Nathalia Crane: The Birthday

Mac Harshberger – illustration for “The Birthday” in The Singing Crow (1926)

A birthday wish from a 13-year-old girl to one reaching age 7. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

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The wretched little girl in De Quincey’s Confessions

Frank Holl – Faces in the Fire (1867) – The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

The English writer Thomas Penson De Quincey (b. August 15, 1785; d. December 8, 1859) knew fame with his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, published anonymously in two parts in the September and October 1821 issues of the London Magazine, then released in book form in 1822. In 1845, De Quincey published Suspiria de Profundis, advertised as being a sequel to the Confessions. Then in 1856 he revised his Confessions, which became much longer. Since then, the two are usually published together, their complete titles being Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Being an Extract from the Life of a Scholar, and Suspiria de Profundis: Being a Sequel to the “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.” CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Aleister Crowley: Asmodel

Sulamith Wülfing – Flower (1931) – from Pigtails in Paint

This is a beautiful and strange poem about a loved girl who seems to come from an outer world, maybe from dreams, or from a star, a spiritual bride descending on the bed of the desiring poet, and their mystical union mixes extasy with agony. Both erotic and esoteric, full of hidden meanings, these verses are difficult to interpret. The 1905 edition of the poem states that the title means: One of the “Intelligences” of the Planet Venus. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: The Advisers

Jagubal – girl with lorito, San Martin, Peru (2009) – from flickr, 22 January 2010

In the poem “The First Reformer” from Lava Lane, and Other Poems, Nathalia Crane told of a hummingbird who by his sweet words, kisses and caresses, persuades flowers not to be ashamed of their nudity. Now in the following poem from The Singing Crow and Other Poems, a young girl is taunted by an older girl “of the narrow shin” for openly indulging in the pleasures of love. But she finds a good advice from a philosopher parrot, a “painted Plato” who instructs her not to grieve because of the reproaches of narrow-minded people: “Love and the rites it sentries / Only the vexed condemn; / There are the lower branches— / There is the goblin stem.CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Nathalia Crane: Spooks

Mac Harshberger – illustration for “Spooks” in The Singing Crow (1926)

In 1926, at age 13, Nathalia Crane published her third collection of poetry, The Singing Crow and Other Poems. The title comes from a long poem about a crow that, after having its beak torn by an arrow, becomes a wonderful singer; she returns to that topic in the first poem of the collection’s epilogue, “A singer gone.” The book got some success, and she was then dubbed “The Brooklyn Bard” (see Jessica Amanda Salmonson, “Girl Writers: Nathalia Crane, Vivienne Dayrell, & Daisy Ashford,” The Weird Review). There are several very short poems, in particular “The Colors” is often quoted: CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

After 3 years

Dick Whittington – Dancing pupils, Southern California (1926) – from historyinphotos.blogspot.fr

Today marks the third anniversary of Agapeta. The blog attracts an ever increasing number of visitors, views, comments and likes. It becomes cited in many blogs or bulletin boards. It also attracts trolls who become more openly hateful, either religious bigots, or of the homophobic, racist and antisemitic type, sometimes threatening me with violence or claiming to “report” me for horrible crimes that I am supposed to have committed, or finally the funniest trolls, crazy paranoid people obsessed with conspiracies hidden behind “satanic” metal music (in particular the band NecroPedoSadoMaso). CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Aleister Crowley: Ode to Sappho

William-Adolphe Bouguereau – Câlinerie (1890) – from Wikimedia Commons

Crowley’s collection Oracles, subtitled The Biography of an Art, consists of unpublished poems dating from 1886 to 1903. Two of them seem to extol womanly love, and the first one is devoted to the famous ancient Greek poetess from the island of Lesbos, who is reputed to have loved young girls. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

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…

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…