Books, writing and chocolate truffles.

Am so happy with today’s finds! From these three here I love Graves the most and will soon write about him and the others, so if you enjoy reading about books and writers, feel free to follow me on my instagram account . You won’t see much about food here but I wanted to share with you a recipe for some yummy chocolate truffles. Perfect to indulge on while reading a great book!

Ingredients:

200 gr Raw almonds

200 gr Raw cashew nuts

Pinch of Himalayan salt

Pinch of cinnamon

10 Medjool dates pitted

Dash of water

Topping:

200 gr melted dark chocolate

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a food processor apart from water until well mixed. Pour water very slowly until the mixture forms into a dough. Roll into balls.

Melt the chocolate, bain marie method. Keep the chocolate melting on low heat and roll each ball in the chocolate. (I use a toothpick to make things easier, you can use a fork too). Transfer to parchment paper and freeze until it’s time to enjoy.

 

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Madame Bovary: the beautiful writing and some curiosities.

As with the majority of the greatest classics this one is not a happy story but it’s one of those I will never forget because of how it’s written. It is mainly the story of young Emma and the consequences she had to face thanks to her lack of control. I’ve posted a review some time ago, here are some curiosities: 📚 The inspiration behind Charles Bovary’s character came from Flaubert’s school friend who later became a doctor. 📚 Flaubert wasn’t really interested in writing an extraordinary story, instead he focused on the writing. 📚 Many praised ‘Madame Bovary’ for the realism but during an obscenity trial it was described as vulgar. 📚 Some said that Emma was in reality a reflection of Flaubert himself but he denied this. He, like Woolf, Joyce and other realists, despised the day-dreaming of romanticism, in fact in this novel he  makes fun of that of Emma’s. 📚 This book was highly acclaimed by James, Proust, Nabokov & Kundera describing it as perfect, grammatically pure & poetic. 📚 It was adapted into similar novels, more than one TV series with different titles, an opera (1951), a satirical graphic novel (Gemma Bovary), and films, latest in 2014…  Basically if you want to experience some real, honest, beautiful writing, this one is for you. Pictured here clockwise 2011, 1959, 1945.

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. “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”

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Books are beautiful but there is nothing more beautiful in this world than reaching out to others. In solidarity with Syria, Sudan and Italy, prayers for all the victims and the heroes working relentlessly to save lives. Everyone can help by visiting the Red Cross International websites & submitting a donation.

Franny, Zooey and a front row seat.

​I devoured this great read in 3 sittings. I just couldn’t put it down, yet I didn’t want to finish it, and I am still suffering from its sweet hangover… Franny and Zooey, the youngest two out of seven highly intelligent siblings, not only weighed down by the oppression that comes with it but also scarred for life by the death of two of their brothers. Both are loners by nature & both get irritated very easily by everyone else, but the difference between them is that Franny turned her dislike into hateful judgement whilst Zooey stopped at disliking only. Franny now suffering a breakdown, was trying to find peace by praying the prayer she read about in a book found in Seymour’s bedroom (the brother who committed suicide). The book says you must say it continually, but it wasn’t helping. Zooey tries to make her understand why she had to change her ways. How could she expect to find peace by praying to God when whilst doing so she was also doing exactly what God forbids?… Oh Salinger! He spoke so much wisdom through Zooey, but this writer just didn’t know what the word boring meant, did he? There’s just no one cooler. I wished Zooey was my brother. Tactless yes, but boy did he know what to say! I laughed out loud at his continuous sarcastic wit, but I also couldn’t stop the tears.  When I reluctantly finished reading the last word, I could actually imagine this book effortlessly and silently climbing up the book tower, gently pushing down the other books whilst doing so, gliding straight to the front row and finally taking a seat right next to Jane Eyre. 

“Your heart, Bessie, is an autumn garage.”

​Keats, fears and a Shakesperean sonnet.

“When I have fears that I may cease to be 

Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,

Before high-piled books, in charactery,

Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink. 

—When I have fears by John Keats.
📚 When it comes to rhyme, Keats wrote this sonnet in Shakespearean style i.e. abab cdcd efef gg. The way of writing is inspired by Elizabethan poets and Wordsworth. The words by his own fears.  
📚 In this one he expresses his fears of not managing to write all the poems he wants to write before he dies, but also the fear that he may not be given the chance to experience passionate love. He longed to be famous as a poet but was constantly haunted by the fear of death. It is said that the fact that his parents died young might have triggered this fear. Either that or his suffering soul knew what was coming, even when it comes to love. 
📚 In 1814 Keats saw a beautiful woman in Vauxhall Gardens and could not forget her. That same year he wrote “Fill for Me a Brimming Bowl” and in 1818 he wrote “To a Lady Seen for a Few Moments at Vauxhall” and also wrote the above poem, all referring to this lady… More about Keats on my IG account during July.

July, Keats and some facts.

