Posted by Nick Milne on August 26, 2010
I really don’t know what to think of Jule Taymor’s new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Her work is always at least interesting, even when it’s monstrous (Titus) or narratively-limp (Across the Universe), and I’m always pleased to see new engagements with Shakespeare, but there’s something about turning the play’s elderly male sorcerer into a woman – played by Helen Mirren – that seems so easy. It’s the kind of mock-profundity that one would expect of the Neil Gaiman school on a bad day, and the fact that it was apparently Mirren’s own idea makes this seem like a vanity piece. Still, it will assuredly be worth seeing, and I’m sure you’ll hear all about it when it finally comes out.
In the meantime, you’ll have to be content with this admittedly pretty cool poster:
The Tempest opens Dec. 10th, 2010.
Incidentally, the cast list on the film’s IMDB page doesn’t list an entry for Sycorax, the witch who controlled the island before Prospero arrived and defeated her. That’s fine, to be sure; she isn’t actually in the play, either. I’ve just always sort of hoped for a production that includes that bit in some fashion.
Posted in Literature, Movies, Pictures | 2 Comments »
Posted by Nick Milne on August 17, 2010
A strangely moving image:
Jim Henson was one of the good ones.
Posted in In Memoriam, Pictures | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nick Milne on August 9, 2010
The Cathedral itself was flattened by the blast. Its bell was melted and its altar destroyed. The head of the Blessed Virgin somehow remained intact, however, as you see her above.
Chesterton mentions, in his Autobiography, being heartbroken at encountering in Poland a statue of the Virgin that was otherwise intact but for her face and hands having been shot away by retreating Red Army soldiers during the Battle of Warsaw. No picture of it survives, that I know of, but I imagine the effect was somewhat similar. The implications certainly were:
…it is a strange thing [he writes] that the very mutilation seemed to give more meaning to the attitude of intercession; asking mercy for the merciless race of men.
Posted in Beauty, Evil, History, Pictures, Religion, War | 2 Comments »
Posted by Nick Milne on March 5, 2010
Previously: More Relations
(Trying to get back on track with the posting – and the ongoing series – here…)
I don’t really have much to say about this one, as the context is something of a mystery. All I can hope is that maybe it’s not as bad as it looks…?
Posted in History, Humour, Pictures, War | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nick Milne on January 30, 2010
This will be the last specifically monarchical image for a little while, to the great relief of those readers not especially interested in such things. I might have stopped with Victoria, frankly, but this one is too remarkable to pass up.
The picture above shows two men and two boys, all in naval attire. It also shows four kings of England.
At the far right is Edward VII, successor to Victoria. He reigned from 1901 to 1910, and gave his name (that is, Edwardian) to the period. “Edwardian” is sometimes used to describe things rather beyond the years of his reign, though; some extend it back to about 1890, and forward to 1912 (the sinking of the Titanic), 1914 (the beginning of the Great War), or 1918 (the conclusion of same). Some even extend it into the 1920s, but the reasons for this are less clear.
At the far left is his son, the man who would be George V. He, as I mentioned in an earlier post, would reign from 1910 to 1936, and it was by his command that the family name was changed from “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” to “Windsor.” This happened in 1917. Guess why.
The serious looking boy standing just to his right is his son, who would later become Edward VIII. A man of vaguely fascist sympathies and secretive dealings, he famously abdicated his throne for the love of an American divorcee. He reigned for less than a year, stepping down in December of 1936.
The crown then passed to his brother, the somewhat uncertain young fellow standing in front of him. George VI would guide the kingdom through the difficulties of the Second World War, but his reign also saw the dissolution of the Empire that had grown so vast in the days of Victoria. He died in 1952.
He had two daughters. You’ve probably heard of one of them.
Collectively, the four men in the image above ruled and guided the British Empire for just over fifty years. They saw her through two world wars, and dozens of smaller conflicts besides. Powered flight was just on the horizon when the first of them took over; the jet engine was well-established when the last of them passed away. The sun never set upon the Empire inherited by the man on the right; by the time the boy in front of him passed away, it would barely rise on what remained.
Posted in History, Pictures, Statecraft | 1 Comment »
Posted by Nick Milne on January 29, 2010
I was gratified to discover that my old friend Sean Rubin has started a new blog. It’s still only sparsely updated, but it exists.
