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…

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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…

Antonine Coullet : Poésies d’une Enfant

Antonine Coullet-Tessier (c.1903)

L’OCÉAN

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Le murmure des mers est plus triste la nuit.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

L’écrivaine française Antonine Coullet-Tessier est née à La Roche-sur-Yon le 10 janvier 1892. À 9 ans elle commença à écrire de petits poèmes. Des adultes fascinés par ce don — pourtant pas si exceptionnel à cet âge — décidèrent en 1902 de publier ses vers. Ainsi parut début 1903 (mais achevé d’imprimer le 17 novembre 1902) son recueil Poésies d’une Enfant, sous son nom patronymique Antonine Coullet, publié par Alphonse Lemerre à Paris. 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…

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…

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…