September 18, 2022

1. Ukraine

Ukraine’s recent victories were surprising for their scale and swiftness. The military expert Lawrence Freedman summarized Russia’s defeat as “gradually, then suddenly.” Freedman quoted Hemingway:
“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Freedman writes, “As with bankruptcy so with military defeat. What appears to be a long, painful grind can quickly turn into a rout.... This is not unusual in war. We saw it happen with the Afghan Army in the summer of 2021.”

The economist Paul Krugman said that Russia’s defeat reminded him of Dornbusch’s Law, which says, “Financial crises take much, much longer to come than you think and then they happen much faster than you would have thought.”

We think we can add another trillion to the national debt, and the country will carry on much as before. We think we can forgive loans, lose control of our borders — we can do anything, it seems, and the country carries on. A nation’s decline is gradual, almost imperceptible, until one fine day it becomes sudden and dramatic. And then we’ll wish we’d acted responsibly, but it will be too late. And then we’ll be the ones sneaking over the border, trying to get into another country.

Scipio the Younger defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. As Carthage went up in flames, Scipio felt that he was seeing Rome’s future, he felt that someday Rome would be reduced to ruins, too. Perhaps Russia’s travails give us a glimpse of our own future. Gradually, then suddenly.

2. Andrea Wulf

Interesting piece in the New York Times by Andrea Wulf. In 2015, Wulf published a book about Alexander von Humboldt (the naturalist who’s known for his travels in South America). Recently she published a book called Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self; this book discusses the philosopher Schelling, who may have influenced Humboldt.

Schelling argued that the world is one, nature and man are akin, the universe is a vast organism. Schelling’s philosophy is at odds with Newton, who thought that the universe was composed largely of inert, lifeless matter. Schelling’s philosophy is also at odds with Descartes, who thought that only man had a soul, and that animals were mere machines. Romantic thinkers generally opposed the mechanical, Newtonian view of the universe; we see this opposition not only in Germany, but also in thinkers like Coleridge, Blake, Poe, etc.

Schelling believed, Wulf writes, that “the self and nature are in fact identical.... everything was one,” everything was “part of one great organism.” I’ve often argued that everything is connected, so my philosophy is akin to Schelling’s. But I reinforce Schelling’s argument by looking at quantum physics — the mysterious connectedness that we see in the Paired Particles experiment, etc. And I argue that the same mysterious connectedness exists in human nature — in telepathy and other occult phenomena.

Wulf ignores quantum physics (big mistake), and ignores the occult (another big mistake). Wulf gives us little besides vague generalizations about the organic nature of the universe. But quantum connectedness can be demonstrated experimentally, and occult connectedness can also be demonstrated experimentally. My approach enables us to see the connectedness of the universe in our everyday life, in our most intimate experience. The universe isn’t just organic, it’s magical. Wulf sees the organism, but misses the magic.1

3. Films

A. The French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard died recently at the age of 91. I saw his first film, Breathless (1960). Breathless is popular with both critics and the public — popular in its day and in more recent times. “Roger Ebert included [Breathless] on his ‘Great Movies’ list in 2003, writing that ‘No debut film since Citizen Kane in 1942 has been as influential,’ [and] calling revolutionary its ‘headlong pacing, its cool detachment, its dismissal of authority, and the way its narcissistic young heroes are obsessed with themselves and oblivious to the larger society.’”

I’m inclined to see these “virtues” as vices, I would prefer less detachment, less narcissism, I would prefer characters whom the viewer can sympathize with. Technical innovations don’t interest me, I prefer a good story. I admit, though, that Breathless is never dull and sometimes witty.

According to Wikipedia,

In Paris, in the Latin Quarter just prior to 1950, ciné-clubs (film societies) were gaining prominence. Godard began attending these clubs.... Godard was part of a generation for whom cinema took on a special importance. [Godard] said: “In the 1950s cinema was as important as bread.... We thought cinema would assert itself as an instrument of knowledge, a microscope... a telescope.... We watched silent films in the era of talkies. We dreamed about film. We were like Christians in the catacombs.”

B. I also saw Godard’s Contempt (1963), which deals with the decline of a marriage, and the contempt that the wife feels for the husband. On another level, Contempt is about the making of a movie, and a struggle between the claims of art and the claims of business. The movie being made is about the Odyssey, and the plot of this Odyssey-movie overlaps with the plot in the lives of the characters, so it’s a story-within-a-story.

