Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fop 'til you drop!

The Amateur Historian devotes a not inconsiderable portion of her life trying to find absurd videos on youtube and has found, yet again, one of the more... bizarre contemporary interpretations of eighteenth century culture.

Gentle Readers, I present to you, Prince Poppycock:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Really Giving Her an Earful

Vincent van Gogh's missing ear is a subject of much amusement and bemusement. According to popular rumor, van Gogh cut off his ear in the city of Arles, in Provence, as a gift to a lady of negotiable affection who did not take an interest in him. The people of Arles- particularly the gendarmerie, the local police force- like to point out that the records show a different story.

the artist Gauguin was paying a visit to M. van Gogh, when the later became extremely violent, threatened to kill Gauguin and accidentally cut off his own ear. Gaughin left Arles, and M. van Gogh, in his drunken state, decided that the best thing to do was to wander outside, give his ear to the first prostitute he saw in a nearby brothel, then pass out in his own blood in his room.

It is little wonder why the people of Arles only really liked M. van Gogh once he left them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Today Alfred, Lord Tennyson is the butt of Dorothy Parker's wit:

Should Heaven send me any son,
I hope he's not like Tennyson.
I'd rather have him play a fiddle
Than rise and bow and speak an idyll.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dorthy Parker brings us some wisdom on Thomas Carlyle today:

Carlyle combined the lit'ry life
With throwing teacups at his wife,
Remarking, rather testily,
"Oh, stop your dodging, Mrs. C.!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In the spirit of Geroge Sand yesterday, let us turn to two of her contemporaries, Alexandre Dumas and His Son:

Although I work, and seldom cease,
At Dumas pere and Dumas fils,
Alas, I cannot make me care
For Dumas fils and Dumas pere.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day, Gentle Readers! In honor of this holiday, the Amateur Historian would like to provide you all with Dorothy Parker's thoughts on a famous French citizen, George Sand:

What time the gifted lady took
Away from paper, pen, and book,
She spent in amorous dalliance
(They do those things so well in France).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dorothy Parker on D. G. Rossetti:

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Buried all of his libretti,
Thought the matter over - then
Went and dug them up again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Today Dorothy Parker takes on Oscar Wilde:

If with the literate I am
Impelled to try an epigram,
I never seek to take the credit;
We all assume that Oscar said it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today, the Amateur Historian would like to kick off a week of poetry about poets from the 19th century, or, to be entirely truthful, Gentle Reader, the wonderful wit of Dorothy Parker in her A Pig's Eye View of Literature.

We begin with:

The Lives and Times of John Keats,
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and
George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron

Byron and Shelley and Keats
Were a trio of Lyrical treats.
The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls,
And Keats never was a descendant of earls,
And Byron walked out with a number of girls,
But it didn't impair the poetical feats
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley and Keats.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gerard de Nerval et son homard

The Amateur Historian is a huge fan of Gerard de Nerval, a Romantic poet who is much more famous in France than anywhere else, but seems to be renowned the world over for his unusual taste in pets. And, Gentle Readers, by "unusual" the Amateur Historian means "a lobster", and by "lobster" she refers to "Thibault", a pet lobster de Nerval often walked on the end of a blue ribbon.

When in Pere Lachaise yesterday, the Amateur Historian took the opportunity to place a plastic lobster on a ribbon leash (unfortunately a green one) on de Nerval's grave. While there, the Amateur Historian saw a tour guide get very excited over de Nerval's new plastic friend:

For the non-French speakers, the tour guide is giving a brief summary of de Nerval's life and explaining that de Nerval is famous for walking with a lobster on the end of a leash. He then explains that he has lost his glasses and needs a member of the group to read the quote the Amateur Historian left with the lobster:
"Why would a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog, or a cat, or a gazelle or a lion, or any other animal one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters, they are tranquil, serious creatures who know the secrets of the deep and don't bark....."

At the end, he mentioned that the lobster was an unusual event and took a photo of it.