He was recently hired to provide illustrations for Brian Jacques’ popular Redwall series, in which basically medieval animals have epic and highly entertaining adventures. I enjoyed the books greatly in my youth, and probably still would if I were to take them up again.
Anyway, I’ll add Sean to the sidebar presently.
Posted in Announcements, Friends, Literature, Pictures | 4 Comments »
Posted by Nick Milne on January 28, 2010
(Click to enlarge)
Though she would eventually come to be known (colloquially, of course) as “the grandmother of Europe,” Alexandrina Victoria wasn’t always the stately old woman so often imagined when the name of Queen Victoria is uttered.
On June 20, 1837, she was 18 years old. Her birthday, less than a month earlier, had at last averted the seeming necessity of another British Regency, as the ailing William IV, who was 71 and had no surviving legitimate children of his own (though there were eight illegitimate ones), seemed poised to die before the heiress-presumptive – Victoria – had reached the necessary age. Had this occurred, her mother, the Duchess of Kent, would have ruled in her stead. The first such British Regency had involved William’s brother and predecessor, George IV, who had been forced to rule in his incapacitated father’s place from 1809 to 1820, thus delaying his own ascension proper until he was 58 years old and indirectly ensuring that only Victoria would ever be in a position to eventually take the throne in any event. Victoria would throw things quite in the other direction, unfortunately, ruling for a then-unprecedented sixty-three years (she died in 1901), thereby ensuring that her own heir would be an old man himself by the time he succeeded her. That son, the pleasure-loving Edward VII, would reign but briefly – until 1910.
In the picture above, the eighteen-year-old Alexandrina Victoria is informed that her uncle, the King, has at last died. She is met in her sitting-room at Kensington Palace by Lord Francis Conyngham, the Lord Chamberlain (left), and William Howley, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The picture is an idealised one, to be sure, but in its conventions it points to the appalling importance of what is taking place, whether those in the picture suspected it at the time or not. England had prospered under Queens before, of course – most notably Elizabeth I and, more recently, Anne Stuart – but could it be expected that a girl of Victoria’s youth and inexperience could stand up to such examples? How would Britain fare in such hands?
It fared well, as it happens. She got her crown. She survived many attempts on her life. She took her consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She grew in power and stature, far from the uncertain girl she had once been, and with her grew an Empire to eclipse any seen in the modern age. She was Britannia in spirit if not in actual fact, and the wrath of her red-coated children would fall on all the world.
Posted in History, Pictures, Statecraft, War | 3 Comments »
Posted by Nick Milne on January 27, 2010
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of the United Kingdom. The picture was taken in Berlin in 1913. Five years later, Nicholas (darker suit) would be murdered; George would die in 1936, two days after his friend, Rudyard Kipling.
The profound resemblance may be explained by the fact that the two men were first cousins, and pictures such as this one underscore the degree – perhaps not as well understood in our time as it could be – to which many of the rulers of Europe were related to one another in the early days of the 20th century. Another first cousin (not pictured) was Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, the primary enemy of France and the United Kingdom, among many others, during the Great War.
Much of this is the fault (if we may call it that) of Queen Victoria, who, contrary to the “prudish and virginal old woman” image that unaccountably clings to her, was the progenitrix of nine children and forty-two grandchildren (of whom two did not live past infancy). Among those grandchildren were Alexandra Feodrovna, the wife of Nicholas II, and Wilhelm II himself.
Incidentally, this post will mark the beginning of what I hope to be a daily series of images, each somehow related to the previous one posted. You’ll be able to check back easily enough (links will be provided), but to find out what comes next you’ll just have to keep coming back.
Posted in History, Pictures, Statecraft, War | 1 Comment »
Posted by Nick Milne on February 18, 2009
Who says atheists get all the best banners? Now you can make your own.
But what should be done? Do you maintain the same general sentiments?
Brazenly challenge them?
Or strike out boldly in directions yet stranger?
There’s no limit to the possibilities. Go for it.
Posted in Art, Humour, Mash-Ups, Pictures, Religion | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nick Milne on December 23, 2008
BECAUSE HE’S NOT A MAN AT ALL AAAAAAAHHHHHHH
The general intellectual level of this blog is apparently in something of a freefall during this season of snow and darkness.
Posted in Humour, Pictures | 7 Comments »