Contempt is better than Breathless; it has more natural beauty, more depth of thought, and you can relate to the characters more.

C. Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything (2020) is a Netflix series that deals with various scientific topics. It’s about 5 hours long, and it’s narrated by Latif Nasser. I recommend it, it sets forth cutting-edge ideas in a clear, lively way. The episode on Benford’s Law is the best explanation I’ve seen of that subject.

The first episode of Connected discusses a bird called the Veery, which breeds and migrates early if there are going to be severe hurricanes later in the year. How does it know that severe hurricanes are coming? Does it have some occult connection to future weather? Does it have a prophetic gift? This is the only connection in the 5-hour series that I would call occult; the other connections are interesting, sometimes mysterious, but not occult.

4. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

I read a popular novel called The Alchemist. It was written in 1988 by Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian, and it has become an international bestseller. One might call it self-help literature in fictional form. It says that you can live your dream. It says that when we’re young, we have hopes and dreams, but later we lose hope and we stop dreaming. “The world’s greatest lie,” Coelho writes, is that “at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”

But if we live our dream, the universe will assist us through some sort of synchronicity, through the power of will, the power of intuition. We can make our dream a reality by the power of will. As Goethe said, “What one longs for in youth, one has in old age in abundance.”2 As an epigraph for The Alchemist, Coelho could have used this Nietzsche quote: “Do not reject the hero in your soul! Keep holy your highest hope!”3 And Coelho would approve of the quote that Melville kept on his desk: “Stay true to the dreams of thy youth.” Writers like Goethe, Nietzsche, and Melville are dreamers; they’re driven by their dreams, not by the hope of a paycheck or a position. So The Alchemist would strike a chord with them.

There are deep truths in The Alchemist, and in self-help literature: mind over matter, the power of will, the wisdom of dreams/intuitions. The Alchemist is short and easy to read. The plot holds your attention, and there are many interesting thoughts. I wouldn’t recommend it enthusiastically, and I wouldn’t call it a great book, but I don’t regret reading it.

[Spoiler Warning: If you’re thinking of reading The Alchemist, you may want to stop here.]

At the start of the novel, the protagonist, a Spanish shepherd boy named Santiago, has a recurring dream that a treasure awaits him at the Pyramids. He decides to sell his flock of sheep and pursue his dream. Much of the novel consists of Santiago’s journey through the desert to the Pyramids. Coelho talks much about the desert, and the people who live there.

Soon after Santiago sells his sheep, his money is stolen. Later he loses his money a second time. His guru, an alchemist, tells him that he will lose his money a third time because everything happens in threes: “You have already lost your savings twice.... I’m an old, superstitious Arab, and I believe in our proverbs. There’s one that says, ‘Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.’”

Coelho seems to understand desert culture, and this proverb about things happening three times is probably a genuine piece of Arab wisdom. It may well correspond with reality, and if it does, we would expect to find it in other cultures. In his Youtube videos, Alexander Waugh often quotes the Elizabethan maxim Tria Sunt Omnia (threes are all).4 When I discussed the Hermetic aspect of Hawthorne’s fiction, I mentioned the “three theme.”

Coelho says that the vast desert makes people feel small, and reduces them to a respectful silence:

In the desert, there was only the sound of the eternal wind, and of the hoofbeats of the animals. Even the guides spoke very little to one another. “I’ve crossed these sands many times,” said one of the camel drivers one night. “But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.” The boy understood intuitively what he meant, even without ever having set foot in the desert before. Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force.

I discussed this respectful attitude earlier in connection with Hemingway, in connection with the filmmaker Werner Herzog, and in connection with the psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz. Hemingway wrote, “When he and the boy fished together, they usually spoke only when it was necessary.... It was considered a virtue not to talk unnecessarily at sea and the old man had always considered it so and respected it.” The fisherman’s respectful silence in the midst of the sea is similar to the respectful silence in the midst of the desert that Coelho writes of.

Instead of using the word “dream,” Coelho sometimes speaks of a “Personal Legend.” He says that your Personal Legend is

what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream.... To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.

But if your dream is to be a pro athlete, is this likely to come true? To make you happy? To make the world better? Perhaps not all dreams/ambitions are equally valuable, equally worthy of being pursued. Perhaps the little boy who dreams of being Tom Brady would be better off trying to learn a humble skill, like carpentry.

