You’ve probably deduced from my periodic postings of awesome and inspirational pictures that I love art.  Photography, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, instrumental, film, fashion…  If it’s art (and is pleasing to look at in purpose–no Red Square or bodily fluids, here, guys, or found art, DuChamp), then chances are I’m a fan.  I know that according to philosophers of art I’m suppose to acquiesce to the artist and believe it’s art if it was intended to be art, but I believe that for me to consider it art, I must like to watch/listen/experience it.  That’s what I believed as a kid and what I believe in now.

Anyway, these works of art may not be Botticelli-like in their beauty, but they make me smile.  They are clever and fun, and while writing a dissertation that’s all I’m looking for, really.  No hidden agenda or meaning.  Yes.  Simple works right now, folks.

I found these on imgfave, and you can view all twelve famous deconstructed fairy tales here.

Robin Hood

Works Cited: imgfave.com. Note: Not historically accurate, but way cuter!

The Frog Prince

Works Cited: imgfave.com. This reminds me of "Fractured Fairy Tales" from "Rocky and Bullwinkle." Not familiar with that? Get thee to YouTube!

Snow White

Works Cited: imgfave.com. I'm personally a fan of the deer and the mushroom. Do you think this one gave Snow White that dazed and confused expression?

This is a post for my friend, Hannah, an amazingly gifted artist.  I happen to have several pieces of her art (sketches, a photo, a painting), and her whimsical and beautiful works are some of my favorites.  See her art here (I own To Every Corner!) and her personal blog here.

This picture reminded me of her, so I’m posting it for easy viewing.  Hannah, cheers to you, the one who colored pictures in college at kindergarten day with crazy stripes and spots and who truly thinks outside the box.  xx

From deviantART's JellyVampire, "Like an Artist"

It’s a bit late to come out with my resolutions for the new year, but I’ve found that being back in Durham has encouraged me to make some.  I feel most myself when I’m with peers, and I’ve been able to see myself clearly in the past week or so.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2011.  Some are silly, some are serious, and some are things I need to put into writing to cement them in my life.

  • More color!  Whether it’s nail polish, lipstick, or a bit of teal eyeliner, I want to incorporate more color into my daily life.  No fuss, but more fun.  Like Chanel Mademoiselle lipstick.  I had been coveting it for months before finally purchasing it in Dallas right before I came back to the UK.  You may recognize it from the amazing adverts with Vanessa Paradis.  It’s a gorgeous pinky beige, and it’s definitely an improvement over my usual lip balm.  Nail polish is another type of color I would like to use more.  I recently got Nails Inc. polish in Denim as a gift, and so I will use it along with my typical and sporadic use of Chanel Particuliere, a perfect taupey grey.  (Yes, I know.  I seem to have a Chanel fetish going by this post, but these two cosmetics I languished over for months before budgeting and purchasing.  I’m a sucker for a really good quality neautralish and everyday wearable product!)
  • Get out of the house at least five times per week to study somewhere else.  I get way too distracted in my room, and so studying in the library or at a friend’s house is much better for me and for my work.  There is also usually the added perk of being near a printer, which is super handy for getting articles which otherwise may float to the back of my mind and never surface in my research again.
  • Get enough sleep every night.  I have the talent?  Ability?  Work ethic?  Misfortune? of getting into “the zone” when I’m working on an assignment and not noticing the time.  One evening I worked steadily after dinner (about 7:00ish) until 3:30 AM.  AM!!!  I didn’t stop to look at the clock, and completely lost track of the time.  I am hoping the resolve to work out of my room will lead to more productivity during the day, and therefore, less pressure at night.
  • Finish my essays on time without stress AND with enough time to revise with a peer or, if possible, a professor.  Unfortunately, I only have a handful of essays, and some of them are the one shot I have at my grade.  It’s added pressure I think the MA programs in the States usually avoids because of the longer duration of program and greater variety of classes for one’s degree.  The one year time crunch means I need to be vigilant.
  • Be more easygoing about going out.  I’m in England, for gosh sakes!  I should enjoy what the country and the city have to offer.  Pubs, conferences, nightclubs…  I need to take advantage of it all.  Even though I am not looking forward to going to Klute next week, which has been dubbed “the worst nightclub in Europe” and is known for “quaddy-voddies” (quadruple vodka shots, which, from what I hear, is as bad as it sounds), I should go.  When else will I get the opportunity?
  • Be more stringent with my gym schedule, and on days when I can’t fit anything else in, do yoga in my room.  At least a sun salutation.  The college food is heavy on all the things I dislike: potatoes, carrots, gravy, red meat, salt.  Therefore, I have to take care of my diet as best I can outside college dining and in my activity.  (Though my legs are getting super toned due to the freaking hills around town!  After being back in Durham for a week, my butt feels it!)
  • Correspond more.  Skype, letters, emails, Facebook.  I need to do more of it all.  AIM, I think, tends to take up too much time, so I need to relax by writing more thoughtful correspondences to those I truly miss and care about: my friends and pseudo-family in Minnesota and Seattle.
  • And as always, I need to remind myself how grateful I am for my family, friends, education, and life.  I need to learn all I can both in the classroom and from my friends.  I need to stop worrying about time, which goes all too quickly, and carpe diem.

