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  1. #1
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    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

    The following are items that show up in both the Ramsey case and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (book, play and movie);

    "Sandy Stranger had a feeling at the time that they were supposed to be the happiest days of her life, and on her tenth birthday she said so to her best friend Jenny Gray who had been asked to TEA at Sandy's house. The speciality of the feast was PINEAPPLE CUBES WITH CREAM, and the speciality of the day was that they were left to themselves. To Sandy the unfamiliar PINEAPPLE had the authentic taste and appearance of happiness and she focussed her small eyes closely on the pale gold cubes before she scooped them up in her SPOON, and she ... Both girls saved the CREAM to the last, then ate it in SPOONFULS."

    Pineapple was found in JonBenet's intestine. A bowl with pineapple and milk and a spoon next to a glass with a tea bag in it were found in the home.

    ""Oh dear," said Rose out loud one day when they were settled to essay writing, "I can't remember how you spell 'possession.' Are there two s's or -?""

    'Possession' was misspelled in the ransom note.

    "It was impossible to know how much Miss Brodie planned by deliberation, or how much she worked by instinct alone. However, in this, the first test of her strength, she had the VICTORY."

    The ransom note was signed off "Victory S.B.T.C" .

  2. #2
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    "These were placed in a a vase beneath the portrait, upon a lectern which also held an OPEN BIBLE ..."

    An open Bible was found in the library of the home.

    "Having confided her finds to Sandy, they had embarked on a course of research which they called "research," piecing together clues from remembered conversations illicitly overheard, and passages from the big DICTIONARIES."

    A dictionary, dog-eared on one corner, was found in the home.

    ""Who OPENED THE WINDOW?""

    A window in the basement was found open.

    "Monica, whose face was becoming very red, swung the ATTACHE' case which held her books, ... "

    An attache is mentioned in the ransom note.

    "She [Miss Brodie] looked older than that, she was suffering from an INTERNAL GROWTH."

    Patsy had ovarian cancer.

    "She [Miss Brodie] added, "Art is greater than science."

    "I think Miss Brodie is more interested in art, ma'am," said Sandy. Pictures and drawings I mean. said Sandy. "Miss Brodie told us so. Music is an interest to her but art is a passion, Miss Brodie said." "I [Miss Brodie] do indeed," said Miss Brodie, "but 'like' is hardly the word; pictorial art is my passion."

    Patsy painted with oils and acrylics.

    The ransom note begins; "We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction." Individualism is stressed in the book and the Brodie set is characterized as being separate from the rest of the student body:

    ""Phrases like 'the team spirit' are always employed to cut across INDIVIDUALISM, love and personal loyalties," she had said."

    "Sandy thought this might be an attempt to keep the Brodie set together at the expense of the newly glimpsed INDIVIDUALITY of its members."

    "It was the Brodie set to which Joyce Emily mostly desired to attach herself, perceiving their INDIVIDUALISM; ... "

    I [Miss McKay] am happy to see you are devoted to Miss Brodie. Your loyalty is due to the school rather than to any one INDIVIDUAL."

    "They [the Brodie set] had no team spirit and very little in common with each other outside their continuing friendship with Jean Brodie."

    "There is always a difference about Miss Brodie's girls, and the last two years I [Miss McKay] may say a marked difference."

    "The lack of team spirit alone, the fact that the Brodie set preferred golf to hockey or netball if the preferred anything at all, were enough to SET THEM APART, ... It was impossible for them to escape from the Brodie set because they were the Brodie set in the eyes of the school."

  3. #3
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    In Death of Innocence Patsy goes on for several paragraphs about how the color purple played a role in her Christmas '96;

    "I [Patsy] had noticed a large roll of beautiful purple velvet ribbon on one of the shelves. ... I usually decorated with gold, red, or green, but on that day the color purple particularly caught my eye. Why not? I thought. Purple would be a different look this year. The family won't expect it. And it could be beautiful. With the ribbon in hand, I started back upstairs to trim the tree. ... I took the roll into the living room and started interweaving the ribbon through the branches. ... I had unconsciously woven death into the fabric of our Christmas celebration, ... An assurance had been handed to our family with the presence of the color purple. .. Purple did have a place afterall."

    In the book purple is mentioned several times, the student's uniforms were purple. In the movie Miss Brodie wears a series of purple shaded outfits. And in the portrait that Lloyd does of her, she is wearing a purple dress.

    The characteristics of Miss Brodie and members of the set also match Patsy's characteristics (and Jonbenet's as well);

    Sandy Stranger .. was famous for her vowels sounds .. "Well, come and RECITE for us please ... "

    "Jenny Gray .. She was going to be an ACTRESS."

    Patsy did dramatic recitations in her pageants.

    "Rose .. being addicted to the CINEMA."

    The ransom note is filled with words and phrases from books and movies.

    " ... Sandy for psychology."

    Patsy speaks of her subconscious and her dreams in DOI.

    "You [Eunice] are and Ariel.

    "Patsy associated the angel theme with JonBenet.

    "Here's one of Eunice in her HARLEQUIN OUTFIT, ... "

    One of JonBenet's pageant costumes was a harlequin outfit.



    "Rose Stanley was famous for sex. ... her BLONDE short hair, ... " "Rose, who was famous for her sex-appeal." "Rose will be a great lover. She is above the common moral code, it does not apply to her."

