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Posts Tagged ‘Cardinal Richelieu

“To explode or to implode… that is the question”*…


From Danish photographer Ken Hermann‘s series, “Explosions“; more mesmerizing mayhem here.

* “To explode or to implode – said Qfwfq – that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to expand one’s energies in space without restraint, or to crush them into a dense inner concentration.”
― Italo Calvino, The Distance of the Moon


As we reflect on eruption, we might recall that it was on this date in 1637 (or nearabouts, as closely as scholars can say) that Cardinal Richelieu introduced the first table knives (knives with rounded edges)–reputedly to cure dinner guests of the unsavory habit of picking their teeth with the knife-points of the daggers that were, until then, used to cut meat at the table.  Years later, in 1669, King Louis XIV followed suit, forbidding pointed knives at his table; indeed, he extended the prohibition, banning pointed knives in the street in an attempt to reduce violence.



Written by LW

May 13, 2018 at 1:01 am

After only 145 years: overnight success!…

In the “Emerging Authors” section at Target: Anna Karenina, by that young upstart, Leo Tolstoy.  (Readers will note, as well, the inclusion of Julian Barnes and Diane Ackerman…  as for the Jane Austen Marriage Manual, it is presumably by an actual emerging author…)

[TotH to The Consumerist, from whence, the photo]


As we fulminate on the fragility of fame, we might note that it was on this date in 1635 that Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII, established L’Académie Française, the oldest of the five académies of L’Institut de France.   Its forty members– almost exclusively writers who are known, after election, as immortels– are the highest authority on all matters pertaining to the French language… a group to whom Tolstoy might well have been admitted had he not suffered the ignominy of being born elsewhere and writing in a different language; individuals who are not citizens can be admitted, but rarely are.  (The Divine Jane would likely not have fared well even had she been born in France:  the first woman member, Marguerite Yourcenar, wasn’t elected until 1980.)

L’Institut de France building


Written by LW

January 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

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