Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower: a Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914. xiv.

We have been misled by people of the time [1890-1914] themselves who, in looking back across the gulf of the War, see the earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can offer the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914. A phenomenon of such extended malignance as the Great War does not come out of a Golden Age.

 

George Herbert + Ralph Vaughan Williams + the Order of Preachers = ?

George Herbert + Ralph Vaughan Williams + the Order of Preachers = this!

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife,
Such a life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a light as shows a feast,
Such a feast as mends in length,
Such a strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a joy as none can move,
Such a love as none can part,
Such a heart as joys in love.

from Herbert’s “The Call,” published in The Temple. Set by Vaughan Williams in 1911.

via Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P.

Best version yet!

One of my favorite songs of all times — Pink Martini, Una notte a Napoli. An Italian friend told me a few years ago that China Forbes’ Italian was perfect, but without accent. He didn’t mean that as a compliment, exactly — for something like this I think he expected more Napoletano.

Argh! I am finding it hard to embed videos. Go here!

And for the story of the band – here you go. Please ignore the politics, which are totally self-indulgent. They raise money for affordable housing…and bicycles! And they sing in foreign languages! If I remember, Mr. Lauderdale and Ms. Philips met at Harvard, after all.

Yikes – almost missed my Audible download deadline!

It’s the 21st and I’ve got to find something to listen to!

I have recently listened to My Name is Red. I bought the book in 2003 in Rome and read it there. I picked it up and flipped around in it once since then. It’s LONG and very, very good. The next time I teach Islamic Art and Architecture I may have the students read the chapter “I am a Tree.” It ends with something along the lines of:

I am not a tree. I aspire to be the idea of a tree.

This week I’ve been in a snowless-winter funk and listening to The Great Influenza (John Barry). Talk about depressing! And anyone who thinks that America is sliding into Fascism needs to read about Woodrow Wilson, PhD. THAT man was a mess.

This is my deadline day – so I downloaded another Philip Kerr novel. Bernie Gunther is one of the better (historical) detectives of the early 21st Century.