Tom and Jerry (Simon and Garfunkel): Hey Schoolgirl (1957)

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) and Arthur Ira Garfunkel (born November 5, 1941) are known for their folk rock duo, with best-selling hits such as “The Sound of Silence” (1964), “Mrs. Robinson” (1968), “The Boxer” (1969), and “Bridge over Troubled Water” (1970). Their musical collaboration dates from high school, at age 15, but at that time they were practising rather traditional rock and roll. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

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Mark Twain on the sexual superiority of women and girls

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Dorothy Quick aboard the Minnetonka (July 1907) – from historicaltimes.tumblr.com

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (b. November 30, 1835; d. April 21, 1910), the American writer and humorist better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was a free mind who evolved towards radicalism as he aged, opposing slavery and American imperialism, promoting civil rights and hailing labour unions. Although he was raised as a Presbyterian, he became distrustful of dogma and established religion. He did not publish in his lifetime his most controversial works about religion, and some of them were withheld from publication after his death, because his family disapproved them, notably: the novel The Mysterious Stranger published in 1916, the short story Little Bessie first published in 1972, and the collection of essays Letters From The Earth, written around 1909 and published only in 1962. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Samuel Ullman: Youth

Dick Whittington – Churchill and Meglin Kiddie’s, Southern California (1927) – from historyinphotos.blogspot.fr

The American businessman, poet and humanitarian Samuel Ullman was born in 1840 in Germany, in a Jewish family which emigrated to the USA in 1851. After a brief service in the Confederate Army, he married, started a business, served as a city alderman, and was a member of the local board of education. He also became president and then lay rabbi in a Jewish congregation. After retirement, he found more time for writing letters, essays and poetry. He died in 1924.

He is famous for his poem “Youth,” which he wrote at the age of 78. This poem is better known in Japan than in the USA, because General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in Japan, hung a framed copy of it on the wall of his office in Tokyo and often quoted from it in his speeches. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: The First Reformer

Janet Weight Reed – magical hummingbird – from jcrhumming.wordpress.com (reduced)

The fourth part of Lava Lane, and Other Poems (1925), titled Saints and Reformers, contains six poems. Three of them explicitly mock religion. “Sunday Morning” tells of God’s activities at that moment, such as “Counting the Yiddish babies” or “Waving the popcorn scepter,” and finally “God, on a Sunday morning, / Reaching the dotage stage.” In “The Making of a Saint,” a woman dies in a garret, so “The lords of the rafters were sorry— / The spider, the moth, and the mouse,” and they manage to obtain some advantages for themselves and their garret by making her a saint. In “The Edict,” an editor advises a saint on how to write his story, so that it will be widely read. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane at twelve

Nathalia Crane (c.1925) – from Wikimedia Commons

In 1925, Nathalia Crane published her second volume of poetry, Lava Lane, and Other Poems, just one year after her first one, The Janitor’s boy, and Other Poems. In it she airs her sophistication, mastering poetical language, as well as scientific and technical vocabulary from several disciplines, such as botany, geology and even embryology (using the word “blastoderm” about a boy she seems to despise); she also refers to various religions and to characters from Greek mythology. Furthermore, she shows her understanding of human relations, including in some of their intimate aspects. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: Jealousy

Chinese schoolchildren give a demonstration of their military skills in Hanking, where lessons include pre-military exercises using wooden weapons. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images, 1st April 1974)

In this humorous little piece, Nathalia imagines organizing a brigade of little girls in charge of watching their fathers and preventing their seduction by beautiful young women. Here Flatbush is a neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York City. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane, love and poetry at nine

Nathalia Crane (1924) – from The Janitor’s Boy, and Other Poems, via Wikimedia Commons

I will present here another girl poet who, like her contemporaries Hilda Conkling and Sabine Sicaud and the next generation’s Minou Drouet, started writing poetry at a very young age. But unlike Hilda Conkling and Minou Drouet, she did not give up poetry in her teenage years, and unlike Sabine Sicaud who died from a horrible disease at age 15, she lived for 85 years, writing poetry and novels, also working as a professor of English at San Diego State University. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Edgar Allan Poe: The Village Street

Vincent van Gogh – Girl in White in the Woods (1882) – from WikiArt.org

This poem is attributed to Poe, however it does not appear in the list given by The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, so a doubt remains about its authorship.

It tells about an encounter with a maid, raising the bright hope of love, followed quicky by disappointment. It is organized in twelve stanzas of six verses each, the last six stanzas echo in a negative way the first six ones: CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…