Some Literary Facts in Honour of World Book Night

23 04 2013

A toast to World Book Night And Day and this blog from the land of Geoffrey Fermin and Malcolm Lowry. Salud!!! It’s alittle early but what the hell Geoffrey won’t mind I’m sure.

Interesting Literature

Today, 23 April, is World Book Night (sometimes known, confusingly, as World Book Day). It is also the birthday (according to convention; nobody knows for sure) of William Shakespeare, and also the date on which he died, in 1616. On different calendars, Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote) and William Wordsworth also died on this day, in 1616 and 1850 respectively. In honour of this literary event, we thought we’d compile 23 literary facts about the world of books, poetry, plays, novels, and other bookish delights for you to revel in and share today. We hope you enjoy them!


The first detective novel in English is often said to be The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868). However, The Notting Hill Mystery (which, sadly, doesn’t feature Hugh Grant in Victorian gaiters going around on a killing spree) got there first, in 1862-3. The author of this – the bona fide

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Why I LOVE Edward Hopper

17 04 2013


“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life of the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world…”

His works are full of the lonely, the isolated, the waiting, and the working. No terrorists for him and nothing political in any of his paintings. He was an introvert who painted what he saw or imagined scenes to make his point. Much of the time the point of his art had to do with how isolating he saw life could be.


I’ve spent some time thinking about why Gottgried Helnwein took Hopper’s work and changed it. Here’s my spin on it. He felt that Hopper had so captured America in that painting that he changed the figures to be the icons of pop culture in the 40’s and 50’s – Bogart, Monroe, Presley and Dean. Pop culture is probably America’s greatest contribution to art. All of those icons have a touch of the isolated, the desperate, the yearning, the rebel.


Many art critics have commented on Hopper capturing the spirit of America in his work. Here’s what he saw and imagined.


The spirit of America? Up to the middle of the century I thought it was God Bless America, baseball, football, Iwo Jima, winning WWII for God and Churchill, Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day and the 4th of July. Well Hopper had a different take on the America he saw in the 1st half of the 20th century. Not such a happy-go-lucky bunch.
Before we get too carried away on a wave of pessimism remember who the man was. He was married to the same woman for 40 years and used her for a model in his work. Painted her as a sexy attractive woman. Worked in the same studio in New York for a long time. Not the radically different characters we like our great artists to be. Think Picasso, Pollack and Van Gogh. Hopper was an introvert. His quote at the beginning tells us that. Those paintings prove it. My conclusion is that we the audience and the art world have gotten carried away with our analysis. Hopper is not an American artist. He’s much bigger than that. He’s a world artist and what he shows us is the human condition. Those faces in those scenes show it. This is his message – we are alone in our skins.
According to the US government currently the US is under attack from “terrorists” . Every horrible act that takes place in public is immediately labeled “terrorist.” I agree that the Boston Marathon bombs were acts of terror but can’t Mister Obama wait a little before he uses the word “terrorist” to label the perpetrators? Has an Orwellian ring to it. It isolates us even more. I don’t know about you but calling someone a terrorist does me no good.
I apologize for the state of the world digression but I hope Hopper’s spirit doesn’t mind. Here’s some of his work that make me feel good. Being alone doesn’t make me unhappy and being with someone else doesn’t either. I think the guy was pretty damn cool.

Attitude is what matters. VIVE ART, VIVE LOVE, VIVE HOPPER!!!


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