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Tuesday October 21, 2014

In antiquity and now with natural colorants,

Dyeing (as opposed to painting) in black, on the other hand, long remained an extremely difficult exercise ...

... some dyers resorted to oak apple, a very expensive colorant material, extracted from a small spherical growth found on the leaves of certain oaks. Various insects lay their eggs on these leaves; after the eggs are laid, the sap of the tree exudes a material that gradually surrounds the larva and encloses it in a kind of shell; that is the oak gall, or oak apple. They had to be collected before summer, when the larva had not yet hatched, and then dried slowly. Thus they were rich in tannins and possessed remarkable colorant qualities in the black range. But their high price limited their use.

Black—The History Of A Color, Michel Pastoureau 2008.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
10/2/2014 8:47 pm

... we see colors not in their original state but as time has made them. This work of time—whether due to the chemical evolution of the colorant materials or to the actions of humans, who over the course of the centuries paint and repaint, modify, clean, varnish, or remove this or that layer of color set down by preceding generations—is in itself a historical document. That is why I am always suspicious of laboratories, now with very elaborate technical means and sometimes very flashy advertising, that offer to "restore" colors, or worse to return them to their original state. Inherent here is a scientific positivism that seems to me at once vain, dangerous, and at odds with the task of the historian. The work of time is an integral part of our research. Why renounce it, erase it, destroy it? The historical reality is not only what it was in its original state, but also what time has made of it. Let us not forget that and let us not restore rashly.

Black—The History Of A Color, Michel Pastoureau 2008, (my emphasis below).


The work of time is an integral part of our research. Why renounce it, erase it, destroy it? The historical reality is not only what it was in its original state, but also what time has made of it.

I think the 'restoration' of paintings is not that at all; it is simply the repainting, or more exactly, the over-painting by another person at a later date. I prefer seeing "the work of time" or the decrepitude of aging that adds a realness to the painting.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
10/1/2014 7:59 pm

Moreover, quantities and proportions are always quite inexact: "take a good portion of madder and put it in a certain amount of water; add a bit of vinegar and a lot of tartar." The same imprecision applies to the length of time one should boil, decoct, or soak the cloth, which is rarely indicated or else highly implausible. A text from the late thirteenth century, for example, explains that to produce green paint, copper shavings should be soaked in vinegar for either three days or nine months. As is often the case in the Middle Ages, the ritual is more important than the result, and numbers are more symbols than actual quantities. For medieval culture, three days or nine months represented more or less the same thing in that both expressed a period of waiting and (re)generation—Christ's resurrection occurred on the third day, a child arrives after nine months. It is typical of medieval thinking to superimpose such symbolically significant periods on other spheres of life and activity.

Blue—The History Of A Color, Michel Pastoureau 2000.

But I like the thirteenth century way of proportions and time; they're very similar to the directions for cooking in Larousse Gastronomique, 1938. One doesn't follow the recipe blindly, one creates as one goes—it doesn't always work—and that's what makes it so special when it does.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/30/2014 4:38 pm

These reflections made me discover a stronger and more accurate sense of the truth of which I had often had a presentiment, notably when Mme. de Cambremer was surprised that I could abandon a remarkable man like Elstir for the sake of Albertine.

Even from the intellectual point of view I felt she was wrong but I did not know that what she was misunderstanding were the lessons through which one makes one's apprenticeship as a man of letters.

The objective value of the arts has little say in the matter; what it is necessary to extract and bring to light are our sentiments, our passions, which are the sentiments and passions of all men.

A woman we need makes us suffer, forces from us a series of sentiments, deeper and more vital than a superior type of man who interests us.

It remains to be seen, according to the plane on which we live, whether we shall discover that the pain the infidelity of a woman has caused us is a trifle when compared with the truths thereby revealed to us, truths that the woman delighted at having made us suffer would hardly have grasped.

In any case, such infidelities are not rare.

A writer need have no fear of undertaking a long labour.

Let the intellect get to work; in the course of it there will be more than enough sorrows to enable him to finish it.

Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible.

Le Temps Retrouvé, Marcel Proust (posthumous); translated by Stephen Hudson  as Time Regained in 1931, (my emphasis).

