Shakespeare’s audience

Arthur F. Kinney writes that “Until very recently - and in some scholarly circles still today - it has been argued that the working class - the journeymen, apprentices, and men and women servants sometimes known as subalterns - had neither the money nor the liberty to attend plays. There is . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare’s bawdy

A couple of selections from Eric Partridge’s book on the bawdy in Shakespeare. “Flatulence was, in Shakespeare’s day, the source and the target of humour and wit among all classes: nowadays, its popularity as a subject is, in the main, confined to the lower and lower-middle . . . . Continue Reading »

Revolution and Papal Supremacy

Michael Burleigh details the decimation of the bishoprics and clergy in Franch during the Revolution. This had the unintended consequence of raising the profile of the Pope: Without local or regional authorities to look to, the remaining French clergy looked all the way to Rome: “Ineluctably, . . . . Continue Reading »

Sacred music

Levine again: The German pianist Hans von Bulow toured the US in 1876. At one location, he was preceded by Emma Thursby who sant Schubert and Schumann, and then a popular song by Franz Abt: “Von Bulow’s ‘rage knew no bound’ at this ‘desecration’ of a program . . . . Continue Reading »

Barnum’s opera

Levine: “In 1853 Putnam’s Magazine had proposed that P. T. Barnum . . . be named the manager of New York’s Opera. ‘He understands what our public wants, and how to gratify that want. He has no foreign antecedents. He is not bullied by the remembrance that they manage so in . . . . Continue Reading »

Popular opera

In his Highbrow/Lowbrow , Lawrence Levine writes that “it is hard to exaggerate the ubiquity of operatic music in nineteenth-century America. In 1861 a band played music from Rigoletto to accompany the inauguration of President Lincoln. In the midst of the Civil War a soldier in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Musical and Poetic Rhythms

Victor Zuckerkandl points out that Western music since the 17th century has been measured music, that is, music in which beats are organized into groups, into measures. This innovation in musical organization creates a complex rhythmic situation. At one level, there is a recognizable beat running . . . . Continue Reading »

Art and Necessity

Some quite random highlights from Milbank’s very rich essay review of Rowan Williams’s Art and Necessity , published in Modern Theology . 1) Milbank makes a numerb of illuminating points about Aquinas’s theory of knowledge, supporting some aspects of Maritain’s Thomism. . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon outline

This overlaps considerably with previous posts. INTRODUCTION According to John’s description, the world is formed by various “lusts” or desires, and by “pride” and “boasting.” We can respond faithfully to the world only when we discern the desires that . . . . Continue Reading »

Pride of life

Augustine describes “pride of life” in part as follows: “The temptation is to wish to be feared or loved by people for no reason other than the joy derived from such power, which is no joy at all. It is a wretched life, and vanity is repulsive . . . . When we try to amass such . . . . Continue Reading »