For Madmen Only

by Matthew Koslowski on November 4, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Steppenwolf: A Novel by Hermann Hesse (Basil Creighton, trans.)
The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats (Richard J. Finneran, ed.)
Don Juan in Hell: From Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw

Last night I finished rereading Steppenwolf. I had put it down for a while and flitted among the arts.

I know for certain I am in the middle of two other novels. But I think I may have forgotten that I am in the middle of any number of others.

The past few weeks have been filled with theatre and opera.

As if that were not enough, I have been reading from the poetry of Rumi, W.B. Yeats, and John Keats. In fact, I have been working on memorizing Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale.” I have the first stanza of ten lines memorized; only seventy lines left to commit to memory.

“Why are you spreading yourself so thin?” I asked myself earlier.

Read more..

Living through Literature

by Matthew Koslowski on October 7, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Don Juan DeMarco
Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Mozart’s Don Giovanni by Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

I first saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni while studying at an Italian language institute in Rome during the summer of 2004. That summer was my introduction to opera. I saw both Carmen and Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni stuck with me, however.

That first performance piqued my interest, both in opera and the Don Juan legend.

Since moving back to Massachusetts, though I am not sure what triggered it, I have become increasingly more interested in the Don Juan legend. I saw the opera again when the Boston Lyric Opera performed Don Giovanni last season. I purchased a recording of Mozart’s Don Giovanni by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and have listened to it almost to the exclusion of all else since I bought it. I have reread Molière’s Don Juan. I read Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell as well as Baudelaire’s. I reread most of the first Canto of Byron’s Don Juan, and despite my renewed interest found Byron’s poetry dry. Next I want to read Tirso de Molina’s El Burlador de Sevilla which is thought to be the first written version of the Don Juan legend.

While looking at the works of the Don Juan legend, I stumbled across Don Juan DeMarco. I was intrigued by the description on Wikipedia. I ordered it from the public library and watched it this weekend.

Read more..

Weekly Review: September 25th to October 1st

Today I’m launching a weekly link review, in which I’ll publish newspaper, magazine, and radio stories related to literature, education, psychology and neuroscience. Bear with me as I get the style down and while work out a few bugs, like how to link items in the table of contents to the full page so that you can jump right to any title that catches your fancy.

These Things Caught My Eye

Read more..