Oh, the Humanities4 June 2008
This morning, I started reading A Drawing Manual by Thomas Eakins. As is my bad habit, I first read the prefacing and introductory pieces by others, one of which was
Thomas Eakins: Last of the Art Crusaders by Amy B. Warbel.
It positions Eakins as a creature and champion of the Art Crusade — an attempt to promote American, republican values and virtues by the wide-spread teaching of art (not merely art appreciation), especially drawing. The essay proceeds well enough for most of its length, but, as it approaches its end, rather abruptly seems to argue not merely that Eakins was out-of-step with fashion, but that he was somehow active in a movement that had itself ended. She quotes with apparent approval a passage from another author which asserts that the Art Crusade died with Rembrandt Peale (1860). Eakins was graduated from High School in the next year, and didn't begin teaching until 1870 or '71. This time-frame wouldn't make Eakins the last Art Crusader, but instead a failed revivalist, and certainly not the last such.
In the after-noon, I received a copy of the Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges. I began reading that in the evening; and, in
Max Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities, found this excellent sentence
At the first light of dawn, the battle died away, as though it were spectral, or obscene.But I'm sorry to report that, in a foot-note concerning
The Uncivil Teacher of Court Etiquette Kôtsuké no Suké, the translator (or some wicked transcriber) has written
As I waited for a walk light to-night, on the way home from David's Coffee Place, some fellow asked me if I'd like to go somewhere for drinks. The Woman of Interest claims that this is an improvement upon being mistaken for a prostitute, which happened to me a few years ago. I figure that, this time, the poor guy just couldn't control himself because I was wearing my Wellington boots, and have let my sideburns grow for almost three weeks. (Hugh Jackman has nothin' on me.)