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February 07, 2018


So true. Ossian's dog. Thank you for pointing that out. I read your post right just after reading this:

"These are pregnant times throughout the world. Just as in geology we have breaking lines between huge blocks of earth, so today we are at the juncture between great blocks of time. This is the place of storm and volcano - and of becoming. In today's reality, a small act can have far-reaching consequences, beyond imagination, whereas things that will be done five or ten years from today will be so much less effective. This is precisely the meaning of pregnant times: Anything can be born. And this is exactly the time when one must not sleep."
- Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Gorgeous photos Beth - I wouldn't mind a waistcoat like that embroidered one! Napoleon was certainly an odd and contoversial figure. My father used to be quite fascinated by him and the famous Napoleon film by Abel Gance was produced by an uncle of ours, Jacques Grinieff, in Paris. There's an interviw of mon Papa about this in Kevin Brownlow's book 'Napoleon' re the making of the film and Brownlow's restoration of it. Did you ever see the film?

Brownlow's restoration of the Gance movie lasts 5½ hours. Rather than watch it at last year's Borderlines film festival (The ticket covered two meal breaks with meals - the second afternoon tea, that oh-so-prissy occasion. I never thought Hereford was genteel enough) we bought the DVD. It is a masterpiece, absolutely no doubt. Strange how total immersion quickly dispenses with the need for sound.

I note you experienced a mixture of emotions including disgust. I would have thought Paris (which you obviously must have visited) would have left you wrung out with ambiguity. The statues and the street names alone show that Napoleon in France is remembered with warmth and pride - that Moscow, Trafalgar and Waterloo are mere glitches along the road to La Gloire. Perhaps still their favourite son.

Yep, that's true Robbie. My father remembered that in his Russian childhood, he would imagine himself as "L'Aiglon" which is how Napoleon was referred to in the books he read.

I meant to add, Robbie, that indeed the Gance Napoleon is a masterpiece. I'm glad you got the DVD rather than sit through the marathon-with-tea-break. Did you (Beth too) ever see Abel Gances Joan of Arc? Among my uncle Jacques Grinieff's cherished souvenirs was a photo of Gance inscribed to him : "Le seul qui m'a compris".

Natalie/Beth: I had no idea that Joan of Arc was available. I simply wonder what state it is in. Brownlow's restoration of Napoleon involves much more than tidying up the print; he commissioned a composer to provide musical background - an adaptation of the Eroica symphony.

I find Gance's inscription of the photo mildly pathetic. Though had it been addressed to me I dare say I would have cherished the thought.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.