One’s dreams may distract one from worldly matters and family responsibilities. Perhaps Melville’s wife wished that he did less dreaming, and paid more attention to practical matters (his wife’s family urged her to leave him). As Coelho says, “We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.” Santiago is ambivalent about pursuing his dream because he doesn’t want to leave his sheep:

He knew everything about each member of his flock: he knew which ones were lame, which one was to give birth two months from now, and which were the laziest. He knew how to shear them, and how to slaughter them. If he ever decided to leave them, they would suffer.

When we’re close to attaining our dream, we sometimes shrink back. Coelho says we have a “fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.... This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest.” Coelho has thought much about dreams, and looked at the subject from various angles.

In an earlier issue, I discussed James Allen, one of the creators of self-help literature. Allen said, “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it.... The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn.... Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” What Allen expresses as non-fiction, Coelho expresses as fiction.

Scholars have placed folk stories into categories. According to Wikipedia, The Alchemist belongs in Category 1645, “The Treasure At Home.” In this type of story, the hero leaves home in search of treasure, then finds that the treasure is actually at his home.

5. Rossetti

I read Evelyn Waugh’s biography of the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, written when Waugh was just 23. It’s an excellent artist-biography. At 225 pages, it’s long enough to be rich in detail, but short enough to hold your attention. It mentions countless art-works by Rossetti, which you can find on the Internet as you read (the images in the book are of little use). It pays equal attention to Rossetti’s life and work. Some of the most interesting pages are the pages devoted to other people, people in Rossetti’s orbit, such as William Morris. Waugh’s prose is first-rate, he makes you laugh occasionally, and he knows how to weave a lively narrative. Though Waugh is known as a novelist, perhaps his non-fiction is even better than his fiction.

Rossetti’s father was an Italian, a political refugee who came to London in 1821 and became a teacher of Italian and a Dante scholar. Rossetti’s father had a taste for mystical ideas and political conspiracies; Wikipedia calls him a “founder of the secret society Carbonari.”5 England had no immigration restrictions at this time, and it attracted political refugees — Marx from Germany, Mazzini from Italy, Kossuth from Hungary, etc.

Italian refugees and travelers were welcomed at the Rossetti home. “The guests took it in turn to discourse,” one visitor recalled, “and no one had delivered many phrases ere the excitement of speaking made him rise from his chair, advance to the center of the group, and there gesticulate as I had never seen people do except on the stage.”6

While growing up in this lively household, Rossetti dreamed of becoming a painter. He later wrote,

Among my earliest recollections none is stronger than that of my father standing before the fire when he came home in the London winter evenings, and singing to us in his sweet, generous tones.... I used to sit on the hearthrug listening to him, and look between his knees into the fire till it burned my face... and I would take paper and pencil and try in some childish way to fix the shapes that rose within me. For my hope, even then, was to be a painter.7

Here’s a drawing by Max Beerbohm, showing the young Rossetti lying on the floor, calmly sketching, while the Carbonari are conspiring and declaiming around him.

In 1848, when Rossetti was 19, he wrote an admiring letter to an older painter, Ford Madox Brown, asking for painting lessons. Brown interpreted Rossetti’s admiration as mockery, and resolved to have his revenge. Brown

presented himself at the Rossetti doorstep armed with a bludgeon. No blows were struck, however, and Rossetti did not know until some time later of the danger he had been in as he ran downstairs in eager welcome of his furious visitor. Convinced of his sincerity, Brown agreed to take Rossetti as a pupil, refusing to accept any payment.8

Brown became one of Rossetti’s closest friends, but Brown didn’t teach Rossetti for long, and he didn’t have much influence on Rossetti’s art.

When Rossetti was 20, he joined with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais to form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They recruited four other people so that, at its founding, the Brotherhood had seven members, seven being a number dear to mystics. (In his poem “The Blessed Damozel,” Rossetti wrote, “She had three lilies in her hand, And the stars in her hair were seven.”) Rossetti seems to have acquired from his father a taste for secret societies. Members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sometimes signed their paintings with the mysterious initials “PRB.”

Hunt and Millais were inspired by their reading of Ruskin’s Modern Painters. Ruskin had criticized the dark canvases and muted colors of the Old Masters. Ruskin had praised the Gothic and the medieval. Ruskin urged the artist to be faithful to nature.9

The Old Masters admired the chiaroscuro of painters like Caravaggio; they admired paintings in which darkness preponderated over light by a ratio of three to one; they admired paintings that had one beam of bright light, while leaving much of the canvas in shadow.

