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Posts Tagged ‘Strachey

Bank(sy) shot…

Readers will know that here at (R)D we have an affection for The Simpsons (c.f., here and here) , and that we check in regularly on the progress of artist and provocateur Banksy (e.g., here and here), so when the two collide…

Banksy’s storyboard for a Simpsons‘ opening segment, from beginning…

…to end…

See the entire tale of outsourcing at Banksy’s site.

As we slap our foreheads and say “d’oh!”, we might recall that it was on this date in 1736 that Voltaire’s tragedy Alzire, ou Les Américains premiered to great acclaim in Paris.  As Lytton Strachey observed

Though Voltaire’s reputation now rests mainly on his achievements as a precursor of the Revolution, to the eighteenth century he was as much a poet as a reformer. The whole of Europe beheld at Ferney the oracle, not only of philosophy, but of good taste; for thirty years every scribbler, every rising genius, and every crowned head, submitted his verses to the censure of Voltaire; Voltaire’s plays were performed before crowded houses; his epic was pronounced superior to Homer’s, Virgil’s, and Milton’s; his epigrams were transcribed by every letter-writer, and got by heart by every wit…

But what a difference a bit a perspective can make.  Writing in 1905 (but with a sensibility that, your correspondent suspects, is still widely felt), Strachey continues…

Voltaire, unfortunately, was neither a poet nor a psychologist; and, when he took up the mantle of Racine, he put it, not upon a human being, but upon a tailor’s block… His heroines go mad in epigrams, while his villains commit murder in inversions. Amid the hurly-burly of artificiality, it was all his cleverness could do to keep its head to the wind; and he was only able to remain afloat at all by throwing overboard his humour. The Classical tradition has to answer for many sins; perhaps its most infamous achievement was that it prevented Molière from being a great tragedian. But there can be no doubt that its most astonishing one was to have taken—if only for some scattered moments—the sense of the ridiculous from Voltaire.

Mais oui.

source

 

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