Once upon a time with Charles Perrault

Once upon a time with Charles Perrault

Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française and he laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.

Portrait (detail)of Charles Perrault by Philippe Lallemand, 1672

In 1695, when he was 67, Perrault lost his position as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children. In 1697 he published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, subtitled Tales of Mother Goose . This “Mother Goose” has never been identified as a person, but used to refer to popular and rural storytelling traditions in proverbial phrases of the time.  These tales, based on French popular tradition, were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Its publication made him suddenly very widely known and he is often credited as the founder of the modern fairy tale genre. 

Frontispiece of the only known copy of the first English edition, 1729 (Houghton Library)

Some of his popular stories, particularly Cinderella  and The Sleeping Beauty, are still commonly told similar to the way Perrault had written them, while others have been revised over the years. For example, some versions of Sleeping Beauty published today are based partially on a Brothers Grimm tale, Little Briar Rose, a modified version of the Perrault story, but the Disney version is quite true to the original Perrault tale.

Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". She lost her slipper as she ran from the castle...

Sleeping Beauty is shown a spindle by the old woman.

 Little Red Riding Hood

Perrault had written Little Red Riding Hood as a warning to readers about men preying on young girls walking through the forest. He concludes his fairy tale with a moral, cautioning women and young girls about the dangers of trusting men. He states, “Watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves/ Are the most dangerous of all”. Perrault warns the readers about the manipulation and false appearances some men portray: “I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!”  Indeed, the girl gets into bed with the wolf and is devoured. There is no happy ending as in most current versions of the story.

Modern uses

Little Red Riding Hood is one of the central characters in the Broadway musical Into the Woods (1987) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”), their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

Enjoy

In a white lace universe

In a white lace universe

In a white lace universe, three inventors create machine which are both pretty and useful. Unfortunately people do not understand them…
“ Les Trois Inventeurs” (“The Three Inventors”) is a beautiful 1980 papercut animation film about a family of inventors that build amazing machines but are misunderstood by others. It’s the story of an encounter between the soaring joy of creativity and the destructive nature of fear.
The film was directed and animated by Michel Ocelot  a French writer,designer,storyboard artist and director of animated films.
His œuvre is characterised by having worked in a variety of animation techniques, typically employing a different medium for each new project, but almost exclusively within the genres of fairy tales and fairy tale fantasy. Some, are loose adaptations of existing folk tales, others are original stories constructed from the “building blocks” of such tales. He describes the process as “I play with balls that innumerable jugglers have already used for countless centuries. These balls, passed down from hand to hand, are not new. But today I’m the one doing the juggling.
I’m copying a paragraph from his bio ( website ) that i like a lot:
“My inspiration comes from my own life, from things I like and dislike —just like everybody else. One way to embark on a new story is to read some of that universal treasure-trove, traditional fairy tales. Whatever the story, whether inspired by an old legend or invented by me, I give it the form of a fairy-tale. This is the language that comes naturally to me. It enables me to do two things: to create something pleasing, beautiful, while at the same time passing on a clear message, without being hampered and weighed down by the obstacles of realism.”
Enjoy the film

Dorothea Lange ,the story behind her photograph “Migrant Mother”

Dorothea Lange ,the story behind her photograph “Migrant Mother”

Working for the Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration, Lange’s images brought the plight of the poor and forgotten—particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers—to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, Lange’s poignant images became icons of the era.

One of Lange’s most recognized works is Migrant Mother . The woman in the photograph is Florence Owens Thompson. In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:

“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

Lange took seven photos that day, in the course of ten minutes. The last being the famous Migrant Mother . These are the six other photos:

The images were made using a Graflex camera. The original negatives are 4×5″ film. It is not possible to determine on the basis of the negative numbers (which were assigned later at the Resettlement Administration) the order in which the photographs were taken. Extended captions and supplementary textual files relating to this series in the FSA Written Records have not been found.

After Lange returned home, she told the editor of a San Francisco newspaper about conditions at the camp and provided him with two of her photographs. The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included the images. In response, the government rushed aid to the camp to prevent starvation. 