I realized, as Proust does, that suffering has a much longer duration than love, but I wonder about "unhappiness", does suffering make love possible?

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/18/2014 7:57 pm

Yet I was so accustomed, ever since I first made their acquaintance, to consider his wife an unusual person with a thorough knowledge of Schopenhauer who had access to an intellectual _milieu_ closed to her vulgar husband, that I was at first surprised when Saint-Loup remarked: "His wife is an idiot, you can have her; but he's an excellent fellow, gifted and extremely agreeable," By the idiocy of the wife, no doubt Saint-Loup meant her mad longing to get into the best society which that society severely condemned and, by the qualities of the husband, those his niece implied when she called him the best of the family. Anyhow, he did not bother himself about duchesses but that sort of intelligence is as far removed from the kind that characterises thinkers as is the intelligence the public respects because it has enabled a rich man "to make his pile." 

But the words of Saint-Loup did not displease me since they recalled that pretentiousness is closely allied to stupidity and that simplicity has a subtle but agreeable flavor.

Time Regained Marcel Proust 1927 (posthumous) translated by Stephen Hudson 1931 on Gutenberg, (my emphasis).

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/10/2014 8:06 pm

And the most disagreeable part of all this was once again his vanity, for he was flattered at being loved by Gilberte and, without daring to say that it was Charlie whom he loved, gave, nevertheless, of the love which the violinist was supposed to feel for him, details which he, the Saint-Loup from whom Charlie every day demanded more and more money, knew to be wildly exaggerated if not invented from start to finish.

Time Regained Marcel Proust 1927 (posthumous) translated by Mayor, Kilmartin and Enright, 1992.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/8/2014 3:54 pm


I die, Horatio;

The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:

I cannot live to hear the news from England;

But I do prophesy the election lights

On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;

So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,

Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

O, O, O, O. (dies)

Hamlet William Shakespeare 1601 (5.2.350)

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/7/2014 8:49 am
Labels: Hamlet, Shakespeare

I bought some of your amazing Lamb Sausage at Union Square this past Saturday and have to say it was awesome !!!!!! Even the next day in my lunch bag. You are doing some really great things and I just wanted to thank you !!!! 

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
9/2/2014 6:22 pm
Labels: Thank You

Hecate by Stéphane Mallarmé, 1880

Hecate was said to favor offerings of garlic, which was closely associated with her cult.

Plants of Life, Plants of Death, Frederick J. Simoons, University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, p. 143.

In art and in literature Hecate is constantly accompanied by a dog. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. 

The Lupercalia Alberta Mildred Franklin, Columbia University, 1921, p. 67.

See Lupercalia.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/22/2014 5:01 am
Labels: Hecate

ACT III. SCENE V. A Heath. Thunder.

Enter the three Witches, meeting Hecate.

FIRST WITCH. Why, how now, Hecate? You look angerly.

HECATE. Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
Saucy and overbold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death,
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never call'd to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?
And, which is worse, all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son,
Spiteful and wrathful, who, as others do,
Loves for his own ends, not for you.
But make amends now. Get you gone,
And at the pit of Acheron
Meet me i' the morning. Thither he
Will come to know his destiny.
Your vessels and your spells provide,
Your charms and everything beside.
I am for the air; this night I'll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end.
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I'll catch it ere it come to ground.
And that distill'd by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion.
He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear
His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear.
And you all know security
Is mortals' chiefest enemy.

"Music and a song within,
Come away, come away."

Hark! I am call'd; my little spirit, see,
Sits in a foggy cloud and stays for me.


FIRST WITCH. Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.


Macbeth William Shakespeare, 1606


Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, and one can view her as the ruler of the Three Witches. In Act 3, Scene 5, Hecate appears before the Witches and demands to know why she has been excluded from their meetings with Macbeth. 

She tells them Macbeth will be back to know his destiny and she proclaims that he will see apparitions that will, "by the strength of their illusion" lead him to conclude that he is safe. She plays an important role in the play because of the lines she utters at the end of the scene: "And you all know, security/Is mortals' chiefest enemy." She reveals in these lines that Macbeth's belief that he is untouchable will ultimately result in his downfall.

