October 26, 2012

Looks like we’re losing our religion and going crazy up in here…thank goodness for the ongoing humor of Tom Jones.

Monologue from Lady Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Read by Diane Havens


Diane writes…

Unrestrained ambition and a lust for power … getting it all by any means possible.

Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” still resonates as long as power still corrupts.

Dramatically, there’s not a better woman’s role in a Shakespeare play….

Here, Lady Macbeth gives herself a pep talk before she makes Macbeth murder the king. She’s pure evil, and much worse than her husband …

The Faithful Run to It,  No. 5  from Little (Flash) Fiction, by Vincent Scarpa

Read by Xe Sands

Xe  writes…

Copyright 2012 Vincent Scarpa

Published 2012 by Little Fiction

Recorded with permission from author and publisher

This piece will hit people differently – we’ve all got our filters. For me, it’s about faith regained after an absence, after an inner negation.

What is it to be “saved?” Not in the religious sense, but in a metaphorical sense? Many of us go through a “saving” as young adults. There is this (often vehement) turning away from all that has gone before, as if we need to be “saved” from our old selves, our immaturity, our outdated perspective…saved even from what gave us joy. We run toward something other, we put it on like a new dress, we believe it is our new self, our mature self, our final self.

So what happens when that dress is pretty much shredded at some point, by actual life, by the idiotic and amazing and devastating things that happen to us? We can either look in the mirror, see our naked selves, flip out and reach for a new dress…or we can shed the shreds, see them for the overlay they were, and rediscover the self we tried and failed to run from. We can look and decide whether there is something of value there.

In this case, the overlay is a particular brand of faith, but it could be anything – a career, a location, a relationship. What will she do now – sit in the kitchen in a bloody dress, or whip that dress off and hop on the back of a metaphorical motorcycle?

Personally, I hope she chooses the Ducati…

 

Tom Jones – Book 2, Chapter 1, by Henry Fielding

Read by Mark Turetsky

Mark  writes…

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones over the course of four years.

Well, here we are at book 2! If you’ll recall, this whole book started with a chapter explaining what the subject of the completed work would be, the entirety of human nature. This chapter once again takes a break from the narrative in order to discuss the form the work will take. In this case, it’s based on the general form of “A History.” Indeed, the full title of the book is “The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling.” Nowadays, the most you’ll get tacked onto a title is perhaps “So-and-so: A Novel,” but usually even that’s left off.

What a modern reader needs to understand is that at this point in history, the novel didn’t have the sort of formalized convention that we have today; the novelist of the 18th Century needed to make up the format as he or she wrote. Many novels from the era need to explain why they’ve been written down in the first place, so you have epistolary novels (Pamela, Evelina, etc.), where the novel is presented as a series of letters, privy diaries (Roxana), or even travelogues (A Sentimental Journey). What Fielding is doing here with Tom Jones is to present it in the form of a history, albeit a fictional one, where he’s cutting out all of the boring parts and only presenting that which is important or entertaining. Note that he still justifies why this bit is being written down, rather than taking it as a given.

Let’s examine this chapter a bit, shall we? It’s the end of the story of the two brothers Blifil, the Doctor and the Captain. The Doctor has worked his magic: he’s met Bridget, introduced her to his brother, gotten them hitched and smoothed things over with the in-laws. Now that he’s served his purpose, Captain Blifil can discard him. Once again, Fielding shows us an evil character who is motivated largely, if not entirely, by a jealousy regarding education and intelligence. We might be tapping into one of Fielding’s bugbears here.

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