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Thoughts On And For A Structured Existence

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“Walking The Walk With Dante” On The Camino De Santiago In Spain

raymond-meeks-on-the-camino-de-santiago-nyt-magazine On the last page inside the back cover of the New York Times Magazine, in Part 6 of “The Voyages Issue“, photographer Raymond Meeks walked the 500-mile road in Northwest Spain that for 1200 years been one of the great spiritual quests.

Dante, in Canto XXV of the The Paradiso, stated:

“…in the narrow sense, none is called a pilgrim
save him who is journeying towards the sanctuary
of St. James, or is returning.”

The monks of Cluny built monasteries along the trail with the new “pilgrim funds” that flowed after the discovery of the tomb of St. James, apostle to Jesus Christ, was discovered in 814.

“The Poem of the Cid”, written in the mid 12th Century, was a true story of a Castilian hero El Cid during the Reconquista of Spain from the Moors.

It was a sight to see the lances
rise and fall that day;
The shivered shields and riven mail,
to see how thick they lay;
The pennons that went in snow-white
come out a gory red;
The horses running riderless,
the riders lying dead;
While Moors call on Mohammed,
and ‘St. James!’ the Christians cry,
And sixty score of Moors and more
in narrow compass lie.”

walking-the-walk-with-dante-on-the-camino-de-santiago

“To Read, Perchance To Write”: The Eloquent Life Of Editor And Avid Reader Robert Gottlieb

The New York Times “Books” section featured a review of the life and work of Robert Gottlieb, the accomplished editor and publisher for 60 years at Simon & Schuster, Knopf and The New Yorker. His memoir “Avid Reader” was published this month.

The message that resonates from this narrative of interaction with loyal best-selling authors and robert-gottlieb-new-yorkerwriters, is the inestimable value of focused reading and attention to detail in the world of literature.

Gottlieb thrived in the realm of eloquence, finding a “cognitive music” in the structuring of sentences, paragraphs and edited manuscripts.

In the book, he discusses editing Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22“:

“I wasn’t experienced enough back then to realize how
rare his total lack of defensiveness was, particularly
since there was never a doubt in his mind of how
extraordinary his book was, and that we were making
literary history. Even when at the last minute, shortly
before we went to press, I told him I had always disliked
an entire phantasmagorical chapter—for me, it was a
bravura piece of writing that broke the book’s tone—and
wanted to drop it, he agreed without a moment’s hesitation.”

robert-gottlieb-editor

The French Deflection: “Where Have You Gone Jean-Paul Sartre?”

France is currently experiencing a “crisis of identity”, where (the illusion of?) French Culture is increasingly less relevant in today’s distracted, anti-intellectual world. But the true origins of French malaise lie in a post World War II period first marked by liberation from Nazi occupation, then complicated by the Algerian War (1954-62).

Jean-Paul Sartre used the journal Les Temps Modernes (launched in 1945) as an instrument for the Existentialist “littérature engagée“:

“…an individual is responsible for making conscious decisions to commit socially useful acts.”

CV1_TNY_01_19_15Juan.inddSartre supported Algerian independence and the dismantling of French Imperialism, opposed the Vietnam War, and ultimately rejected Soviet Communism.

The terrorist assaults and the Charlie Hebdo shootings that have horrified the world in the past three years had as their precursor the French Government-sanctioned domestic attacks carried out by the paramilitary Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS) in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

Sartre himself survived bombings on his Paris apartment (shared with his mother) and the offices of Les Temps Modernes. The Algerian War saw the French government use torture against Algerian Nationalists and sympathizers, just a decade after being under Nazi domination.

The nightmares of past French extremism will continue sans Sartre’s dreamed for “Authenticity“.

Eloquent Lives: Hans Ulrich Obrist As Cultural “Junction Maker”

“The Exchange.” section of WSJ Magazine is a window into what is beautiful and culturally vibrant in the world. The life of Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries, maximizes spontaneity by living a purposeful structured existence:

“I believe in embracing chance in the process – serendipitous moments happen ever day” 

Three times a day he takes a 10-minute walk between the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, separated by Serpentine Lake in Kensington Gardens, one of eight Royal Parks in London.

Meetings with, among others, poets, painters, architects and Neurologists are “weaved” into exhibits, symposiums and interviews of the most important modern artists.

hans-ulrich-obrist-walks-to-serpentine-galleries-in-wsj-magazine-september-2016

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-day-in-the-life-of-hans-ulrich-obrist-1472485717

The September 2016 article in WSJ is a must read along with:

new-yorker-profile-of-hans-ulrich-obrist-dec-8-2014

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/08/art-conversation

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