For a detailed examination of Hecate and the theory that she is not Shakespeare's creation, please see the Macbeth Glossary (1.1).

From Shakespeare Online

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/21/2014 8:57 pm

"Frank O’Hara’s 'Lunch Poems' Turn 50" At 61st & 5th I always think of Frank O'Hara & 'Music', the first of his 'Lunch Poems'.


If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

Frank O’Hara

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/20/2014 6:20 am

Dream Song 29

There sat down, once, a thing on Henry’s heart
só heavy, if he had a hundred years
& more, & weeping, sleepless, in all them time
Henry could not make good.
Starts again always in Henry’s ears
the little cough somewhere, an odour, a chime.

And there is another thing he has in mind
like a grave Sienese face a thousand years
would fail to blur the still profiled reproach of. Ghastly,
with open eyes, he attends, blind.
All the bells say: too late. This is not for tears;

But never did Henry, as he thought he did,
end anyone and hacks her body up
and hide the pieces, where they may be found.
He knows: he went over everyone, & nobody’s missing.
Often he reckons, in the dawn, them up.
Nobody is ever missing.


John Berryman was born in 1914 and classically trained in formal poetry at Columbia and Cambridge Universities. His early work includes a cycle of love sonnets called Sonnets for Chris and the collection Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, which marked his turn towards more innovative and experimental forms.

The publication of 77 Dream Songs in 1964 marked the beginning of the major project of Berryman’s career, ultimately culminating in nearly four hundred of his astonishing near-sonnets. Many of the poems are narrated by Henry, Berryman’s alterego, who speaks as if from a dream world, among uninterpretable, but strangely familiar dream symbols and situations. Awarded a Pulitzer Prize, the poems of 77 Dream Songs are characterized by their unusual syntax, mix of high and low diction, and virtuosic language. Commonly anthologized dream songs include “Filling her compact & delicious body," “Henry sats, " “I’m scared a lonely," and “Henry’s Confession.” The book famously begins:

Huffy Henry hid the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,--a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked.

Sometimes grouped with the Confessional poets, along with Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, Berryman is separated from these writers by the startling world his characters inhabit, which obscures any sense of autobiography—Henry is at once Berryman, and not Berryman, and comparisons become, quickly, besides the point. Berryman once said, “Henry is accused of being me and I am accused of being Henry and I deny it and nobody believes me.”


Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/19/2014 8:35 pm

ACT I. SCENE I. A desert place. Thunder and lightning.

Enter three Witches.

FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain? 

SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won. 

THIRD WITCH. That will be ere the set of sun. 

FIRST WITCH. Where the place?  

SECOND WITCH. Upon the heath.  

THIRD WITCH. There to meet with Macbeth.

FIRST WITCH. I come, Graymalkin,  

SECOND WITCH. Paddock calls.

THIRD WITCH. Anon!    

ALL. Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air.



The three witches are quite important to Shakespeare and to Macbeth and to the theatergoer. They prophecise; we know what we believe; our mind has decided, our gods are firm and unchanging and we know what is so whether it is or not.

Macbeth's witches are his beliefs and our beliefs are our witches too; "Fair is foul, and foul is fair".

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/19/2014 4:24 pm
Labels: Macbeth, Shakespeare

Lady Macbeth is evil and she is purposeful and she is a delight.

She plans to have Macbeth kill king Duncan who spends a night in Macbeth's castle to celebrate his victory in the revolt against the king.

After the mayhem Macbeth will be the new king as the three hoary witches had prophesied; here is some of what dear Lady Macbeth wishes for in a soliloquy,

Come, you spirits
    That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here
    And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
    Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood ...

Come to my woman's breasts,
    And take my milk for gall, your murthering ministers ...

Come, thick night,
    And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell ... 

The Tragedy of Macbeth (1.5.41-53) 1606, William Shakespeare.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/14/2014 8:53 pm
Labels: Macbeth, Shakespeare

On the execution of the thane of Cawdor,

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it. _ Malcolm

The Tragedy of Macbeth (1.3.7-8) 1606, William Shakespeare.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
8/14/2014 4:53 pm
Labels: Macbeth, Shakespeare