Monday, 7 July 2014

Paris was Yesterday - 1927 continue

Sitting here in McDonalds in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, to have some internet access. It is lovely weather outside so I will soon go out in the sun. I have cooled myself with a Mango & Pina iced fruit smoothy so feeling quite fine! I guess it can compete with Paris, although I wish I was there as well.

Two more entries for this year. Let's see what Janet Flanner says about...

Isadora (1878-1927)

"In the summer of 1926, like a ghost from the grave, Isadora Duncan began dancing again in Nice. Two decades before, her art, animated by her extraordinary public personality, came as close to founding an aesthetic renaissance as American morality would allow, and the provinces especially had a narrow escape. But in the postwar European years her body, whose Attic splendor once brought Greece to Kansas and Kalamazoo, was approaching its half-century mark. Her spirit was still green as a bay tree, but her flesh was worn, perhaps by the weight of laurels. She was the last of the trilogy of great female personalities in our century cherished. Two of them, Duse and Bernhardt, ahd already gone to their elaborate national tombs. Only Isadora Duncan, the youngest, the American, remained wandering the foreign earth. ...

A Paris couturier once said woman's modern freedom in dress is largely due to Isadora. She was the first artist to appear uncinctured, barefooted, and free. She arrived like a glorious bounding Minerva in the midst of a cautious corseted decade. ...

Those three summer programs which Isadora gave in 1926 at her studio in Nice were her last performances on earth. At the end of the next summer she was dead. One of the soirées was given with the concordance of Leo Tecktonious, the pianist, and the other two with Jean Cocteau, who accompanied her dancing with his spoken verse. In all three performances her art was seen to have changed.  ...

As her autobiography made clear, an integral part of Isadora's nature died young when her two adored little children, Dierdre and Patrick, were tragically drowned in 1913 at Neuilly; the automobile in which they were waiting alone slipped its brakes and plunged into the Seine. The children had been the offspring of free unions, in which Isadora spiritedly believed. She believed, too, in polyandry and that each child thus benefited augenically by having a different and carefully chosen father. She also attributed the loss of her third child, born the day was was declared, to what she called the curse of the machine. At the wild report that the Germans were advancing by motor on Paris, the old Bois de Boulogne gates were closed, her doctor and his automobile, amidst thousands of cars, were caught behind the grill, and by the time he arrived at her bedside it was too late. The child had been born dead. 'Machines have been my enemy,' she once said. 'They killed my three children. Machines are the opposite of, since they are the invention of, man. Perhaps a machine will one day kill me.'

In a moment of melancholy her friend Duse prophesied that Isadora would die like Jocasta. Both prophecies were fulfilled. On August 13, 1927, while driving on the Promenade des Anglais at Nice, Isadora Duncan met her death. She was strangled by her coloured shwal, which became tangled in the wheel of the automobile. ...

Great artists are tragic. Genius is too large, and it may have been grandeur that proved Isadora's undoing - the grandeur of temporary luxury, the grandeur of permanent ideals.
She was too expansive for personal salvation. She had thousands of friends. What she needed was an organised government. She had had checkbooks. her scope called for a national treasury. It was not for nothing that she was hailed by her first name only, as queens have been, were they great Catherines of Marie Antoinettes.
As she stepped into the machine that was to be her final enemy, Isadora's last spoken words were, by chance. 'Je vais à gloire!' "

Fascinating person and one who seemed to be totally free!

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

"In this month has passed the fifth anniversary of Marcel Proust's death. The final two volumes of Le Temps Retrouvé, one finds that the glory of the Guermantes has passed. Gilberte is presented as the widow of St. Loup, killed in the war; Charlus is déclassé; Mme. Verduring has married the old prince; Oriane and the duke are divorced. The glamorous style with which Proust established his dynasty and theirs is lacking in his arid descriptions of their decline. Himself dying as he wrote of their end, he was too weak to ornament their epitaphs. Proust has been dead since 9122, yet the annual appearance of his posthumous printed works had left him, to the reader, alive. Now there is nothing left to publish. Five years after his interment, Proust seems dead for the first time. "

I always wanted to read his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. There are a few books to get into! But one day I will!

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