The woman in the famous Migrant Mother after many years, 1979

  • Florence Thompson (seated) with three of her daughters, (from L. to R.) Katherine, Ruby, and Norma, in 1979—43 years after Migrant Mother

 

Willy Ronis, the story behind his photograph, Nu provençal (Provençal nude)

Willy Ronis, the story behind his photograph, Nu provençal (Provençal nude)

Ronis’ wife, the Communist militant painter Marie-Anne Lansiaux (1910–91),  was the subject of his well-known 1949 photograph, Nu provençal (Provençal nude). The photograph, taken in a house that Marie-Anne and he had just bought in Gordes ,  showed Marie-Anne washing at a basin with a water pitcher on the floor and an open window through which the viewer can see a garden, this is noted for its ability to convey an easy feeling of Provençal life.

Ronis remembered:

“We had a little stone cottage at Gordes. It was a hot summer, and I was repairing the attic. I needed a trowel, so I came down and there was Marie-Anne standing naked on the stone flags, washing herself from the tin basin. ‘Don’t move,’ I said and, my hands full of plaster, I grabbed my Rolleiflex and took four shots. It was the second shot which I chose.

It took two minutes in all. Miracles exist, I experienced it. I have never been so anxious as when I developed that film. I felt that, if the image was good, technically and aesthetically, it would be a major moment in my life, a prosaic moment of extraordinary poetry.”

* Willy Ronis’ contact sheet of his image “Le Nu Provencal” 

The photograph was a “huge success”;  Ronis would comment, “The destiny of this image, published constantly around the world, still astonishes me.” 

Later in her life, he photographed Marie-Anne suffering from Alzheimer’s disease , sitting alone in a park surrounded by autumn trees.

source

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Ronis

https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/willy-ronis-le-nu-provencal/

The other side of Vladimir Nabokov

The other side of Vladimir Nabokov

 Nabokov‘s butterflies

In 1967, Nabokov commented: “The pleasures and rewards of literary inspiration are nothing beside the rapture of discovering a new organ under the microscope or an undescribed species on a mountainside in Iran or Peru. It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all.

” From the age of seven, everything I felt a connection with a rectangle of framed sunlight was dominated by a single passion. If my first glance of the morning was for the sun, my first thought was for the butterflies it would engender.

[…] I have hunted butterflies in various climes and disguises: as a pretty boy in knickerbockers and sailor cap; as a lanky cosmopolitan expatriate in flannel bags and beret; as a fat hatless old man in shorts”.

Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

  •  Nabokov as a boy with a butterfly book, 1907 – Nabokov Museum 

It all began over a hundred years ago in the estate of Vyra outside St. Petersburg, where the six-year old Volodya Nabokov caught his first butterfly. He remembered that day just as well as another, eight years later, when he wrote his first poem.

For a St. Petersburg boy who spent every summer in the countryside, butterfly-hunting was nothing out of the ordinary, but for Vladimir this pastime rapidly developed into an absorbing interest. At the age of eight he began reading serious books on entomology from the family library and at nine he already attempted to make his first scientific discovery, writing about it to the leading Russian lepidopterist, Nikolay Kuznetsov.  Kuznetsov’s reply disappointed the young naturalist: it turned out that the insect in question had already been described. But the passionate desire to make his mark in science remained with Nabokov throughout his life, and was finally satisfied in America in 1941, when he at last managed to describe an unknown subspecies.

 

Nabokov’s drawings

  

The drawings of butterflies done by Vladimir Nabokov were intended for “family use.” He made these on title pages of various editions of his works as a gift to his wife and son and sometimes to other relatives. In Brian Boyd’s words, “in these highly personal and affectionately playful drawings the scientific accuracy Nabokov needed in thousands of illustrations of the specimens he studied under the microscope was no longer relevant, and his imagination could take flight. In the butterflies Nabokov devised and labeled for Vera he mingles fact and fancy even more sportively than in his fiction.”

None of these drawings portray real butterflies, both the images and the names he assigns to them are his invention. The names often have some connection to the book that the butterflies adorn and, in most cases,  play on words in English and Russian is used: “Paradisia radugaleta”, “Verinia verae”, to name just a few.

  

source: http://nabokov.museums.spbu.ru/En/index.htm?rubr=home

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Nabokov

 

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

No one reads Kerouac better than Kerouac..
“ The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
~Jack Kerouac, On the Road

 

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