Monthly Archives: April 2020

glittery wild west

I have recently read an article about California Gold Rush from my subscribed British history magazine with particular interest as it was somehow relatable to my own experience of being a recent single pioneer woman from the East to the West with new prospects for the future. Although the article was informative in unpicking the social manifest and latent dysfunctions of Gold Rush, there were also new and innovative modes of business as spearheaded by adventurously daring individuals who paved the way to the prosperity of the Wild West in years to come. 

Wells, Fargo & Company, founded by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo, started and prospered the West’s all-purpose business, consisting of transportation, security, and communication agents, buying gold from prospectors and selling them paper bank drafts and delivering the valuables and mail guarded by a hired detective against outlaws. Pony Express, founded by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell, was the first express courier service in the U.S., delivering mail from California to New York in fifteen (15) days by dedicated excellent employees on horseback day and night until the transcontinental telegraph was established. And there’s the famed Levi Strauss, the founder of the iconic Strauss & Co., who made the first blue jeans for miners, cowboys, etc. 

California Gold Rush prompted a huge spike in the demand for changes in various sectors of the American society, which was an inevitable calling of the ethos, Manifest Destiny, and it also begot some of the most interesting and impressive enterprising spirits whose establishments are still among us and whose names are made into the history of the U.S. 

her epithet

 

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Nature paints her portrait in colors of contrarieties:

Quiet, Passionate, Ambitious, Acquiescent, Bold, Timid, Vivacious, Tenebrous, Temerarious, Solicitous, Pretty, Plain, Chaste, Covetous, Delicate, Wild, Conventional, Liberal, Fast in thoughts, Slow in words, Principled, Recalcitrant, Smart, Sophomoric, Young, Advanced, Equable, Volatile, Witty, Silly, Boring, Stimulating.

The colors changing, blending, creating in spades

Never dull her portrait of boundless varieties

Simulating and dissimulating in shades of her heart.

 

P.S.: I think to define a person’s character in black and white terms is unfair and erroneous in most of the times when you don’t know the person well enough to draw a picture of him or her. And I think it is from this immature understanding of a person that all kinds of personal conflict, ranging from racism to war, arise. 

‘The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë’, by Syrie James- review

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte BrontëThe Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who would have thought that the woman with a calm and dainty exterior wrapped in an air of impeccable propriety was inwardly a passionate Dido, a willing Ariadne, and a beguiling Cleopatra?  Such a popularly conceived false shadow – by default of nature against her will – might have conveniently belied Truth and Nature of her substances to the eyes of the public, but her labors of love in the form of literary works bear the witness to the person of the Author. She is no less a person than Charlotte Bronte herself who created one of the most unforgettably iconic romantic characters of Jane Eyre, and who tells to readers of the millennium the stories of her own life in this beautiful and truthful The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James.

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte is neither nonfiction nor fiction eulogizing the greatness of the literary Titaness in the English literature. In fact, it is this mysterious ambit of the genre that gives to the book the status fused with the whimsicality of cross-over nonfiction in the likeness of fiction that reads like an enchanting novel. Drawn on the original diaries, miscellany, and poems written by Charlotte Bronte in frequent collaboration with her equally gifted sisters Emily and Anne, James does a superb job of weaving a tale of her admired literary muse as an admiring votary into one fascinating tribute narrated by Bronte herself as though to render her poetic justice on the truth and beauty of her person which had been largely unrecognized, if not ignored, in the discourse of the tale. In fact, reading this book, you will find yourself reading a posthumously published work of Charlotte Bronte with the style of writing, the tone of the narrative, and the sequence of the story, all of which superbly resurrect the atmospheric ambiance of the 19th Century English province. In this magical craft of writing, you will see Charlotte in the humble personage write in an expense of will and emotions, pages after pages filling them with heartfelt words, producing beautiful melodies of her heart and the soul.

