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Thomas More

Thomas More was bornFebruary 7, 1478 in London. He was well educated and went on to further his education at Oxford. Later More returned to London to study law, while he wanted to become a lawyer he was being pushed to become a priest by his father. He then became a Monk fora  short amount of time until he decided to enter politics in 1504.

More’s biggest fight as a politician was with Henry VIII. After being knighted in 1521, Henry VIII used Thoms to help him write Defence of the Seven Sacraments. Due to More’s help, Henry made him the Speaker of the House of Commons, which gave him a larger freedom of speech than most. He used his position to speak out agains Henry VIII wanting to divorce his wife, Katherine of Aragon, just to remarry Anne Boleyn. Thomas did not attened Elizabeth’s crowning and this was observed by the King. In 1534, Thomas was accused of Treason, captured, and beheaded on July 6 1535. After his death he was canonized and then in 1935, declared a Saint.

Although Thomas More went on to become a Saint, he was actually famous for his work of literature, Utopia. More depicted the Renaissance artist very well for he used the teachings of Aristotelianism, Platonism, Stoicism and Epicureanism. He also used the blend of Christianity and Paganism in his works, Utopia for example. A main belief of More was in the philosophy of pleasure, Epicureanism.

Thomas More’s work was influence by many people such as his good friends Erasmus, John Colet, and Thomas Linacre as they were all “Oxford Reformers” and humanists. Thomas was also very influenced by his wife, Jane Colt. Jane died during the time they were married, leaving Thomas with a child to care for, which is why he married only a month later. All these friends as well as Henry VIII helped Thomas in writing Utopia, which depicts a perfect political world.

More also started a work called History of King Richard III, which was unfinished but highly influenced Shakespeare’s play Richard III.  Thomas More’s unfinished work was a history of the Renaissance and was known for its literary skill.

Ousby, Ian. “The Life of Sir Thomas More.” Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/morebio.htm>

“Sir Thomas More.” About.com. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://classiclit.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=classiclit&cdn=education&tm=4&gps=178_457_1020_567&f=10&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.orst.edu/instruct/phl302/philosophers/more.html>

“Thomas More.” Wikipedia. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_More>

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Thomas More's Utopia

 

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Dante’s influence on Botticelli’s Chart of Hell

Sandro Botticelli (1445- 1510) was an Italian painter of the Florentine school.  He lived during the early Renaissance, yet his paintings were influenced by the two- dimensional Gothic art style.  At a young age Botticelli picked up a unique style with his fusion of the Medieval linear and Renaissance three- dimensional style that led to some of his famous artworks such as Adoration of the Magi and The Birth of Venus. However, the Renaissance rejected these styles of Gothic art and this technique died with Botticelli until it was revived during the second half of the 19th century.

Compared to the other artist during the Renaissance, he was well educated, but was also interested in the Middle Ages, especially Dante’s Divine Comedy.  He was so interested in this work of literature that he wrote a commentary over portions of Dante and illustrated Dante’s Inferno in his paintings.  He spent so much of his time studying the Divine Comedy that he suffered from disorders during his lifetime from lack of work and deteriorated over the obsessions of Dante.  His masterpiece from Dante’ Inferno, known as the Chart of Hell, with its peculiar painting method, stands as one of the most fascinating representation of Hell ever seen.

Chart of Hell

Painted during c. 1480- 1495, the Chart of Hell visualized Botticelli’s imagination of Dante’s Inferno. In this painting, the descriptions of Hell was illustrated through the nine circles where souls are tortured for eternity.  However, Botticelli incorporated more details based on the literal texts of Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Here, the ring system was preemminent, but seemed to spiral down in comparison to a tornado whirling towards the center of wickedness.  The circles symbolized the cyclical aspects of existence where these condemned souls are trapped and tortured for eternity imprisoned between all time and place forbidden from paradise, where they must and always will suffer the second death.  The center where all the sins cascaded down differentiated from the rest, with the ring of Treachery where Lake Cocytus trapped Satan as the centerpiece instead of being fix in the background.  This seemed to indicate Botticelli’s parody of Lucifer as the supreme being of the netherworld, as opposed to the Supreme Trinity reigning in Heaven prevalent in Medieval art.  In addition, Botticelli included Dante’s sense of the descent to the blind world by showing staircases that were only reserved for the wanderer who lost his clear path during the journey of life to help him avoid damnation and find salvation by the witness of other’s dead ends.  This journey of Dante in Botticelli’s opinion symbolized the paradox that one must see the future in order to fix the past.

