It is the second day of Advent, and it could not feel less like winter. The sun is shining, the wind has stopped shaking all the trees, and it feels alot more like spring than anything else. The sweet and creative Nilenna has desided to bring some christmas spirit into our lifes, and with her magic book she will each day pick a person to win one of her lovely gifts. I had planned to introduce one christmas movie each day as a small advent calendar on this blog, but since I'm busy with school and work (as usual) this has to wait until another year. Instead, I would like to join in on somebody elses calendar instead. Maybe it will feel abit more like christmas?

(click on the picture to visit the lovely Nilenna and to read about her calendar)


Great Lovers #1

Paolo and Francesca
(13th century)

Francesca da Rimini was the daughter of the Lord of Ravenna, Guido da Polenta, in the second half of the 13th century. She was married off to Giovanni Malatesta, son of the Lord of Rimini to seal the peace between the two families. Because of Giovanni's deformity, Guido was affraid that Francesca would refuse him, so they deceived Francesca by arranging a proxy marriage with Giovanni's handsome brother, Paolo. She was unaware of this until the morning after, and then it was too late. Francesca and Paolo had fallen in love and soon became lovers. It all came to an abrupt end when Giovanni found them out, returnt secretly to Rimini and to Francesca's room. Paolo tried to escape but was caught by his jacket on a piece of metal in the trapdoor. Giovanni ran to kill him, with a rapier in his hand, but Francesca ran between them and caught the blade in her bosom.

The tale of Paolo and Francesca is mentioned in one of my favorite cantos of Dante's Divine Comedy. In Infero, Canto 5, The lovers are placed in the second circle of Dante's inferno, where lustful sinners are being punished.
According to the Divine Comedy, Paolo and Francesca had read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, were seduced by it and then became lovers. Other famous lovers, like Dido (lover of Aeneas), Cleopatra (lover of Mark Antony and Julius Ceasar), Helen and Paris, Achilles (lover of Polyxena) and Tristan (lover of Isolde), are also mentioned in the same canto.

As soon as the gust curved them near to us,
I raised my voice to them, "O wind-worn sould,
Come speak to us if it is not forbidden."

Just as the doves when homing instinct calls them
To their sweet nest, on steadily lifted wings
Glide through the air, guided by their longing,

So those souls left the covey where Dido lies,
Moving toward us through the malignant air,
So strong was the loving-kindness in my cry.

"O, mortal man, gracious and tenderhearted,
Who through the somber air come to visit
The two of us who stained the earth with blood,

"If the king of the universe were our friend,
we would then pray to him to bring you peace,
Since you show pity for our wretched plight.

Gustave Doré: Paolo and Fransesca da Rimini (19th century)

Anselm Feuerbach: Paolo and Fracesca (19th century)

Gustave Doré: Paolo and Francesca (19th century)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Paolo and Francesca (1819)

Marie-Philippe Coupin de la Couperi: The Tragic Love of Francesca da Rimini (1812)

George Frederic Watts: Paolo and Francesca (1872-84)

Gustave Doré: Paolo Kissing Francesca (1890)

Gaetano Previati: Paolo and Francesca

Louis Rubio: Pablo and Francesca (19th century)

Alexandre Cabanel: The Death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta (1870)

Ary Scheffer: Fracesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta appraised by Dante and Vergil (1854)

William Dyce: Paolo and Francesca (19th century)

Sir Frank Dicksee: Paolo and Francesca (1894)


Even though I still have about three weeks left until my last exam, and even though I'm working most days this christmas, I've already planned which books I would like to read inbetween my working hours. Which books will you read this christmas?

I hope I will have the time to read:

Peter S Beagle ~ The Last Unicorn
"The unicorn herself seems to glow, but there is something troubling her. Is she really the last? She goes on a quest to find the others, with a magician and a woman. Will the quest be successful? Or will the unicorn be trapped with the others?

Ransom Riggs ~ Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
"A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the clumbling ruins of Miss Perengrine's Home fro Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedroom and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here were more than just peculiar"

Erin Morgenstern ~ The Night Circus
"The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rives, and it is only ope at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway - a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhoon for this purpose by their mercurial instructors."

John Le Carré ~ Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
"It has now beyond doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by Moscow Centre, has burrowed his way into the highest echelons of British Inteligence. His treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. It is clear that the double agent is one of its own kind. But which one? George Smiley is assigned to identify him. And once identified, the traitor must be destroyed."

Patricia A McKillip ~ The Bards of Bone Plain
"Scholar Phelan Cle is researching Bone-Plain, which has been studied for the last 500 years, though no one has been able to locate it as a real place. Archaeologist Jonah Cle, Phelan's father, is also hunting through time, piercing history together from forgotten trinkets. His most eager disciple is Princess Beatrice, the king's youngest daughter. When they unearth a disk market with ancient runes, Beatrice pursues the secrets of a lost language that she suddently notices all around her, hidden in plain sight."

William Boyd ~ Any Human Heart
"Logan Mountstuart's long life is both ordinary and extraordinary. A writer, a spy and later an art dealer, Logan mixes with the men and women who shaped the twentieth century. But he is also a son, a husband and a lover, and he makes the same mistakes we all do in his search for happiness."

George R R Martin ~ A Feast for Crows
"After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears... But as in the aftermath of any climatic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead."

William Goldman ~ The Princess Bride
"Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his forune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leavs survivors - her heart is broken"

William Shakespeare ~ The Complete Works
Planning to read some of the plays I haven't read yet.

Ian McEwan ~ The Child in Time
"Stephen Lewis, a successful author of children's books, takes his three-year-old daughter on a routine Saturday morning to trip to the supermarket. While waiting in line, his attention is distracted and his daughter is kidnapped."

Have you read any of these books?

(descriptions from bookdepository and shelfari)


... "The old ways are lost", you sang as you flew, and I wondered why

Two weeks and four days until my first exam. The last month has been pretty hard with some really bad news. Still, I'm not here to share the negative news, but some positive news instead.
On the 5th of April I'm going to fulfill a dream of mine. I'm going to see and hear one of the greatest artist on this planet, an artist I've dreamt of seeing perform since I was 12 years old.

(Here are some previous written entries about her)

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