aplicado.

En este mismo periodo, realizó el paso definitivo a la política. Fue miembro activo del Partido Progresista en Cataluña, diputado provincial (1862-1866) e intervino en el ciclo revolucionario dirigido por Delgado, que le comportó el exilio. A partir de la Revolución de 1868, inició una carrera política de primer orden, que lo llevó a ser presidente de la Diputación Provincial de Barcelona (1868-1869), diputado a Cortes (1869-1873 y 1876-1889, con fijación al distrito de Vilanova i la Geltrú), senador vitalicio (1889-1901), director general de Estadística (1869) y de Comunicaciones (1871), ministro de Ultramar (1871, 1874 y 1886-1888) y de Fomento (1872), presidente del Tribunal de Cuentas (1874-1875), del Consejo de Estado (1883-1884) y de numerosos organismos. Fue dirigente en clave española del Partido Liberal y de la Izquierda Dinástica y líder indiscutible de los parlamentarios catalanes. Desde estas ocupaciones, protagonizó intensas campañas en defensa de los intereses generales catalanes (industria, infraestructuras), luchó por la universalización de la educación y la cultura, y fue un especialista en temas de ultramar.

Estuvo vinculado a la Masonería. Ingresó en las reales academias de la Historia (1875) y Española (1883). Fundó en Vilanova i la Geltrú la Biblioteca-Museo que lleva su nombre y en Madrid el Museo-Biblioteca de Ultramar, que dirigió hasta su muerte, que tuvo lugar en aquella ciudad en 1901.


LA DAMA DEL RAT PENAT
(La dama del murciélago)

Allà baix, al plá, 
un llorer hi havia. 
Sota del llorer, 
bona y adormida, 
una dama jau 
sobre una catifa; 
la catifa es d'or 
y de seda fina; 
la dama es un cel, 
d'hermosa y bonica. 
¡Ay, si ella volgués, 
jo la vetllaria 
de dia y de nit, 
de nit y de dia! 

Mes un rat penat 
que sempre la mira 
prop d'ella s'está 
y en ella s'ensiza 
sens móurers de nit, 
de nit ni de dia. 

—Senyor rat penat, 
per Déu no 'm diria 
si es morta la dama 
que mon cor admira? 
Morta dihuen qu' es, 
mes jo la crech viva.
—No 'n es morta, no, 
sols está dormida.
Ja es despertará
cuant vinga lo dia, 
cuant l’hora n'arribe, cuant l'hora ne sone, 
cuant l'hora ne sia. 


11 de Setembre, Diada Nacional de Catalunya
9/11 National Day of Catalonia






miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

Gallery of Victorian Postcards



VICTORIAN ILLUSTRATION

POSTCARD GALLERY


"Night Piece" 
Aubrey Beardsley 1872-1898


"The Queen of Hearts..."
Randolf Caldecott 1846-1886


"Black knight-at-arms"
Walter Crane 1845-1915


"Bust of women in circle..."
Evangeline Mary Daniell 1880-1902


"Sailboat"
Harry Elliot


"Iris"
John Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893


"At a Garden-party" 
A.K. MacDonald 1898-1947


"Woman standing under a tree"
Henry Ryland 1856-1924













domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2014

John Ruskin: Special Gallery of Watercolors



John Ruskin (1819-1900)

John Ruskin was born in London in 1819, the only son of a successful Scottish sherry merchant. His father encouraged him to take up painting and poetry; his mother hoped that he might be a minister. He was educated at home and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was profoundly influenced by the evolutionary sciences of the day, especially geology. At the same time, Ruskin started to write about art and architecture, and began a lifelong advocacy of the work of Turner. As a result, he became an inspiration to a generation of younger artists, most notably the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

At the age of 29 Ruskin married Effie Gray but the marriage was never consummated and ended disastrously six years later. Effie became romantically attached to the painter Millais, whom she subsequently married. Ruskin buried himself in work, in particular a lengthy study of the city of Venice, producing a remarkable three-volume study of the architecture of the city.

At the heart of the Stones of Venice he contrasted medieval craftsmanship with modern manufacturing – something hugely influential on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. It marked the maturing of Ruskin’s interest in social justice and the beginning of his attempts to influence the shape of society.

In his forties Ruskin fell deeply in love with Rose la Touche. Rose died aged 29 and Ruskin carried his feelings for her with him for the rest of his life. With the death of his father, Ruskin added wealth to influence. He became Slade Professor of Art at Oxford, an educational philanthropist and an increasingly radical voice in Victorian society. In 1878, at the age of 59, he suffered the first of several breakdowns that eventually stopped him working. Ruskin died in 1900 at the age of 81, leaving behind him collected writings that stretch to 39 volumes, thousands of drawings and watercolours, and a legacy of influence that is felt to this day.

Ruskin was an artist of great sensitivity who, nonetheless, chose never to exhibit his work professionally. Instead, he painted and drew in order to study the world around him and to communicate his discoveries. Many of his architectural and natural history studies were engraved or otherwise reproduced in his books, some were scaled-up for use in his lectures.

GALLERY OF WATERCOLORS


Amalfi, 1841


Chamouni


Lucca, 1870


At Naples, 1841


Pisa, Campanile and Cloister of San Francesco, 1845


Rome, Piazza Santa Maria del Pianto, 1840


Rouen Cathedral, Entrance to the South Transept


Venice, The Ducal Palace, 1835


Verona, The Tomb of Can Grande della Scala, 1852


Oxford, Christ Church


The Mountain Gloom, 1856


Study of Stone Pine at Sestri (I), 1845


The Aigiulle Blaitiere, 1856


Selfportrait