Sandro Botticelli.  Wikipedia Foundation, Inc.  2010. Oct. 17, 2010.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandro_Botticelli

The World of Dante.  Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities, University of Virginia.  2008.  Oct. 17, 2010.http://www.worldofdante.org/botticelli_detail.html

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Dante

 

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The Wanderer

The Wanderer is about a sailor that endured a hail storm and met his demise. All that is left of the sailor is his grave and his family to decorate the grave.  He is exiled from his life that no longer exists. He is depressed and lonely with no one to turn to now that he is dead.  He realizes that the only way he can be happy again is to turn to the lord of heaven.

The Anglo Saxon beliefs that the speaker feels strongly about is shown in The Wanderer.  It is portrayed that the loyalty to their home and community is an important trait in their society.  The speakers shows how the warriors were proud and even though they were vanishing and dying they still fought.  “How one by one proud warriors vanish from the halls that they knew” (55-56).  The speaker also portrays his strong beliefs in religion.  He believes in one god of heaven.  The man in the poem realizes that is what he needs to be happy, praying to God.  “And happy the man who seeketh for mercy from his heavenly father, our fortress and strength” (107-108).  Home is an important aspect to the speakers culture.  Once he is exiled he realizes how lonely he is and how much he misses his life and his friends and families.

The sound of this poem and the feeling of the poem set the mood for the reader.  The Wanderer is a depressing poem.  To portray this aspect the speaker used words like longing, grief, and droops.  Just the sound of these words put the reader in a darker mood.  The speaker sets up the poem to hit a dark depressed mood at the climax of the poem.  At the beginning of the poem birds are bathing and everything is peaceful, ” And he dreams of the hall-men, the dealing of treasurer, and the days of his youth” (30).but then as the poem goes on the weather becomes dark and the language becomes more depressing then before. “Hail storms darker and driving snow… bitterer is the bane of his wretchedness” (40).

Beowulf and The Wanderer have some similar traits throughout their poems.  They both deal with a journey, Beowulf’s more literal while The Wanderer’s journey is more of a journey in himself.  They both have the same belief when it comes to warriors and loyalty.  Their societies both believe that the warriors should be there till the end even in death.  Religion is also a big part of both Beowulf and The Wanderer.  In The Wanderer the character realizes he needs God which is referencing to Christianity while Beowulf also references to Christianity when he fights believing he is protected by God.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2010 in Anglo-Saxon Poetry

 

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1861

1861

ARM’D year! year of the struggle!
No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year!
Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas
piano;
But as a strong man, erect, clothed in blue clothes, advancing,
carrying a rifle on your shoulder,
With well-gristled body and sunburnt face and hands–with a knife in
the belt at your side,
As I heard you shouting loud–your sonorous voice ringing across the
continent;
Your masculine voice, O year, as rising amid the great cities,
Amid the men of Manhattan I saw you, as one of the workmen, the
dwellers in Manhattan;
Or with large steps crossing the prairies out of Illinois and
Indiana,
Rapidly crossing the West with springy gait, and descending the
Alleghanies; 10
Or down from the great lakes, or in Pennsylvania, or on deck along
the Ohio river;
Or southward along the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, or at
Chattanooga on the mountain top,
Saw I your gait and saw I your sinewy limbs, clothed in blue, bearing
weapons, robust year;
Heard your determin’d voice, launch’d forth again and again;
Year that suddenly sang by the mouths of the round-lipp’d cannon,
I repeat you, hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year.

Witmans tone in this poem negative.  He is talking about the “year of struggle”, which struggle is not a possitive word to use in any sense.  He also calls it the “distracted year”, which is another negative way to describe that year.  He is no longer happy and energetic about the war.  The words he uses throughout the whole poem are very depressing.  The mood very upsetting.  He acts like he is no longer as confident as he was earlier on.  This mood and tone resembles Witman’s attitude towards the war by showing that he is no longer excited about fighting this war.  There is no go manhattan and examples of people working together anymore.  It is just one man traveling alone fighting to stay in this war.  He just wants this war to be over, the terrible year of struggle and pain to be done.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2010 in Whitman's Civil War Poetry

 

