Thursday, April 22, 2004

Thursday April 22, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:14 PM


Picture said to be of
a Japanese Skylark,
Hibari or Alauda japonica.
Photo: 05/2002, Nagano, Japan.

A false definition of “inscape”:

Brad Leithauser, New York Review of Books, April 29, 2004:

“Not surprisingly, most Hopkins criticism is secular at heart, though without always acknowledging just how distorted—how weirdly misguided— Hopkins himself would find all interpretations of a spiritual life that were drawn purely from the outside. For him, a failure to see how divine promptings informed his shaping internal life—his ‘inscape,’ his own term for it—was to miss everything of his life that mattered.”

A truer definition:

“By ‘inscape’ he [Hopkins] means the unified complex of characteristics that give each thing its uniqueness and that differentiate it from other things.”

A false invocation of the Lord:

Brad Leithauser, New York Review of Books, Sept. 26, 2002:

“I’d always thought ‘Skylark’ quite appealing, but it wasn’t until I heard Helen Forrest singing it, in a 1942 recording with Harry James and his Orchestra, that it became for me something far more: one of the greatest popular songs anybody ever wrote. With her modest delivery, a voice coaxing and plaintive, Forrest is a Little Girl Lost who always finds herself coming down on exactly the right note—no easy thing with a song of such unexpected chromatic turns. On paper, the Johnny Mercer lyric looks unpromising—antiquated and clunky:

Have you seen a valley green with Spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying,
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom-covered lane?

But in Helen Forrest’s performance, ‘Skylark’ turns out to be a perfect blend of pokiness and urgency, folksiness and ethereality—and all so convincing that it isn’t until the song is finished that you step back and say, ‘Good Lord, she’s singing to a bird!’ “

For Hopkins at midnight in the garden of good and evil, a truer invocation:

Friday, December 27, 2002
12:00 AM

Saint Hoagy’s Day

Today is the feast day of St. Hoagy Carmichael, who was born on the feast day of Cecelia, patron saint of music. This midnight’s site music is “Stardust,” by Carmichael (lyrics by Mitchell Parish). See also “Dead Poets Society” — my entry of Friday, December 13, on the Carmichael song “Skylark” — and the entry “Rhyme Scheme” of later that same day.

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