Of Time, Messages in French from Belarus and Posts in English.

April 13, 2007

So first off, because I check this blog “often”, I perpetually have it in mind that today’s date corresponds with whatever date is at the top of the latest entry. And so, ever since Wednesday, I have been dating everything – checks and notebooks mainly – April 11th. This obviously wouldn’t raise an eyebrow on Wednesday but when someone asks what the date is and I adamantly defend that today the 13th is in fact the 11th, well then, that’s a sign. That’s sign that posting daily is more than just sharing a thought. It keeps me/the-other-people-who-don’t-know-what-today-is in step with time and thus contributes to tidying up the disorder of the universe.

Other randomness:
I received a cryptic message from Last.fm in a language whose alphabet I was unfamiliar with. The mystery unravelled itself quite soon, revealing that a cute young Andre from Belarus contacted me (supposedly cute young resident of the United States) in French, asking to share music. Apparently one of my favorite metrosexual French singers, Raphael, has a Russian homologue, “the Russian Raphael”. So I would like to get in touch with this Andre, but have a terrible confession to make (actually two): (1) I buy a lot of music on i-tunes and my raphael album just might be one of those impulse buys and (2) I don’t know how to share music files. (cringe cringe cringe)

От: atrokhov
Дата:Апр 13 2007, 11:21
Salut! Je m’appele Andre, j’habite en Bielorussie. Est-ce que tu paeut m’aider? je cherche l’album de Raphael “La realite” et Hotel…”, tu les as? J’adore les chansons de lui. Comme langue etranger j’apprends le francais. En ehange je suis pret t’envoyer les fichiers de russian Raphael, il s’appele Ilya Lagutenco. Merci, Andre. [his email goes here]

There was more in Belarusian or Russian (I can’t tell), but I think it technical. And you know how I dread anything technical that requires a manual. (Don’t tell R.T.F.M. Ranko;-)

And lastly, something really good happened to me the other day. I received a compliment from my TF for “revealing the core anxiety” of the novel Brideshead Revisited in my post. In general I am pretty good at revealing core anxieties, but given my inferiority complex with the English language, that was really encouraging. Have you read the book? I would assume “yes”, but if not, put it at the top of your extended reading list. Then we can watch the 9-part series together and teehee at a homoerotic Jeremy Irons.

So here tis:

Re: Charles and Artistry – with more on sensations

I agree with Tiffany that Sebastian seems to have influence over Charles’ artistry: “It was not until Sebastian, idly turning the page of Clive Bell’s Art, and read “Does anyone feel the same kind of emotion for a butterfly or a flower that he feels for a cathedral or a picture?” Yes I do’, that my eyes were opened.” (23) Apparently, Clive Bell is a proponent of art as aesthetics, not representation or imitation. Were Charles’ eyes opened then to seeing beauty for beauty’s sake and the emotion therein? Or to what Oxford (and life) “had to offer” ? (23) It seems that, ultimately, Sebastian has awakened Charles to the idea of “sensation”. But Charles retains a desire to know more about objects and things beyond their appearances. For example, Sebastian chastises Charles for caring about the dates when architectural features in his mansion were built and not simply being arrested by (and at) its “prettiness”. Charles seems to go beyond Sebastian’s teachings in wanting to know things more intimately. As such, this newfound appreciation of “sensations” seems to be intimately linked to a sense of reality. Upon reentering his room after his first encounter with Sebastian, Charles finds it altered: “Nothing except the golden daffodils seemed real. Was it the screen? I turned it to face the wall. That was better.” (28) The Omega screen – a representation – no longer suits Charles’ newfound aesthetics under Sebastian’s influence. It is later sold off. (53) The nature of the Omega screen illuminates our understanding of what Charles is rejecting. Of the painter, Roger Fry, an art gallery website writes: “In 1913, Roger Fry organized the Omega Workshops, a collective that encouraged the involvement of young artists in the design and decoration of everyday functional objects. It remained active until 1919. The radical innovations in artmaking were known to Fry but his own painting focused on ideas of unity – “the design” of image, composition and colour, rather than what he described as “sensation” or the notion of “visual invention” for its own sake. Fry’s paintings are true to nature and visions of the everyday, and favoured the landscape as subject…” Thus it appears that Sebastian’s encounter with Charles has enhanced the latter’s ability to grasp “sensations” or reject merely representational forms of art. Furthermore, seeing as literary references are already featured on the page (namely Tiresias, from Oedipus Rex, I assume), it is not a far stretch, I think to believe that Charles, here, is referring to Wordsworth’s poem, The Daffodils. The “host of golden daffodils” are “jocund company” that bring solace and happiness to the lonely, wandering poet. And remembering them fills his heart “with pleasure”. Which daffodils “seem real”: the ones in the room, the ones that are being written about, the feelings evoked in the poem? The latter would lead us to believe that Bridehead Revisited is going to be one happy sensational memory. Instead, the “jocund company” the poet had found himself in turns out to be drunk and miserable. Upon departing on bad terms with Lady Marchmain, Charles initially thinks he is leaving behind an “illusion”, and entering “a world of three-dimension”, accessed by his “five senses”. (154) Now, at the time of writing, he has realized that there is “no such world” (154). What is the nature of this illusion? And how does a three-dimensional world perceived by the five senses not exist? And what does that tell us about sensations, reality, and the ultimate goal of revisiting Brideshead (which is in and of itself an inescapable representation?)? Tangentially, what are we to make of Charles’ unfinished paintings in the garden-room?

Moral of the story: you inspire me to keep time, write better, think more, and read manuals (kind of).


One Response to “Of Time, Messages in French from Belarus and Posts in English.”

  1. Musie said

    I like it 🙂 Rather interesting themes you bring up. I haven’t read the book in simply yonks, so am putting it back atop my big ol’ list of summer reading, which I’ll put up here at some point, probably in stages as things occur to me. I would, however, be very much up for indulging my massive crush on Jeremy Irons. Who I always get vaguely confused with Daniel Day-Lewis in my head. Ah well.

    ok. working now.

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