The Calling of St. Matthew

The Pre-Raphaelites rejected this approach, and rejected older British painters like Joshua Reynolds. The Pre-Raphaelites illuminated the whole canvas. Let’s look at a Pre-Raphaelite painting, Millais’ Christ in the House of His Parents.

This painting, with its realism, its detail, and its lack of sanctity, prompted a furious reaction. Dickens said that viewers should prepare themselves for

the lowest depths of what is mean, odious, repulsive, and revolting. You behold the interior of a carpenter’s shop. In the foreground of that carpenter’s shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-headed boy, in a bed-gown, who appears to have received a poke in the hand, from the stick of another boy with whom he has been playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness, that... she would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest gin-shop in England.

Two almost naked carpenters, master and journeyman, worthy companions of this agreeable female, are working at their trade; a boy, with some small flavor of humanity in him, is entering with a vessel of water; and nobody is paying any attention to a snuffy old woman who seems to have mistaken that shop for the tobacconist’s next door, and to be hopelessly waiting at the counter to be served with half an ounce of her favorite mixture.

Wikipedia explains the symbolism of the painting:

The painting depicts the young Jesus assisting Joseph in his workshop. Joseph is making a door, which is laid upon his carpentry work-table. Jesus has cut his hand on an exposed nail, symbolizing the stigmata and foreshadowing Jesus’ crucifixion. Some of the blood has fallen onto his foot. As Jesus’ grandmother, Anne, removes the nail with a pair of pincers, his concerned mother, Mary, offers her cheek for a kiss. Joseph examines Jesus’s wounded hand. A young boy, who would later be known as John the Baptist, brings in water to wash the wound, prefiguring his later baptism of Christ. An assistant of Joseph, who represents Jesus’ future Apostles, observes these events.

In the background of the painting various objects are used to further symbolize the theological significance of the subject. A ladder, referring to Jacob’s Ladder, leans against the back wall, and a dove which represents the Holy Spirit rests on it. Other carpentry implements refer to the Holy Trinity.

Millais painted the work when he was just 20. The criticism it provoked threatened to derail the careers of the young Pre-Raphaelites, but then Ruskin came to their defense. Ruskin became a friend and patron of Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelites. Gradually the reputation of the Pre-Raphaelites rose, and they began to receive lucrative commissions.

The Renaissance discovered perspective, and many Renaissance paintings are a window into distance. The Pre-Raphaelites, however, admired the medieval tradition, which used a pattern as background, rather than a view of far-off landscape. This background pattern is sometimes called a “diaper pattern.” Here’s a medieval illustration with a diaper pattern:

Below is a painting by Rossetti called The Blue Closet. Notice the medieval subject, the vibrant colors, and the background pattern. Notice, too, the melancholy expressions, typical of Rossetti.

One critic described The Blue Closet thus:

It describes, against a striking background of blue tiles, two queens playing on a clavichord with one hand each while their other hands play a set of bells and a lute. Two other ladies stand singing from sheet music. A red lily rises in the lower foreground....

The picture represents a series of balanced relations: the queen on the right plays the clavichord with her right hand, the queen on the left with her left, and their other hands are symmetrically playing the bells and lute. At the back we see the left arm of the woman on the right, the right of the woman on the left. A like set of balanced relations governs the arrangements of the colors, including the colors on the musical instruments (which are themselves organized in a set of double balances). The holly at the top balances the red-orange lily at the bottom.... The blue tiles, visible at the back wall and the floor, argue that the entire “closet” is indeed enclosed in their blue; and the pair of blue emblems on the bells and lute define another symmetry.

Below is Rossetti’s Wedding of St. George. Again we see a medieval atmosphere, vibrant colors, and melancholy expressions.

The sword and the dragon’s head allude to St. George’s role as the dragon-slayer. As with The Blue Closet, the right and left sides of the painting balance each other, mirror each other.

William Morris was slightly younger than Rossetti, and he became a disciple of Rossetti. Morris took the love of the medieval into the field of literature, writing fantasy novels with a medieval setting, such as The Well at the World’s End, and The Wood Beyond the World. Morris’ fiction influenced later fantasy writers; according to Wikipedia, “Tolkien considered much of his literary work to have been inspired by an early reading of Morris, even suggesting that he was unable to better Morris’ work.”