All experiences of life seems to prove that the impediments thrown in the way of the human advancement may for the most part be overcome by steady good conduct, honest zeal, activity, perseverance and above all, by a determined resolution to surmount.  –Samuel Smiles

I’ve come across these two links the past few days and had to share.  Tomorrow is the last day of term, so I don’t have time to write a proper post, so this will have to suffice for a bit.

Bookish Christmas Tree Alternative

Calligraffiti

Happy December!

 

 

Among the things that make me very merry happy are flowers and colors.  I’m in the middle of Hamlet at the moment, so I figure I need all the merry happy things I can get right now.  (Not that I mind Shakespeare’s most emo character, but as my mom would say, “there’s a terrible sense of foreboding” and Ophelia, Gertrude, Hamlet — okay, every character — could use a bit of counseling.)

Merry Happy – Kate Nash

Maybe you’ve seen Shakespeare in the news recently, with the whole “refudiate” situation and Sarah Palin.  While I did hear about that, the most important reference to Shakespeare is my new class on post-1603 Shakespeare.  I’m terrifically excited, and am in love with my new Bevington collected works.  It’s huge, and takes up 75% of my messenger bag, but it’s beautiful.

We’re reading Othello (and seeing an outside performance August 1), Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear.  The professor’s area of interest is in gender and sexuality studies, and so the overarching theme will be *drumroll* gender roles and sexuality!  I find that extremely interesting, as I take every opportunity to explore women’s roles in antiquity and the Middle Ages and am a proud feminist myself thanks to Gustavus.  (No, I wasn’t indoctrinated, or anything, but I experienced how my female friends and classmates view the world as professionals, independent people, gay, straight, bisexual, Christian, atheist, etc.  Plus, the red “This is what a Gustavus feminist looks like” didn’t hurt either…  I still have fond memories of a male poli sci professor speaking to the senior class wearing one of these under his robes and flashing it like Clark Kent becoming Superman.)

Anyway, it will be a nice change from SQB and an uninformed, interruptive instructor.

I’ve begun to read the first play for Monday, Othello.  It’s so beautiful, and the marriage between Othello and Desdemona begins better than any marriage I’ve read about recently (The Miller’s Tale, The Franklin’s Tale, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Lanval, etc.).  Those marriages begin either with the man in total domination over the woman, the woman in complete control over the man, or a marriage of “equals” to the depressed extreme as in the marriage between Averagus and Dorigen.  Othello and Desdemona love each other in the Christian way and in Venus’ way.  It’s true love mixed with passion.  Of course, Iago comes to stir those flames of passion, creating doubt and destruction by the end, but the beginning is good, right?  The issues of the Moor’s bestial qualities corrupting the pure, white, Venetian virtue of Desdemona is interesting.  (“Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is topping your white ewe.”  Othello, 1. 1)  Disturbing, but interesting.  Language is carefully used to convey meaning, and I think my maturity since last reading any Shakespeare, my viewing of several plays last summer, and the Bevington’s notes all make me very aware of language.

