Archive for 15/12/2016

Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012)

Posted: 15/12/2016 by vequinox in Literature

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«Τι κάνεις εκεί παιδάκι μου;» ρωτούσε τον μικρό Όσκαρ η μαμά του, όταν εκείνος ζωγράφιζε φανταστικά κτίρια στον αέρα με το δάχτυλό του. Ο μικρός Όσκαρ μεγάλωσε κι έγινε αρχιτέκτονας — και μάλιστα εμβληματική προσωπικότητα του μοντερνισμού στην αρχιτεκτονική. Ο Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, για συντομία Oscar Niemeyer, γεννήθηκε στις 15 Δεκεμβρίου του 1907 και έφυγε από τη ζωή πλήρης ημερών στις 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2012, λίγο πριν κλείσει τα 105 χρόνια του. Εξακολουθούσε να πηγαίνει στη γραφείο του στο Ρίο, απέναντι από την Κοπακαμπάνα, και να εργάζεται· σε όποιον τον ρωτούσε την ηλικία του, έλεγε πως είναι εξήντα ετών, παρ’ όλο που είχαν ήδη περάσει σχεδόν εξήντα χρόνια από το 1956, όταν του ανατέθηκε να σχεδιάσει τα μνημειώδη κτίρια της φουτουριστικής πρωτεύουσας Brasilia, που τον έκαναν γνωστό σε όλον τον κόσμο.

«Ο αρχιτέκτονας οφείλει να σκέφτεται ότι ο κόσμος πρέπει να γίνει ένα καλύτερο μέρος, ότι μπορούμε…

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What Noble Savage?

Posted: 15/12/2016 by vequinox in Literature

The Champagne Epicurean

 

I am as free as Nature first made man,

Ere the base laws of servitude began,

When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

            John Dryden, The Conquest of Granada

I forecast that in a civilization growing more and more tired of itself, a civilization turning more to insularity, to Trumpism and xenophobia – a backlash is coming. A backlash that will seek to reject democracy. Not in the way totalitarians deny democracy. No, it will have the scent of the spiritual, mystical. People, young people I suspect, will put aside democracy, damning it as the flawed process that has given us Trump, Brexit and might yet give us a revival of fascism in Europe.

These mostly young people will come to disagree with Churchill (there are, of course, many reasons to disagree with Churchill on many an issue) that democracy is the lesser of the evils. They…

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Interesting Literature

A critical reading of a classic Christmas poem

‘Journey of the Magi’ by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was the first of a series of poems written by the poet for his employer, the publisher Faber and Faber, composed for special booklets or greetings cards which were issued in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Eliot wrote ‘Journey of the Magi’ in 1927, on a single day, one Sunday after church. You can read the poem here. Below we offer some notes towards an analysis of this difficult and elusive poem, with particular focus on its meaning and imagery.

‘Journey of the Magi’ is told from the perspective of one of the Magi (commonly known as the ‘Three Wise Men’, though the Bible makes no mention of their number or gender) visiting the infant Christ. The poem examines the implications that the advent of Christ had for the other religions…

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