The beauty of this book collapses three centuries, five oceans and seven continents between Charlotte’s lifetime and our reading it, making us intimately acquainted with one of the most celebrated writers in the world. James is excellent in portraying Charlotte Bronte based on the extensive research on the original manuscripts and visitation to the places where she had trodden and lived as authentically as possible, with her immense admiration for the author delicately nuanced in the narrative, thus rendering the story the power of reality and authenticity of truth in the likeness of contemporary memoirs. That said, I am certain that Charlotte Bronte would have given the book the imprimatur willingly and wholeheartedly had she read it for review. And I also believe that her spirit would also love this book and bring it to the world beyond in all and mirth and merriment.

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on Shakespeare’s Birthday

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Brilliant as the star that danced

And sparkled in the Milky Way,

The Wit that Nature crowned

The Bard with a Laurel of Poetry

Adorned him with Great Glory.

 

P.S.: Today is Shakespeare’s birthday, and I feel somehow responsible for writing about it to commemorate it as a continuing Student of Art and Dabbler of Wordcraft. What I love about the Bard is that he wasn’t classically educated and that he was something of an autodidactic artist whose natural light of wit and way with words made him all the more attractive and approachable. The image of a gigantic literary figure that we usually associate with Will is a Victorian invention of the grandiose grandeur of English literature undefiled. If Geoffrey Chaucer prioritized the English language, Shakespeare popularized it. Hence my eternal Kudo to the Brilliant Bard. 

Why Magic was popular and why it dwindled – review

Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century EnglandReligion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England by Keith Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mankind in the face of contemporary existential strains of life has often attributed its frailties to the development of certain religious beliefs, leading to the shaping of the anima mundi of the time it possesses. Such a symbolic interactionist perspective on history is perspicaciously excised in Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas that shows us how collective splinters of folklore could influence the Modus Operandi of established religion.

The pith of folklore is a reputed natural human tendency in dealing with daily life amid double jeopardy of whimsical nature and more capricious mankind that results in finding pain relief in the form of supernatural elements. Keith illustrates the social and cultural climates of 16th and 17th century England where the efficacy of magic was reputed to overwhelm the consolation of the Gospel in the recourse to the powerful being that could supposedly give the supplicants the immediate panacea to their existential malaise. This popular attitude toward the magical measure of putative healing betokens the reason why there was no active mass active involvement in radical social reform or political radicalism; it was their way of mitigating the rigor of their daily duties that life imposed. The concept of chance was a welcome method of diverting the rules of merit and reward in prosperous life that only a select few would and could achieve to the game of luck played by goddess Fortuna’s Wheel of Fortune. By trusting the work of pure luck, people would not jeopardize their self-esteem because fortune was beyond their measures no matter how hard they worked hard to obtain it.

How the folk belief in magic influenced the established Christianity, particularly Catholicism, is the sine qua non of mesmerism of popular psychology and its portent efficacy of evangelization with a promise of magical healing. The church incorporated the magical elements of pagan belief to its rituals and doctrines of the catechism, such as transubstantiation and holy relics by reconciling the esoteric pagan knowledge with the orthodox Christian teaching. The investment of supernatural power through religious ceremony propitiated the minds of the low and high alike non-discriminately via syncretism until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the English Reformation that necessitated the emerging of new natural science and mechanical philosophy and the accordant mode of thinking ultimately debilitating the supreme power of magic and the magical elements used in the church.

Keith is excellent in disabusing readers what might seem to be a trifle and pettifogging subject to advanced minds with his wealth of knowledge on the subject and human psychology narrated in plain language so that readers of all strata can access the secret garden of knowledge that he kindly invites us to visit and wallow ourselves in. This is my second time reading his work, and I am always amazed by his depth of erudition fabulously conflated with his witty remarks on events and vivacious descriptions of the period, all gleaned from his extensive research on the subject and keen scholarly observations thereon. This book is not a book of magical incantations, but about the power of the populace that made magic popular and unpopular as the seasons of mankind required new kind of belief system synonymous with the ethos of contemporary life.

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