Category Archives: women

Trap

for sound track click at the end of the post
Thank you to Interesting Literature, for bringing this across my desk.

“If he had not been consumed by ambition and convinced that one day some newly-discovered rubbish heap would reward him, the disappointments he had suffered, let alone the fatigue and derision, would have made him give up the pursuit.”

Virginia Woolf’s “Solid Objects”

As a former literary scholar, as a person who questions the worth and meaning of the responsibilities of every day life, and as a person who collects and struggles with a clutter of odd things I find valuable,  I am grateful to think about this story.  My solid objects are china, truly interesting (to me) rocks, and art supplies or now-useless items with ‘potential’ for found art. Without that collecting and cluttering, might I give up the pursuit, not just of my collecting but of bothering with life at all?

It’s a somewhat middle class / first world problem, though. To a hammer everything looks like a nail, so I assume Virginia Woolf must have struggled in a similar, though probably harsher, ‘trap.’ She seems to have been too sheltered and just barely financially secure enough that she had no need to fight for life, but too smothered by gender and class norms and too unskilled to really break out into an independent life.

Writing and mental illness were the arenas where she fought her good fight. There was no resolution. There was only cessation.
I certainly question the worth of my aesthetic, my beliefs, my collections, my efforts, efforts I make and efforts I shirk. I wonder if she did as well. The lion’s share of my sense of meaning in my life comes from creative work- but the lion’s share and more of my time and energy are spent in the repetitive acts of living.  I am sifting my solid objects and my life every day, trying to discern whether and in which areas to bother. How very 2019. 
Some early Trap Music and a reference

 

Leave a comment

Filed under African, American, art, British, Music, quotable, reviews, social currents, Southern, trap, United Kingdom, virginia woolf, women

Must read all of these

This is the hell of the bookseller.

Today I have cataloged and placed for sale:

The Innocent, Ian McEwan– the end of the Cold War, Electronic surveillance, Berlin, British-American technology collaboration, a young British post office technician and the clash of the private and political

Defend the Valley a Shenandoah Family in the Civil War, Margaretta Barton Colt- extensive primary source documentation of the Civil War experience of the Barton and Jones family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Secrets of the Jews, Stuart E. Rosenberg – policies and persecution toward Jews throughout history – theological discussion of how they survived

The Changing of the Guard President Clinton and the Security of Taiwan – “Considering the difficult issues President Clinton must weigh, Lasater provides a timely analysis of Taiwan’s security in the 1990’s within the broader context of Sino-American relations.”

Murder by the Book: Short fiction includes stories by Dorothy L Sayers and James Thurber, two enduring favorites of mine

How will I read them all? Ah, the Humanity!

 

Music for a dreary Wine Country Morning

Leave a comment

Filed under American, Appalachiana, Civil War, Cold War, electronic surveillance, History, Judaica, social currents, the book business, women

Today’s book: Kaethe Kollwitz 72 Reproductions 1951

When this volume came to the surface of my pile of ‘to lists’ I was caught by the cultural, historical and personal context of Kollwitz’s haunting work.

From propaganda posters to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, in the first half of the 20th Century the connection between Western art and the cultural and personal history and reality for westerners and those dominated / colonized by the west was stronger than we have seen since.   Worldwide events from the late years of Queen Victoria’s reign through World War II  cast a long shadow. Artists like Kaethe Kollwitz created works that were not just artistically significant. They also documented the experiences of people in the country she loved- poverty, starvation, protest against war, the eyes of widows, children, those who suffered and occasional glimpses of love and happiness- women chatting, mothers with children.

This book contains 72 reproductions of Kollwitz’s drawings, etchings, woodcuts and lithographs. It is quite a study, the first in English. Between the front endpapers I found a catalog dated 1948 from a show at Gallerie St Etienne in New York. The world must still have been reeling from the devastation of World War II.  Carl Zigrosser’s introduction highlights the personal and historical context that gave rise to these spare stark works which say so much so clearly.

Kaethe Kollwitz 72 Reproductions 1951 $55 plus shipping

Kaethe Kollwitz 72 Reproductions 1951 $55 plus shipping

Book condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket condition: Good

Darkened with age but tight and clean. Two small stains in blank front end papers; former owner’s name stamped on front of dj and on front end paper. Dust jacket has one significant chip and several small rips/edgewear.

2 Comments

November 8, 2013 · 7:23 pm