January 29th is not a particularly notable day in "German culture," at least not for my purposes. I could mention the births of Johann Georg Graevius (1632–1703), a scholar and critic, and Ernst Kummer (1810–1893), a minor mathematician, the former dying shortly before the period of my research, the latter being born shortly after that period ended. Hrm, I did just mention them.
Graevius is the Latinized version of the man's name; he was also known as J.G. Greffe—Latinizing was all the rage, doncha know?
The major, Baroque-era cultural development in (northernish) Germany in the 17th century is that during and due to the 30-years-war (1618–1648 [Peace of Westphalia]) a vast number of (Protestant) young German men went to the Netherlands to study and, well, escape the slaughter. They studied math, religion, law, you name it, and some remained, while others, like my favorite, Gryphius, returned, becoming teachers, politicians, reformers, etc.
A former colleague of mine, Dutch by birth, gave a paper a couple years ago on the Dutch influence on the German Baroque (notable because standard notions associate "The Baroque" with Catholicism, which is furthermore problematic in northern Germany, but I digress), but I'm sure I can't reproduce the details. One often associates this period, especially later in the 17th century, with absolutist courts and such, but it's also worth noting that while the 30-years-war obliterated what had been a developing German middle class, a relative tolerant, middle class milieu is exactly what folks like Gryphius and Graevius, for example, were experiencing, and it's what influenced them, along with the horrors of war.
The strongest yearnings yet for a "standard" German language emerged from the likes of Martin Opitz, a mediocre poet, it is true, but a language reform leader.As for a few other January 29th births there's Elisabeth Büchsel (1867–1957), a painter, and Heinrich Blücher (1899–1970), an intellectual, author, and teacher, and the husband of Hannah Arendt. Among the deaths there's Fichte (died 1814) and the poet Ernst Moritz Arndt (die 1860). I like to think of Fichte as a 19th-century Dawkins, except, well, not a biologist and, well, a philosophical idealist. So not like Dawkins at all, except often annoying. Whereas writes a good deal on atheism, Fichte just got himself in a dangerous (for his career) atheism debate and controversy.
Comic of the Day: Irong Man, Vol. 4, No. 25. The "Mandarin" story continues to be drawn out, but seems to have reached a climax of sorts, a point of no-turning-back.
Music of the Day: I'm continuing with Johnny Cash; I just finished Disc 2 of "Unearthed" (2003, 5-disc set). On Disc 2 you'll find a couple duet-ish recordings with Fiona Apple and Nick Cave, for example.
Movies ...: Today I watched La notte and L'eclisse; last night I took in L'avventura. I'd planned on an Antonioni marathon, but couldn't manage it Monday after work. The DVDs were due back by 7p.m. tonight, which explains why I viewed the two today. I'm not sure I'd want to rank them at the moment (relative to each other), but I can say that while the print of La notte was fine, it's a shame it was the Fox-Lorber edition, whereas there are Criterion releases of the other two (double-disc, extras, commentary tracks, etc.).
Over the weekend I watched Breathless, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Catherine Deneuve's breakthrough ... though it's not quite a vampire movie with David Bowie, but that's okay), and then the Criterion release of Chris Marker's La Jetée and Sans Soleil. I couldn't approach the former free of my knowledge of 12 Monkeys, but it retains enough charms of its own to make it worthwhile; the latter was a fascinating rhapsody and, like La Jetée, dense with montage in a somewhat Eisensteinian fashion.
This afternoon I left to take them all back after finishing L'eclisse around 4p.m., and what I noticed when I looked from my window before leaving was that all was white. When I did step outside I had to take care not to slip on the stairs, and mine were the first and only footprints in the snow along the sidewalk, for yesterday was so warm that the sidewalks had cleared entirely, as had the streets. A coughing and farting smoker stood at the bus stop. I shook off my coat. Traffic had been reduced to a cautious crawl, the buses were running late, and a professor of mine had sent a last-minute email to cancel a colloquium due to the dangerous driving conditions. When I got to 4-Star I stopped of my DVDs and looked around for replacements—the $0.99 foreign rental sale is still going on—and I contemplated The Host and a few others, but I realized or remembered that I don't really have time for movies right now (which didn't stop me this last weekend, I know I know), so I just left and wandered to the coffee shop, which was pleasantly full, which is to say not packed but full enough that the chatter was a standing wave.
The other day Phage commented, "before Christmas you linked to a poem by a dead german poet about sex and love. I've lost my link. If you could re-post that would be great." I promised to take care of it "in the near future," which for me can often mean a few months later. The last GPotD was October 31, 2007, and is the most 'explicit.' I'll post links to a number of GPotD entries from that timeframe:
- October 31: XXIV (Epilogue) of the Roman Elegies by Goethe, "Gourd-plant tendrils entwined my perishing trunk, and already / My poor member had cracked under the weight of the fruit"—the 3rd and 4th rather than first two lines of the poem
- October 30: XIII of the Roman Elegies by Goethe, "These few leaves are a poet's oblation, oh Graces: on your pure /Altar he lays them, and these rosebuds he offers as well"
- October 29: X of the Roman Elgies by Goethe, "When you were little, my darling, you tell me nobody liked you— / Even your mother, you say, scorned you, until as the years"
- October 28: II of the Roman Elegies by Goethe, "Speak to me, stones, oh say, you lofty palaces, tell me— /Streets, are you lost for a word? Genius, how idly you sleep!"
- October 27: I (Prolog) of the Roman Elegies by Goethe, "Here my garden is growing, the flowers of Eros I tend here; / They are the Muse's own choice, bedded out wisely they bloom."
- October 26: XIV of the Roman Elegies by Goethe, "'Darling, why didn't you come today to the vineyard to meet me? / I waited there by myself, just as I promised I would!'"
- October 25: 6., from the Venetian Epigrams by Goethe, here in its entirety—
"I'd say this gondola's just like a cradle, it rocks me so gently
And its cabin on top's like a big coffin. Indeed!
Thus from cradle to grave through our life we are rocking and floating
As on a Grand Canal, carefree betwixt and between."
- Alcohol: 29
- Ice Cream: 29
- Finishing a book: 1
- Finishing a comic: 0
- A snow storm: 0
- Finishing a sketch/doodle: 0
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