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Articles taggés avec: Loren Kantor

Virginia Woolf, by Loren Kantor

Ecrit par Loren Kantor , le Samedi, 15 Octobre 2016. , dans Chroniques régulières, La Une CED, Les Chroniques

 

Virginia Woolf was born into a life of privilege and high-society connections. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, founded the Dictionary of National Biography. Her mother, Julia Stephen, was a model who posed for pre-Raphaelite painters and early photographers. Her great aunt was Julia Margaret Cameron, a noted photographer.

Woolf’s childhood was influenced by Victorian literary society. Visitors to her home included Henry James, William Thackeray and her Godfather, James Russell Lowell. Woolf had two brothers, a sister and multiple step siblings. Her parents taught her at home while her brothers were sent away to be formally educated. Woolf later came to resent this.

Woolf determined at an early age to become a writer. Her most vivid memories were of summer holidays in St. Ives in Cornwall. These experiences later informed her novel To The Lighthouse.

In 1891, Woolf’s mentally disturbed half-sister Laura was institutionalized. Four years later, when Woolf was 13, her mother died of rheumatic fever. Woolf said the loss was « the greatest disaster that could happen ». The family fell into deep mourning and Woolf had the first of many mental breakdowns. Her father’s grief was intense and all-consuming forcing Woolf’s half-sister Stella to care for the family. Stella died of peritonitis in 1897.

Mark Twain, by Loren Kantor

Ecrit par Loren Kantor , le Jeudi, 01 Septembre 2016. , dans Chroniques régulières, La Une CED, Les Chroniques

 

Ernest Hemingway wrote « All modern literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn ». Yet less than a year after it was published in 1884, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned by several American libraries for obscene language and moral degeneracy. In Concord, Massachussetts, the librarian said the book « is not suitable for trash ». Twain responded « This will sell us sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure ! »

To many Twain scholars, Huck Finn exposed the hypocrisy of slavery in a democratic republic while humanizing the slave Jim. Twain’s critics claim Huck Finn depicts Jim as a minstrel stereotype prone to superstitious and ignorant beliefs. In 1957, the NAACP accused Huck Finn of containing « racial slurs » and « belittling racial designations ».

In 2009 a Washington state high school teacher called for the removal of Huck Finn from the school’s curriculum.

Ernest Hemingway, by Loren Kantor

Ecrit par Loren Kantor , le Vendredi, 03 Juin 2016. , dans Chroniques régulières, La Une CED, Les Chroniques

 

« Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated », The Old Man and the Sea

In 1954, Ernest Hemingway took his fourth wife Mary Welsh to Africa. He chartered a sightseeing plane to show her the Belgian Congo and the glorious Murchison Falls. While flying low over the trees, the plane struck a utility pole and crash landed in heavy brush. Hemingway suffered a concussion. His wife broke two ribs.

That night they camped in the bush waiting for a response to their distress call. A passing plane saw the crash and reported no survivors. Word spread around the world that Hemingway was dead. The next day, Hemingway and his wife were found and picked up by a bush pilot. Amazingly, the second plane caught fire and exploded during takeoff. Hemingway slammed his upper body and head against the exit door to escape. He suffered serious burns and a concussion severe enough to cause leaking cerebral fluid.

Jack Kerouac, by Loren Kantor

Ecrit par Loren Kantor , le Vendredi, 06 Mai 2016. , dans Chroniques régulières, La Une CED, Les Chroniques

 

Jean-Louis « Jack » Kerouac was a novelist and poet who became the face of the Beat Generation. Born in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac began writing at age 12. He carried journals everywhere, scribbling personal notes, poems and thoughts.

In high school, Kerouac was a star football player earning him a scholarship to Columbia University. During freshman year, he broke his leg playing football. He quit the team and dropped out of school. He enlisted in the navy but served only 8 days before being diagnosed with a « schizoid personality » which led to an honorable discharge.

Kerouac returned to New York and moved in with an old girlfriend, Edie Parker. He worked odd jobs as a short order cook, railroad brakeman and construction worker. During this period, Kerouac met Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs and other odd characters who became synonymous with the Beat Generation (Kerouac coined the term « beat » to describe a person with little money and few prospects.)

Charles Bukowski, by Loren Kantor

Ecrit par Loren Kantor , le Vendredi, 01 Avril 2016. , dans Chroniques régulières, La Une CED, Les Chroniques

 

When I was a college student, I had the habit of checking my friends bookcases to see what they were reading. I’d see books by Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and Herman Hesse. Looking on a lower shelf, tucked away in a corner perhaps, I’d often see multiple well-worn titles by Charles Bukowski. The message was clear : high-brow reading is necessary but Bukowski is pure fun.

Charles Bukowski was a poet of the profane, or, as Time called him « laureate of the lowlife ». A student of the gritty streets, he wrote about the shadow side of America. Prostitutes, dingy bars, human cruelty, lonely trysts. He was a brutal drunk, a misogynist, a self-admitted louse. But he was also a prolific writer and at times a sensitive poet with a twisted sense of humor.

Born in Germany in 1920, Bukowski grew up in Los Angeles, son to an abusive alcoholic father. Bukowski began writing (and drinking) in his teens. He struggled for decades, toiling as an on-again/off-again postal worker until 1969. He was a private person who loved cats and valued his solitude. « I don’t hate people… I just feel better when they’re not around ».

Los Angeles was Bukowski’s milieu and creative muse. Many of his fabled haunts have long since been torn down but some locations remain intact and provide a unique view into the life of LA’s literary son.