April 26th, 2008

From Ritual To Romance

I raced to finish the Penguin collection of Balzac short stories last night.  It's due back at the library today and I'd feel I'd suffered some sort of moral defeat if I had to renew it. Don't ask me why. It's compulsions like this that make life interesting.

It's like how I have to eat my breakfast croissant off the same flowery-patterned plate every morning. There's only one plate like it in our collection and I've reserved it for my especial use. I've got a similar thing going with mugs. Ailz says it's because I'm selfish and won't share. I think it's got more to do with ritual.

Anyway, as a result of last night's sprint I've got three more stories to blog.

La Messe d'Athee: People are full of surprises. The austere, atheist surgeon attends mass at St Sulplice four times a year. Horace Bianchon sets out to discover why.

Facino Cane: Cane is a blind musician who once- so he says- escaped from a Venetian prison- just like Casanova. There's a part of Balzac that wants to be Dumas.

Pierre Grassou: An even-handed portrait of a very bad painter who also happens to be a thoroughly nice bloke. 

22 down, 69 to go...

Man Of Books

The Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum has an exhibition of the work of the 16th century Milanese painter Arcimboldo. Reading about it in the paper this morning got me trawling the web for images. Arcimboldo's particular schtick was to create human "portraits" out of still-life elements. He was semi-forgotten until the surrealists claimed him as a forebear.

This one looks remarkably like a cubist painting by Picasso or Braque. It's called The Librarian.

Image:Arcimboldo Librarian Stokholm.jpg