WB Yeats: Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club, Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn: All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. That woman’s days were spent In ignorant good-will, Her nights in argument Until her … Continue reading

Oscar Wilde: The Soul of Man under Socialism

oscar-wilde-socialist

The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes. Now and then, in the course of the century, a great man of science, like Darwin; a great poet, like Keats; a fine critical spirit, like M. Renan; a supreme artist, like Flaubert, has been able to isolate himself, to keep himself out of reach of the clamorous claims of others, to … Continue reading

Patrick Keiller: Robinson in London (1994)

The opening of Patrick Keiller’s London (1994) goes: Dirty old Blighty, under-educated, economically backward, bizarre. A catalogue of modern miseries with its fake traditions, its Irish war, its militarism and secrecy, its silly old judges, its hatred of intellectuals, its ill-health and bad food, its sexual repression, its hypocrisy and racism and its indolence. It’s so exotic… so home-made. Enjoy the segment on the atmosphere of the UK 1992 election results. At the time, the press foresaw a split result, possibly a minority government, or even a coalition, yet John Major prevailed. The Conservatives won a 21 seat majority, the slightest … Continue reading