Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from June 2008

Allegorical figure of allegorical figure

June 28th, 2008 · Comments Off on Allegorical figure of allegorical figure

Allegorical figure by Bernini in clay

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Harvard’s art museums are just about to close for five long years, as the dignified public spaces where they have been housed get replaced by some modern architecture I’m sure I won’t like.

So even while racing around to unpack and repack, I did make time to revisit my favorite thing there, a more or less random collection of clay sketches Bernini made for his massively multiplayer baroque marble masterpieces.

If you get there before June 30, you can see them too.

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up an image of Minerva,
Bernini’s quick clay sketch of her has brought
Me more to meditate on than a casual observa might think I deserva.

Tags: Cambridge · Wide wonderful world

This blog is not dead…

June 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on This blog is not dead…

Great Tew churchyard

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

… though it has been slightly buried by packing, then travel, then jet lag, and now the unpacking.

It has been wonderful spending a springtime in England.

Roses, campanula, hardy geraniums, and the peaceful, sleepy cooing of pale-gray doves.

Wide meadows with elderflower and hawthorn tree borders, whose stiles Miss Elizabeth Bennet might have slipped through on her long walk through the fields to Mr. Bingley’s house.

Small village shops where Alice in Wonderland might have bought apples or candy.

And in London, I swear that I once saw Bertie Wooster coming out of a tailor’s shop, proud of but unnerved by his coat’s rather daring new color.

But now my own real life is starting up again, which is a good thing.

Tags: England · Travel · Wide wonderful world · writing

Tolkien’s table, Merton College

June 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Tolkien’s table, Merton College

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Is this the table where JRR Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings? Is it the setting he had in mind for Elrond’s conference where 4 hobbits, 2 men, and one each of wizard/elf/dwarf pledge their faith to a fellowship of the One Ring?

It may well be both of these, for it is a fine old stone table in the gardens of Merton College, one where (it is said) Tolkien would often sit outdoors writing on fine days like yesterday in the years after 1945, when he became Oxford’s Merton Professor of English language and literature.

Merton (founded in 1260 by Walter de Merton) has many lovely medieval spaces set among peaceful lawns and well-tended gardens. I would not be surprised in Tolkien’s vision of Lothlorien’s elegant retreat from a dangerous world owes something to his own experiences of life in this setting.

Tags: England · Heroes and funny folks · Wide wonderful world · writing