Saturday, November 19, 2016

Emily Dickinson 1830-1886 - Wild Nights - Wild Nights!

Canton Library, Vadianische collection, VadSlg Ms. 302, detail of f 120v (Samson). Rudolf von Ems,  Zurich, c. 1300

Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249) by Emily Dickinson 

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –

To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –

Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

When the 1891 edition of Emily Dickinson's (1830-1886) poems was being prepared, Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote to his co-editor Mabel Loomis Todd, "One poem only I dread a little to print--that wonderful 'Wild Nights,'--lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. Has Miss Lavinia (Emily Dickinson's sister) any shrinking about it? You will understand & pardon my solicitude. Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted."

During her lifetime as the daughter of Amherst's most prominent & conservative man, she was famously reclusive -- and alluring. She lowered notes & treats from her window on a string. She carried on conversations with guests through a door kept barely ajar. She was a master at controlling others by withholding herself.  Emily Dickinson announced, “I have dared to do strange things—bold things;” asserted her independence “and have asked no advice from any;” and declared she succumbed to temptation “I have heeded beautiful tempters.”  None of this would have been acceptable in her narrow society in Amherst. 

Her friend & first editor, Higginson, reflected that her "wantonness of overstatement" exhausted him. “She was much too enigmatical a being for me to solve in an hour’s interview, and an instinct told me that the slightest attempt at direct cross-examination would make her withdraw into her shell; I could sit and watch, as one does in the woods; I must name my bird without a gun, as recommended by Emerson.”

Much Madness is divinest Sense-
To a discerning Eye-
Much Sense - the starkest Madness-
'Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail-
Assent - and you are sane-
Demur - you're straightway dangerous-
And handled with a Chain-
Emily Dickinson 1830-1886

Madonnas attributed to Parmigianino (Italian painter, 1503–1540)

Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino, Madonna and Child with Angels and St. Jerome or Madonna with the Long Neck


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino,  Madonna and Child with Saints


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino,  Virgin and Child


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino, Rest on the Flight to Egypt


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino, The Holy Family


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino, Virgin and Child with an Angel


Attributed to Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Italian painter, 1503–1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino, Virgin and Child

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.