Friday, 28 September 2018

Max Richards shares 10: Email retrieval on Auden and religion


Email from Max Richards, 5th April 2011:

This is the title of a short essay in Craig Raine, Haydn & the Valve Trumpet, Faber 1990. Read it, accept it, and call off your projected gathering on the topic!

On the other hand, read it, demolish it and then do your thing...

Just chanced on my copy of Raine in a box tother day, and only just now looked down the contents page.

How goes it, anyway?
To my surprise I spent time Sunday morning in the Castlemaine Anglican church, because my friend Lorender Freeman of Barkers Creek is a keen Anglican there, and an old longlost friend who now lives in C., was to be playing the cello with a small group for just that session. Bob Long, doctor and cellist. The session was for children first, and they sat on the floor up front and were engaged in conversation by the junior priest. The senior one is the great Rev Ken, whose surname will come to me in a moment. Ken has done much for J. S. Neilson in the past and introduces art and lit into church activities constantly.

The only person I chatted with however was Lorender, and now I remember your Eastern Hill project, I really must tell him what I can in case it engages him.

So Philip, take a moment and tell me if anything is to be added to what you told me before...

Best from Max

Email from Philip Harvey, 6th April 2011:

Dear Max,

Ken Parker is a good friend of ours and we have given talks at his weekends. Last time Carol [O'Connor] talked about Julian of Norwich and I talked about, I cannot remember, John Donne &c., I think. Oh yes, Ken is one of the wonders of humanity. Sometimes Ken is on the Advisory Committee of ISS, the forum that is having Auden tonight. Stories about Ken and his effect on Castlemaine are many.

I have never seen the Raine, but I know the book. Raine is married to Anne Pasternak Slater, the woman who edited George Herbert, so I suppose it could be worth seeing. I’d like to know the central thesis. There' really no end to what can be said about Auden, or his religion, there is nothing you can say that is definitive. You could spend the whole night just talking about Horae Canonicae.

Hope to see you tonight,

Philip

Return email from Max Richards, the same day:

Crikey, it's tonight! sorry, Marilyn and I are in Kavisha Mazzella's choir Wednesday evenings.

Raine is very negative about Auden who he thinks went off after he found certainty. But a good para or three on Kierkegaard's categories as Auden embraced them. Not that the great K. and I are intimate.

Did you find at unimelb arts faculty admin, Dr Michelle Borzi whose Auden PhD was done under yr Jesuit poet-scholar? Early morning and names escape me.

Ah yes Ken Parker. Someone should I dunno make a tv doc about him or maybe he will write his own book.

best to you both and also Bridie and the bunny whose name escapes me...for the moment.

Max

Reply the same day from Philip Harvey:

     > Raine is very negative about Auden who he thinks went off after he found certainty.

He took a leap of faith, which is not the same as finding certainty. It was the Nazis who had certainty and that's what Auden is so worried about. Auden is really a humanist, he is after the meaning of being human. In New York in 1939-41 he needs to know that there is something to counter fascism and much to his surprise discovers that it's Christianity

> But a good para or three on Kierkegaard's categories as Auden embraced them.

O yes, K. is very important. He also says that our relationship with God is necessarily personal and 'existential'. He also states that everyone has choice and our choices are decisive, both things of great importance to Auden.

> Not that the great K and I are intimate. Did you find at unimelb arts faculty admin, Dr Michelle Borzi whose Auden PhD was done under yr Jesuit poet-scholar? early morning and names escape me. 


Steele and Borzi, yes she is coming.

> Ah yes Ken Parker. Someone should I dunno make a tv doc about him or maybe he will write his own book.

It is doubtful if Ken would write a book, he's on about people first and himself somewhere near first as well. You should see inside the Vicarage, we stayed there once. The artwork and the libraries, incredible and completely him.

> best tyou both and also Bridie and the bunny whose name escapes me

Fluffy

More on Auden sometime.

Philip

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Stately (September)


Yes is the author’s last word, linked by its ess to Stately. Yes is much easier to understand than Stately. Why did he choose the word, standing like an ornate boss at the opening? The story is set neither in blossoming April nor shilly-shallying September, but in what Italians call Estate. The first character veers Wildely between stately and plump, as does the female lead, though we do not laugh at the words’ incongruity when referred to her. We peer widely, rather. Stately forewarns us of the State of Ireland, of which we’ll hear much, coming about out of famine.