Morris also took the love of the medieval into crafts and manufacturing. He set up workshops, and made tapestries, wallpaper, furniture, books, etc. Morris’ products were popular, his business thrived. Rossetti played a role in Morris’ projects, designing stained-glass windows and other products. Rossetti lived for a time in Morris’ house, Kelmscott Manor. Rossetti was close to Morris’ wife, Jane Burden, and often used her as a model.

Morris’ workshop can be seen as a protest against capitalism — against cheap, machine-made goods. Morris was a socialist, read Marx, met Engels, and was “arrested and fined for public obstruction while preaching socialism on the streets.”10

* * * * *

Millais’ Ophelia (see below) is often considered representative of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, with its accurate depiction of nature, its use of flowers as symbols, and its literary subject.

According to Wikipedia,

The flowers shown floating on the river were chosen to correspond with Shakespeare’s description of Ophelia’s garland. They also reflect the Victorian interest in the “language of flowers,” according to which each flower carries a symbolic meaning. The prominent red poppy — not mentioned by Shakespeare’s description of the scene — represents sleep and death.

Millais worked from nature, painting on a riverbank “11 hours a day, six days a week, over a five-month period in 1851.” When winter came, Millais built a hut on the riverbank, and continued working. Millais complained about the flies and other problems: “Certainly the painting of a picture under such circumstances would be greater punishment to a murderer than hanging.” An accurate, detailed depiction of nature came at a cost.

Millais’ model for Ophelia was Elizabeth Siddal. Like Jane Burden, Elizabeth Siddal was a beauty with a working-class background. Elizabeth married Rossetti, but died soon afterwards, perhaps from suicide prompted by illness. Rossetti placed a volume of his own poems (a hand-made manuscript volume) in her grave. Several years later, however, he wanted to publish his poetry, so he had his friends exhume the buried volume. Elizabeth was a model for many of Rossetti’s works.

Rossetti lived in a large house in London. He sometimes invited friends to his back garden, where they mingled with Rossetti’s animals. Below is Max Beerbohm’s drawing of one of Rossetti’s garden parties. Note the snake, the kangaroo, and the pelican.

Rossetti was friends with various writers and artists. One of his closest friends was the poet Swinburne. The drawing above depicts Rossetti (lower left, sketching) and, moving clockwise, Whistler (with cane and top hat), Swinburne (with orange hair), Theodore Watts-Dunton, George Meredith (gazing skyward), William Morris (with beard and raised arm), William Bell Scott (peering over the wall), William Holman Hunt, John Ruskin (with large nose), Fanny Cornforth (sitting for Rossetti’s sketch), and in the center, Edward Burne Jones (holding a flower).

After the death of Rossetti’s wife (Elizabeth Siddal), Fanny Cornforth became Rossetti’s mistress and model. Like Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Burden, Fanny Cornforth had working-class origins. Some people say she had been a prostitute. Below is a drawing that Rossetti made of Fanny.

Below is Rossetti’s Bocca Baciata (The Kissed Mouth), for which Fanny was the model.

Waugh says that Bocca Baciata is a watershed in Rossetti’s career. After this painting, Waugh argues, Rossetti concentrated on sensual female portraits, which didn’t tax his talents, and could fetch high prices. Waugh writes,

The monotonous series of women’s heads that begins with Bocca Baciata and extends throughout the rest of his life was not so much due to a failure of Rossetti’s imaginative energy as to his grasping desire for money. Had he been orderly in his manner of life, or less self-indulgent, he could have afforded to risk a bad price, or even no price at all; he would have preferred to exercise some restraint on his comfort so that he might be free to paint as he wanted to.... He lacked the moral stability of a great artist.11

....It is not so much that as a man he was a bad man — mere lawless wickedness has frequently been a concomitant of the highest genius — but there was fatally lacking in him that essential rectitude that underlies the serenity of all really great art.12

I’m reminded of the view of Mencius that only a good man can write good prose. Chinese painters often tried to express “essential rectitude” in their painting. For them, a serene landscape could express a serene soul.

