I note with amusement that traffic here has reduced to a trickle of readers. This makes sense. I have been very unreliable at putting stuff up here. Eileen and I chatted with Sarah yesterday and she told me she checks my web site regularly. That’s enough to motivate me to post more often. Plus now I have more free time since my church has canceled most activities including services.
I had a dream last night that I barely remember. It seemed to be a brilliant insight when I woke in the night. In the dream, somehow I and some others were given pieces of a sculpture as mementos. In my case I remember holding some fingers that seemed to have been broken off of it and given to me. In the dream and afterwards in my drowsy wakefulness, I remember that there was a strong contrast between the triviality of getting a souvenir and the importance of art.
Now more completely awake, I think about the number of times I have put forward what I think of as art, only to observe how trivial it is to so many. Inevitable, probably. It think this is probably not only true of music but of great books.
This leads me to embed this video again now that I have watched all of it.
I find Bloom inspiring. I’m still reading his chapter on Dante in his Western Canon which he mentions in the video above.
I like how he sees Dante. I think he is describing his own predilection when he uses the phrase “preferring poetry over doctrine.” He is using it in regard to understanding Dante’s fierce original vision. Theologians struggle with it more than people who “prefer poetry over doctrine.”
I have requested the two translations that Bloom prefers: one in terza rima by Laurence Binyon and one in prose by John D. Sinclair. Bloom quotes this marvelous statement from Sinclair’s prose translation: “You were not born to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.” Cool.
I have been thinking a lot lately about my relationship to music and literature. I think that I have spent my life loving music, poetry, novels, and beautiful prose. I’m not a musical virtuoso by any means, but I am definitely a lover of music and poetry and prose.
I picture Bach as having the talented amateur (lover) of music in mind when several times in dedications he says his pieces were “composed for music lovers, to refresh their spirit.”
This is kin to Bloom’s feelings about the joys of reading and thinking.
Both music and literature continue to refresh my spirit.