Chasseriau's Othello and Desdemona in Venice, 1850

And that brings me to a nice stopping point before I go on another lecture about the importance of the text and construction of language…  To sum up, the text is important.  The author uses it carefully as a whole work and in pieces, ultimately creating a text larger than the sum of its parts.  You should appreciate the text.  Please?

Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth ‘scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels’ history.

But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
Othello, 1. 3 (both)

I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words.
Othello, 4. 2

Movie note: The Kenneth Bragnagh Othello is breathtaking, with Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Bragnagh as Iago.  Stage Beauty with Billy Crudup and Clair Danes focuses on the staging of Othello just as women were being allowed on the stage.  For a true and good version of Othello, pick of Bragnagh.  For a commentary on the gender roles of Renaissance England and the evolution of staging, Stage Beauty is entertaining.

I have more books, except this time I actually am reading them at a break-neck pace.  I’m in two A-term courses at the U, after dropping two insanely early, boring classes that were on opposite sides of the campus.  This means I’ll have more time during B-term, when I’m packing and getting ready to move, but it also means I have almost no time now.  I’m in medieval lit (a general survey course, but a course in which we’re covering texts I’ve analyzed in history classes or read on my own) and late medieval history with the prof I really like.  I’m hoping for Shakespeare After 1603 for B term, as well as a guided reading with one of my friends and my history professor on medieval England.  It’s refreshing to get to know a medievalist who believes in the cooperation between history and literature, and understands the two fields are not mutually exclusive.  For example, our main texts for this late medieval class are the Inferno, the Canterbury Tales, The Prince, and a book on the Hundred Years War.  Three-quarters of our materials are borrowed from the lit critics, which I think is wonderful!

Hence the long time between posts.  A-term is a 10-week course shoved into 4 1/2 weeks.

While I was reading Dante’s Inferno, I watched the latest Top Chef and Work of Art episodes online.  On WOA, the artists had to design book covers for various classics: Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The Time Machine, Alice in Wonderland, and Dracula.  Surprisingly, two out of three of the bottom artists had P&P, while the top honor went to someone designing The Time Machine.  I actually really liked the third bottom artist, who also had The Time Machine.  Her wallpaper-influenced design had an interesting pattern and design, and intricate wallpaper-like designs are usually my favorites in books, like these:

Penguin Classics

Dover Thrift P&P

U Star P&P (British)

Inferno (Italian)

The winning design was great; it was colorful, simple, and pleasing to the eye.  However, if Penguin and the judges of Work of Art want to select a cover for devout readers out there, I don’t know if they can beat a simple and elegant design like these.  Congrats to John, the winner, and to the P&P artists: 1) please remember it’s “Jane AustEn,” and 2) treat the text with some respect, okay?  I’m not sure a semi-nude photo or backwards text is being very thoughtful of the content.  This book is many readers’ baby, so play nice!

More than simply catching a potential reader’s attention, a book cover should be something one is proud to display on his or her shelf.  I know I gravitate towards more elegant designs which have a timeless quality instead of overly flashy, sexualized, or text-happy covers.

Complete and total side note that is slightly related to the topic: Miles is amazing.  He has fantastic knowledge of many different mediums and understands how to translate his feelings and ideas into good and thought-provoking art.  (Are you listening, Judith?)  He read Frankenstein in four hours so he could do a good book cover, is brilliant, and is adorable.  Can I pinch his cheeks?  Please?