One might say that Ruskin was too puritanical, and Rossetti wasn’t puritanical enough. Ruskin needed a little more Rossetti, and Rossetti a little more Ruskin. Some of Rossetti’s best work was done in his 20s, when he was influenced by Ruskin, and patronized by Ruskin. Max Beerbohm imagines an awkward meeting between Ruskin and Rossetti’s mistress, Fanny Cornforth:

Rossetti had difficulty sleeping, used drugs to induce sleep, and became addicted to the drugs. He became paranoid, even insane, and he considered suicide. He was overweight, and drank heavily. He stayed up late, and slept late. Waugh calls him, “a broken man in body and mind at the age of forty-six.”13

When Rossetti was 49, and had lost touch with many of his old friends, he received an admiring letter, the sort of letter that he himself had once written to Ford Madox Brown. It was from a young writer named Hall Caine, who later became a bestselling novelist. Rossetti and Caine began writing each other frequently. “Correspondence with yourself,” Rossetti wrote to Caine, “is one of my best pleasures.... You cannot write too much or too often for me.”14 Such relationships rarely endure, but despite some ups and downs, this relationship did endure, and when Rossetti died at 53, Hall Caine was with him.

* * * * *

If you want to learn more about Rossetti, there are several books you can look at, besides Waugh’s biography:

The Rossetti Archive is a valuable web resource. Wikipedia has a list of Rossetti’s paintings.

© L. James Hammond 2022
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1. Andrea Wulf (born 1972) should not be confused with Karin Wulf (born 1964). Karin Wulf is the director of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and was previously the director of the Omohundro Institute at William & Mary.

Since I haven’t read Andrea Wulf’s books, I can’t be certain that she ignores quantum physics and ignores the occult. But she ignores them in her NewYorkTimes article, and I suspect she ignores them in her books. The occult is perhaps the most controversial topic in the intellectual world, so a scholar concerned about his reputation is likely to keep far away from the occult. back

2. This is the epigraph of Goethe’s autobiography. The German is, Was man in der Jugend wünscht, hat man im Alter die fülle. (Another epigraph of Goethe’s autobiography is Menander’s remark, “He who has not been thrashed has not been educated.” Perhaps the Menander epigraph appears in the second volume of Goethe’s autobiography?)

The Alchemist is saturated with the occult. Brazilians are probably more interested in the occult than Western Europeans, Americans, etc. Russians, too, have a strong interest in the occult. “To believe in esoteric, mind-reading or alchemy is typical for Russian elites.”(quote from Twitter) In an earlier issue, I said that the Russian intellectual Alexander Dugin was “drawn to Hermetism.” back

3. From Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Of the Tree on the Mountainside” back
4. I say “Elizabethan” but actually the idea may originate before Elizabethan times, it may originate in medieval times, or in the Gnostics, or in prehistoric folk wisdom. back
5. I mentioned the Carbonari when I discussed Robert Louis Stevenson’s story “The Pavilion on the Links.” back
6. See Waugh’s Rossetti, Ch. 1, #2. Waugh is quoting William Holman Hunt, the painter who was an early friend of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Hunt’s name is sometimes written “William Holman-Hunt.” back
7. Waugh’s Rossetti, epigraph to Ch. 1 back
8. See Waugh’s Rossetti, Ch. 2, #2, p. 27 back
9. Ch. 1, #1, p. 24. As the Pre-Raphaelites were influenced by Ruskin, so too they were influenced by a school of German painters, the Nazarene School; the Nazarenes were based in Rome, and often painted religious subjects. back
10. Wikipedia back
11. Ch. 3, #7, p. 98 back
12. Ch. 9, #2, pp. 226, 227. I discussed “essential rectitude” in an earlier issue. I used the term “integrity” rather than “rectitude.” I said that integrity is “refers to a person’s inner being, his essence, his foundation, not just his external actions.” back
13. Ch. 8, #1, p. 202 back
14. Quoted in Waugh, Ch. 8, #3, p. 215. Caine’s biographer writes, “[Caine and Rossetti] were both strangely and strongly attracted towards the supernatural and spiritual.... as, indeed, men of imagination usually are, and this mutual attraction undoubtedly served to bind the two writers together. Caine’s attraction to and study of Coleridge had undoubtedly prepared him for the advent of Rossetti, for the mystic imagery, the finished technique and the mandragora-like spell of the earlier poet were reproduced in detail by the later. Again, the supernatural in Shakespeare had received Caine’s particular study, and throughout his life it has been a powerful factor in stirring up his imagination.” Caine wrote a book called The Supernatural in Shakespeare. back