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The Cultural Tutor

A beautiful education.

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Areopagus LXXXIV

Areopagus Volume LXXXIV Welcome one and all to the eighty fourth volume of the Areopagus. There was no instalment last week — life intervened! But we return, a fortnight later, and as I look at the Moon it is the 16th century poet Pierre de Ronsard who comes to mind: Thou knowest, Moon, the bitter power of Love;’Tis told how shepherd Pan found ways to move,For little price, thy heart; and of your grace,Sweet stars, be kind to this not alien fire,Because on earth ye did not scorn...

8 days ago • 21 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXXIII Welcome one and all to the eighty third volume of the Areopagus. During a rather comical encounter with an amphibian today, I remembered that the great and witty poet Kobayashi Issa wrote hundreds of haikus about the creeping creatures of the world. Here is one of them: A huge frog and I / staring at each other / neither of us moves I could not have put it better! But the frog I had to leave, for an Areopagus demanded to be written, and written it has been... I -...

21 days ago • 21 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXXII Welcome one and all to the eighty second volume of the Areopagus. Last week's missive was rather a wordy affair — which is no bad thing from time to time! But, in the interests of that very time, this week's Areopagus shall be less copious in scope. Or, as Odin says in the Hávamál: The babbling tongue, if a bridle it find not,Oft for itself sings ill. So, let a bridled instalment of the Areopagus commence! I - Classical Music Chansons Grises — 5: L'heure exquise...

29 days ago • 20 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXXI Welcome one and all to the eighty first volume of the Areopagus. Yesterday I was caught up in a shattering thunderstorm the like of which I haven't seen for years. But "seen" is almost the wrong word; I felt the thunder shaking the earth, the skies, and my bones. The great Epicurean poet Lucretius wrote about such storms over two thousand years ago — it was his words that came to mind: Lest, perchance,Concerning these affairs thou ponderestIn silent meditation, let me...

about 1 month ago • 26 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXX Welcome one and all to the eightieth volume of the Areopagus. No poetry to sing us in this week, neither any timely musing nor comment on the weather — the Areopagus begins at once! I - Classical Music Zadok the Priest & the Champions League Anthem George-Frederick Handel (1727) & Tony Britten (1992) Imagine you have just been asked to write an "anthem" for the world's most prestigious club football competition, one with a long and storied history, watched by millions of...

about 1 month ago • 23 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXIX Welcome one and all to the seventy ninth volume of the Areopagus. May soon approaches — let us make the most of these final April days while we can! But, I wonder, what is the spirit of April? TS Eliot took a rather dim view of things: April is the cruellest month, breedingLilacs out of the dead land, mixingMemory and desire, stirringDull roots with spring rain. While Geoffrey Chaucer, six centuries earlier, found in April the beginning of a year's joy: Whan that Aprill...

about 2 months ago • 17 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXVIII Welcome one and all to the seventy eighth volume of the Areopagus. There is only one way to begin this week's missive: with Lord Byron, who died 200 years ago yesterday. He was thirty six at the time and had fallen sick in Missolonghi. Why was he there? To support the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Enough of poetry — the time had come to put his money where his mouth was, and literally so. Byron poured everything he had into the Greek cause,...

about 2 months ago • 22 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXVII Welcome one and all to the seventy-seventh volume of the Areopagus... and we're back. At the beginning of 2024 I said the Areopagus would have a month-long hiatus while I worked on something else, not wishing to divide my attention from giving you the best I can. That month turned into three. I hope, in time, you will think this intermission worthwhile. For now all I can say, this being the headline, is thank you. These last few weeks I have received wonderful messages...

2 months ago • 19 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXVI Welcome one and all to the seventy sixth volume of the Areopagus — simultaneously the closing of 2023 (I wrote it "last year") and the opening of 2024! But first, as they say, I interrupt your broadcast to make an important announcement: this will be the last Areopagus until February. There are some projects at hand that demand full attention. And so it would be a disservice to you, my Gentle and Perceptive Readers, were I to divide my attention between those projects...

6 months ago • 30 min read

Areopagus Volume LXXV Welcome one and all to the seventy fifth volume of the Areopagus. Winter is at the door; the Solstice has passed and with it many an ancient festival is upon us. Jollity, mystery, sanctity, loneliness, passion — 'tis a season for feelings many and all deep. It was John Milton that first came to mind when, in the cheerful chaos of London, I saw the Christmas lights today: Ring out ye crystal spheres!Once bless our human ears (If ye have power to touch our senses so)And...

6 months ago • 20 min read
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