Saturday, November 28, 2009

Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt

July, 2001

Massive and superior, of course, but still not exactly what I was looking for. I want the story, not a synopsis of its economic causes and psychic effects. Still, what a fund of knowledge he had. There is also this quote from a man once "well-known," one Luigi Cornaro:

" cheerful, amusing, and contented I am ... in my eighty-third year I have written a most amusing comedy."

What stands out above all is Burckhardt's contention that individuality marks the Renaissance type, while race-membership marked the medieval.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

To School Through the Fields; Quench the Lamp by Alice Taylor

July, 1999

Idyllic childhood on an Irish family farm; backbreaking work, plenty of fresh air, surprisingly sentimental care of farm animals. Yet, a depressing place for any adults, especially men, who happen not to want to be farmers. Lone bachelors living in their parents' homes, who simply die one summer. No fuss, no doctors.

Here the last vestiges of day to day medievalism die out in Ireland only in the 1950s. They are still taking their wheat to the mill while dancing to Nat King Cole. Beautiful and strange.