Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where Gounod's opera Mireille is set

Gounod and Mistral – Mireille

The video below is Vincent’s aria in the second scene of the fifth and final act of Charles Gounod’s 1864 opera Mireille, written the year before his remarkable Faust, based on the first part of Goethe’s play. Mireille contains fascinating music. The libretto is based on Frédéric Mistral’s long lyric poem Mirèio. Mistral was the 1904…

Marcel Proust

Exhaustion and Intoxication

“… while pretending not to have heard anything, and preserving in her fine eyes, ringed with dark shadows by the habit of listening to Debussy more than they would have been by that of sniffing cocaine, the exhausted look induced by musical intoxication alone, would revolve nevertheless behind her splendid brow, bulging with all those…

Rembrandt, drawing at a window. Self-portrait, 1648.

Self-portraits

“Each new doubt makes us feel that the limit has been reached, that we cannot cope with it; then we manage to find room for it all the same, and once it is introduced into the fabric of our lives it enters into competition there with so many longings to believe, so many reasons to…

Proust: From The Guermantes Way – Chapter One

… our cruellest adversaries are not those who contradict and try to convince us, but those who magnify or invent reports which are liable to distress us, taking care not to give them any appearance of justification which might lessen our pain and perhaps give us some slight regard for an attitude which they make…

Proust: From Within A Budding Grove

How Proust augurs, perhaps with presentiment based on experience of the present, a modern Presidential figure who speaks no known language. I have kept my introductory sentence to no more than 140 characters. It is true that even within [the walls of the Grand Hotel at Balbec-Plage] there were people who did not pay very…

Douglas Penick – Dreamers and Their Shadows (2013)

I voted for the losing side, but then: “The world is not arranged for your benefit, you know. The world has continued this far and will continue without reference to you. You may wish to believe that your perceptions, feelings and all your responses are part of the world’s consciousness of itself. You may wish…