Beyond the Tunnel of History: A revised and Expanded Version - download pdf or read online

By Jacques Darras, Daniel Snowman

ISBN-10: 0333533283

ISBN-13: 9780333533284

ISBN-10: 1349206903

ISBN-13: 9781349206902

A revised and increased model of the 1989 BBC Reith lectures. different paintings via the writer comprises "Arpentage de l. a. poesie contemporaine", and "Conrad and the West". different paintings via the editor contains "America when you consider that 1920" and "Kissing cousins: an interpretation of British and American culture".

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Additional info for Beyond the Tunnel of History: A revised and Expanded Version of the 1989 BBC Reith Lectures

Sample text

This is a delicate matter, one for which neither Robespierres nor de Sades are called for. The aggressive nationalism of the populist lawyer, no less than the enlightened indecisiveness of the cynical aristocrat, has little place in the new Europe now emerging. I would rather tunnel further back for models of the future - reculer pour mieux sauter - and look to the Duchy of Burgundy for inspiration. The creators of the new, larger Burgundy require a touch of English humour, a sprinkling of French wit, a dose of Flemish truculence, and above all an imaginative and tolerant dedication to the polyphony of a genuinely democratic culture.

But they did much the same when expropriating as peculiarly French the great cathedrals of Rouen, Rheims, Arniens, Orleans and Chartres, which were all built, so the historians tell us, as bastions of 'Frenchness' against the irreligious barbarians of the north. Of course these great edifices are art fran~ais. But fran~ais was in origin Frankish. France, Ruskin suggests, was built on a conjuring trick. Put plainly, it is the story of northern invaders getting slowly sucked into a Roman ambience, forsaking their Germanic tongue and eventually Travelling Back 51 being made to renege on any northern connection.

Thus the slower pace at which the French language evolved on the Belgian side, hampered as it was by the ponderous proximity of German and Flemish, is sometimes said to account for a bursting and flowering of a peculiarly Belgian form of 'nonsense' as in the poetry of Michaux or the jokes of Raymond Devos, or the visual jokes of painters like Magritte and Delvaux. Yet I am inclined to think that that surrealist imagination was already there in medieval times. There was, for instance, the poetry of fatras (nonsense poetry) produced by the school of Arras.

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Beyond the Tunnel of History: A revised and Expanded Version of the 1989 BBC Reith Lectures by Jacques Darras, Daniel Snowman


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