Last week I was wondering which poetry book to choose for July but then something happened which helped me decide. I received some lovely mail from one of the sweetest friends on instagram and it included this lovely postcard. It has some lines written  by the passionate Keats, with an illustration from Averil Burleigh; she is one of my top favourite illustrators of the Pre-Raphaelites era times along with Edmund Dulac. I love it, thank you. ❤

The lines on this postcard are from the 14 line sonnet called ‘To sleep’ which actually refers to death. Keats, who died at age 25, knew he was terminally ill (TB) and in this sonnet/prayer he was wondering whether God would take his soul whilst writing this or after he receives the priest’s blessings.

“O soft embalmer of the still midnight,

Shutting, with careful fingers and benign, 

Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,

Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:

O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close, 

In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,

Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws, 

Around my bed its lulling charities.

Then save me, or the passed day will shine

Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,

Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords

Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;

Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,

And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.”

📖 During the last days Keats’s doctor refused to give him opium to ease some of the excruciating pain because he thought Keats wanted to commit suicide so Keats was in constant agony. His nurse, Severn, later wrote that Keats used to wake up crying on finding himself still alive. He wanted a tomb with no name or date, only the words ‘Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water’.
📖 What they actually wrote: “This Grave contains all that was Mortal of a Young English Poet Who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart at the Malicious Power of his Enemies Desired these Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. 24 February 1821″….

I will write more about him during this month. Wishing you a lovely day 💞

Whitman, sunset and a song.

“Splendor of ended day, floating and filling me!

Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past! 

Inflating my throat—you, divine average! 

You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing. 

Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness, 

Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection, 

Natural life of me, faithfully praising things; 

Corroborating forever the triumph of things…”

Beautiful lines from Whitman’s Song at Sunset (1860). Hope you are all having a blessed Sunday.

Cherubs, Campbell and up in the air.

Two spirits reached this world of ours:
The lightning’s locomotive powers
Were slow to their agility:
In broad daylight they moved incog,
Enjoying, without mist or fog,
Entire invisibility.

The one, a simple cherub lad,
Much interest in our planet had,
Its face was so romantic;
He couldn’t persuade himself that man
Was such as heavenly rumors ran,
A being base and frantic.

The elder spirit, wise and cool,
Brought down the youth as to a school;
But strictly on condition,
Whatever they should see or hear,
With mortals not to interfere;
‘Twas not in their commission.

They reached a sovereign city proud,
Whose emperor prayed to God aloud,
With all his people kneeling,
And priests performed religious rites:
“Come,” said the younger of the sprites,
“This shows a pious feeling.”

YOUNG SPIRIT.

“Ar’n’t these a decent godly race?”

OLD SPIRIT.

“The direst thieves on Nature’s face.”

YOUNG SPIRIT.

“But hark, what cheers they’re giving
Their emperor! — And is he a thief?”

OLD SPIRIT.

“Ay, and a cut-throat too; — in brief,
THE GREATEST SCOUNDREL LIVING.”

YOUNG SPIRIT.

“But say, what were they praying for,
This people and their emperor?”

OLD SPIRIT.

“Why, but for God’s assistance
To help their army, late sent out:
And what that army is about,
You’ll see at no great distance.”

On wings outspeeding mail or post,
Our sprites o’ertook the Imperial host;
In massacres it wallowed:
A noble nation met its hordes,
But broken fell their cause and swords,
Unfortunate, though hallowed.

They saw a late bombarded town,
Its streets still warm with blood ran down;
Still smoked each burning rafter;
And hideously, ‘midst rape and sack,
The murderer’s laughter answered back
His prey’s convulsive laughter.

They saw the captive eye the dead,
With envy of his gory bed, —
Death’s quick reward of bravery:
They heard the clank of chains, and then
Saw thirty thousand bleeding men
Dragged manacled to slavery.

“Fie! fie!” the younger heavenly spark
Exclaimed — “we must have missed our mark,
And entered hell’s own portals:
Earth can’t be stained by crimes so black;
Nay, sure, we’ve got among a pack
Of fiends and not of mortals.”

“No,” said the elder; “no such thing:
Fiends are not fools enough to wring
The necks of one another: —
They know their interests too well:
Men fight; but every devil in hell
Lives friendly with his brother.

“And I could point you out some fellows,
On this ill-fated planet Tel us,
In royal power that revel,
Who, at the opening of the book
Of judgment, may have cause to look
With envy at the devil.”

Name but the devil, and he’ll appear,
Old Satan in a trice was near,
With smutty face and figure:
But spotless spirits of the skies,
Unseen to e’en his saucer eyes,
Could watch the fiendish nigger.

“Halloo!” he cried, “I smell a trick:
A mortal supersedes Old Nick,
The scourge of earth appointed:
He robs me of my trade, outrants
The blasphemy of hell, and vaunts
Himself the Lord’s anointed.

“Folks make a fuss about my mischief:
D — d fools, they tamely suffer this chief
To play his pranks unbounded.”
The cherubs flew; but saw from high,
At human inhumanity,
The devil himself astounded.

The Cherubs by Thomas Campbell.

Finished reading the poetry of Grigson, Muir and Stokes before end of month so I read some good old beautiful classics. I like modern poetry but it’s the classic poetry that sweeps me off my feet.

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