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First O Songs for a Prelude

First O songs for a prelude

First O songs for a prelude,
Lightly strike on the stretch’d tympanum pride and joy in my city,
How she led the rest to arms, how she gave the cue,
How at once with lithe limbs unwaiting a moment she sprang,
(O superb! O Manhattan, my own, my peerless!
O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer than steel!)
How you sprang–how you threw off the costumes of peace with
indifferent hand,
How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard
in their stead,
How you led to the war, (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of
soldiers,)
How Manhattan drum-taps led.
Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers parading,
Forty years as a pageant, till unawares the lady of this teeming and
turbulent city,
Sleepless amid her ships, her houses, her incalculable wealth,
With her million children around her, suddenly,
At dead of night, at news from the south,
Incens’d struck with clinch’d hand the pavement.
A shock electric, the night sustain’d it,
Till with ominous hum our hive at daybreak pour’d out its myriads.
From the houses then and the workshops, and through all the doorways,
Leapt they tumultuous, and lo! Manhattan arming.
To the drum-taps prompt,
The young men falling in and arming,
The mechanics arming, (the trowel, the jack-plane, the blacksmith’s
hammer, tost aside with precipitation,)
The lawyer leaving his office and arming, the judge leaving the court,
The driver deserting his wagon in the street, jumping down, throwing
the reins abruptly down on the horses’ backs,
The salesman leaving the store, the boss, book-keeper, porter, all
leaving;
Squads gather everywhere by common consent and arm,
The new recruits, even boys, the old men show them how to wear their
accoutrements, they buckle the straps carefully,
Outdoors arming, indoors arming, the flash of the musket-barrels,
The white tents cluster in camps, the arm’d sentries around, the
sunrise cannon and again at sunset,
Arm’d regiments arrive every day, pass through the city, and embark
from the wharves,
(How good they look as they tramp down to the river, sweaty, with
their guns on their shoulders!
How I love them! how I could hug them, with their brown faces and
their clothes and knapsacks cover’d with dust!)
The blood of the city up-arm’d! arm’d! the cry everywhere,
The flags flung out from the steeples of churches and from all the
public buildings and stores,
The tearful parting, the mother kisses her son, the son kisses his mother,
(Loth is the mother to part, yet not a word does she speak to detain him,)
The tumultuous escort, the ranks of policemen preceding, clearing the way,
The unpent enthusiasm, the wild cheers of the crowd for their favorites,
The artillery, the silent cannons bright as gold, drawn along,
rumble lightly over the stones,
(Silent cannons, soon to cease your silence,
Soon unlimber’d to begin the red business;)
All the mutter of preparation, all the determin’d arming,
The hospital service, the lint, bandages and medicines,
The women volunteering for nurses, the work begun for in earnest, no
mere parade now;
War! an arm’d race is advancing! the welcome for battle, no turning away!
War! be it weeks, months, or years, an arm’d race is advancing to
welcome it.
Mannahatta a-march–and it’s O to sing it well!
It’s O for a manly life in the camp.
And the sturdy artillery,
The guns bright as gold, the work for giants, to serve well the guns,
Unlimber them! (no more as the past forty years for salutes for
courtesies merely,
Put in something now besides powder and wadding.)
And you lady of ships, you Mannahatta,
Old matron of this proud, friendly, turbulent city,
Often in peace and wealth you were pensive or covertly frown’d amid
all your children,
But now you smile with joy exulting old Mannahatta

Throughout this poem the tone is very patriotic.  It is all about Manhattan during the war and the people in the town fighting for what they love.  They are excited about the war.  It is very upbeat and passionate.  There is a lot of emotion that was put into this poem.  He shows the way that everyone worked together during a time of need.  He is more possitive in his writing.  “War! an arm’d race is advancing! the welcome for battle, no turning away!”, Here he is showing that there is a lot of excitement, no one is scared or upset they are all racing towards this war. The mood is energetic.  By reading into this poem you can see that Witman was for the war when he wrote this.  He was willing to fight for his country and “his Manhattan”.  He had a positive attitude coming into the war that if they worked together they could accomplish what they needed and move on with everything.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2010 in Whitman's Civil War Poetry

 

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Richard Beatty Anderson

War Hero:

Not just anyone who decides that they want to fight for their country turns out to be a hero.  Some prosper in their duties, while others were just not born with the right characteristics.  A war hero is someone who does not think of their own safety in a moment of danger.  They are selfless, risking their lives, sometimes blatantly giving their lives for their troops.  They are by far courageous and do not second guess them selfs when it truly matters.

Richard Beatty Anderson is a perfect example of a war hero.  He was born on June 26, 1921 in Tacoma, Washington.  He joined the Unites States Marine Corps in July of 1942.  He was only 21 years old when he made the commitment to risk his life in order to keep his country safe.  The Battle of Kwajalein and Eniwetok, on February 1, 1944, was the last day this Private First Class would fight for his troops and country that he loved.  Anderson was in battle and about to throw a grenade when it slipped from his hands and rolled down to his men.  He did not have time to get rid of the grenade before it would explode, so he did the most selfless thing a man could do for men he loved.  He sacrificed his own life by jumping on top of the grenade taking the impact and full blow.  He is the definition of a true war hero.  He was honored with receiving the World War II Congressional Medal of Honor. Not only was his selfless act honored by giving him this award, but a ship was named after him, also.  It was the 1945 United States Navy Destroyer, that they named USS Richard B. Anderson.  This “Destroyer” successfully earned 15 battle stars until it was sold in 1977.  His duties did not go unnoticed by any means.  Many soldiers fighting today look up to Richard B. Anderson as an inspiration of what they too hope they can be one day.  As selfless and courageous as this man was, and truly loyal to his men and his country.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2010 in War Heroes

 

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