Daily Update: Thursday, April 6th, 2017

04-06 - First Meeting of Petrarch and Laura in the Church of Santa Chiara at Avignon by Marie Spartali Stillman

With no Saints to honor today, we note that on this date in 1327 the young Italian poet Petrarch first saw Laura in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon; the sight awoke in him a lasting passion, celebrated in his poetry.

On this date, which was Good Friday in 1327, the twenty-three year old Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, having given up his vocation to be a priest, saw a young woman named Laura in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon; this sight awoke in him a lasting passion, celebrated in the Rime sparse (Scattered rhymes). Later, Renaissance poets who copied Petrarch’s style named this collection of 366 poems Il Canzoniere (Song Book). Laura may have been Laura de Noves, the wife of Count Hugues de Sade (an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade). There is little definite information in Petrarch’s work concerning Laura, except that she was lovely to look at, fair-haired, with a modest, dignified bearing. Laura and Petrarch had little or no personal contact. According to his “Secretum”, she refused him for the very proper reason that she was already married to another man. He channeled his feelings into love poems that were exclamatory rather than persuasive, and wrote prose that showed his contempt for men who pursue women. Upon her death in 1348, the poet found that his grief was as difficult to live with as was his former despair. While it is possible she was an idealized or pseudonymous character, particularly since the name “Laura” has a linguistic connection to the poetic “laurels” Petrarch coveted, Petrarch himself always denied it. His frequent use of the Italian phrase “l’aura” is also remarkable: for example, the line “Erano i capei d’oro a l’aura sparsi” may both mean “her hair was all over Laura’s body”, and “the wind (“l’aura”) blew through her hair”. There is psychological realism in the description of Laura, and Petrarch’s love is by no means conventional, unlike some clichéd women of troubadours and courtly love. Her presence causes him unspeakable joy, but his unrequited love creates unendurable desires, inner conflicts between the ardent lover and the mystic Christian, making it impossible to reconcile the two, his quest for love a hopeless, endless agony. Laura is unreachable – the few physical descriptions are vague, almost impalpable as the love he pines for, and such is perhaps the power of his verse, which lives off the melodies it evokes against the fading, diaphanous image that is no more consistent than a ghost. Laura is too holy to be painted; she is an awe-inspiring goddess. Sensuality and passion are suggested rather by the rhythm and music that shape the vague contours of the lady.

I woke up at 8:00 am and did my Book Devotional Reading; I also subscribed to Magnificat (which is part of my Book Devotional Reading, and my next regular issue will arrive in June, so I will be heading to Crossroads Catholic Bookstore next Wednesday to see if they have the one for Easter and May. Richard and I took both vehicles out, and left the truck at the Paint and Body Shop to have new bushings (whatever those are) put on to fix the door. We then drove to McDonald’s for biscuits. Upon returning home at 9:15 am I ate my bacon biscuits and read the Thursday papers. I then did an Advance Daily Update Draft for this weblog and did my Internet Devotional Reading. We then watched MST3K Episode 623 The Amazing Transparent Man with the short film The Days of Our Years.

We left again at 12:15 pm and ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, then we went to Wal-Mart where we got my salad supplies, other groceries, and a new wallet for me. When we got home at 1:30 pm I made my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. We then watched MST3K Episode 624 Samson vs. the Vampire Women (Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro), which was the last episode of the 6th season, and the last one with TV’s Frank. We left the house one more time to pick up the truck (the guy commented that they had only given Richard lower bushings; they could have been spotted ring-tailed bushings for all I knew), and returned home with both vehicles. Once home again I uploaded my March 2017 photos to the computer’s hard drive. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, and I will now finish today’s Daily Update before going to bed.

Tomorrow is a Friday in Lent, so tomorrow is a Day of Abstinence from Meat. It is also the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is the Memorial of Saint John Baptiste de la Salle, Priest (died 1719). Tomorrow is World Health Day, and the birthday of my friend Danette in Louisiana (1955). Richard and I will return to the casino for the first time since Tuesday of last week, and on my breaks I will read books and / or magazines. (I would start reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See via Overdrive on my tablet, but it has not come in yet; if it is not in by Sunday I will buy it from Kindle.) Tomorrow evening our #13 LSU Tigers (20-10, 5-4) will play the first of three Away College Baseball games with the #15 Arkansas Razorbacks (22-6, 7-2), our #8 LSU Lady Tigers (31-7, 7-2) will play the first of three Away College Softball games with the #12 Alabama Lady Crimson Tide (32-6, 8-4), and our New Orleans Pelicans (33-45, 6-10) will play a Home NBA game with the Denver Nuggets (37-40, 5-9).

Our Parting Quote on this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Corin Redgrave, English actor and political activist. Born in 1939 in Marylebone, London, he was the only son and middle child of actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. He was educated at the independent Westminster School and at King’s College, Cambridge. Redgrave played a wide range of character roles on film, television and stage. On stage, he was noted for Shakespearian performances (such as Much Ado About NothingHenry IV, Part 1, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest) and performances in Noel Coward’s plays (notably a highly successful revival of A Song At Twilight co-starring his sister Vanessa Redgrave and his second wife, Kika Markham). For his role as the prison warden Boss Whalen in the Royal National Theatre production of Tennessee Williams’s Not About Nightingales, Redgrave was nominated for an Evening Standard Award, and after a successful transfer of the production to New York, his performance garnered him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play in 1999. On screen he was best known for his roles in such acclaimed and diverse films as A Man for All Seasons (1966), Excalibur (1981) as the doomed Cornwall, In the Name of the Father (1993) as the corrupt lead police investigator, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) as Hamish, the fiancee of Andie MacDowell’s character, and Persuasion (1995). In 1996 he wrote a memoir about his strained relationship with his father titled Michael Redgrave – My Father, which incorporated passages from Michael Redgrave’s diaries. It was also noted for revealing his father’s bisexuality. In 2005 Redgrave had just finished an engagement playing the lead in King Lear with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London when he suffered a severe heart attack. He returned to the stage in a highly praised portrayal of Oscar Wilde in the one-man-play De Profundis in 2008. The next year he starred in Trumbo, which opened only hours after the death of his niece, Natasha Richardson. Redgrave was a lifelong activist in left-wing politics; with his elder sister Vanessa, he was a prominent member of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party. More recently, he had become a defender of the interests of the Romani people. Both Redgrave and his second wife, Kika Markham, expressed support for Viva Palestina, a humanitarian convoy, led by British MP George Galloway, attempting to break the siege of the Gaza Strip (died 2010): “Our goal is to ring the alarm bells about the human rights abuses our government is sanctioning, and to act as a focus for people who want to stand up against them.”

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