    JonBenet was dressed provocitavely in her pageants and had suggestive expressions coached into her. Her hair was lightened by Patsy.

    The fusion of identity between Patsy and her daughter has been discussed by investigators of the case. The theme of identity over-lap and even fusion is part of the book;

    "Teddy Lloyd's passion for Jean Brodie was greatly in evidence in all the portraits he did of the various members of the Brodie set. He did them in a group during one summer term, wearing their panama hats each in a different way, each hat adorning, in a magical transfiguration, a different Jean Brodie under the forms of Rose, Sandy, Jenny, Mary, Monica and Eunice."

    "By the time their friendship with Miss Brodie was of seven years' standing, it had worked itself into their bones, so that they could not break away without, as it were, splitting their bones to do so."

    "Sandy looked back at her companions, and understood them as a body with Miss Brodie for the head. She percieved herself, the absent Jenny, the ever-blamed Mary, Rose, Eunice and Monica, all in a frightening littel moment, in unfied compliance to the destiny of Miss Brodie, as if God had willed them to birth for that purpose."

    "As she turned, Miss Brodie put her arm around Rose's shoulder and thanked Mr. Lloyd for his help, as if she and Rose were one."

    In the CNN interview Patsy said (paraphrasing) "We believe there are two people that know what happened, the killer and someone that person may have confided in". From the book;

    "So she confided according to what seemed expedient AT THE TIME, and was in fact now on the look-out for a girl amongst her set in whom she could confide enirely, ... Of necessity there had to be just ONE girl; two would be dangerous."

    The words confide, confidante, confidences are used at least ten times in the book. There are other similarities between the writing of the ransom note and Muriel Spark's writing in general. In The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Spark used the phrase -at this time- or -at that time- repeatedly. "At this time" is used in the ransom note. Initialisms are capitalized and punctuated with periods in the note. This is exactly what Spark does in her work, she even capitalized and punctuated T.V. Spark's last novel was about a kidnapping that really did not happen.

  4. #4
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    very interesting,thanks for sharing!

    'Music is an interest to her but art is a passion'

    ..that sounds like Patsy as well.
    something to ponder:

    When the corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and the mortal have put on immortality, then shall we be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?

    The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law.
    But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1 Corinthians 15:54-57

  5. #5
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    YOU SHOULD READ THIS!!!!!!!

    For over a year I have been doing some heavy research on this very topic as well as its author Dame Muriel Spark and her other works. Folks Ive found my "AHA!" moment.

    Muriel Spark: The Only Problem (1984)

    This novella deals heavily with the book of Job, terrorism, and a little acronym

    Snip

    The Only Problem is a short novel (about 130 pages) about Harvey, a wealthy, self-proclaimed student (as opposed to 'scholar') who is writing a treatise on Job. He has abandoned his wife, Effie, about a year before the narrative begins, and can't be persuaded by either his brother-in-law Edward or sister-in-law Ruth to provide a cash settlement in a divorce that both he & his wife want. Ruth travels to France with Effie's illegitimate child Clara to convince Harvey to do the moral thing, but, instead, separates from Edward and becomes Harvey's lover. Soon, all are caught up in events beyond their control when Effie joins a terrorist group that incites violence throughout the region where Harvey & Ruth are living. Harvey can't reconcile the idea of the wife he used to love with the terrorist she has become; nor can he admit that while he doesn't want to live with Effie, he loves her and while he doesn't love Ruth, he wants to live with her.

    Ruth flees the police surveillance and media-frenzy and returns to live with Clara's father. Retreating from the scholarly, intellectual discussions common in her life with Harvey, Ruth adapts to the environment of her new lover, Ernie, even taking on his distinctive lower-class accent. Without Ruth or Effie, Harvey's thoughts about Job become more obsessive, his perception of being tortured more pronounced. In the end, Ruth, about to give birth to Harvey's child, moves back to France to raise Clara and the new child with Harvey. A year after the narrative begins, Edward comes to visit them, Harvey has finished his work on Job, a sense of harmony in the lives of all seemingly has been restored. With his writing on Job completed and his acceptance of Effie's political actions having resulted in her death, he states he will live a 140 years with his 3 daughters -- just like Job.

    Snip

    Harvey does not 'suffer' in the same way that Job suffers, but he is a 'tortured soul'. Harvey is very wealthy, yet chooses to live with only basic comforts. While he sees injustice in the world, he doesn't take action to prevent it. He regrets losing his wife, yet he is the one who walked away -- literally, on the autobahn -- from his marriage. He doesn't want people to be around him, yet cannot live completely as a hermit. He seeks to control others -- telling Edward to cut his hair; telling a maid that it is her fault that he will not bring his guest to the lunch she has prepared; wanting to be alone, but unable to tell Nathan, an unexpected guest and unknown conspirator of Effie's, to leave. Yet, the more Harvey seeks to control, the more the situation with Effie -- a situation he has no power to control at all - gets out of hand. The fallout from Effie's terrorist activities take over his life with everything from property searches, suspicions of wiretapping, constant police surveillance, lengthy interrogations, and a treatment by the media that makes him look more villainous than his terrorist-wife.

    Effie is indeed the reason for all the visitors (or comforters; This is a title of yet another important novella in my theory) who descend on him: Effie wants a divorce, Effie takes a lover, Effie has a baby. All of this provokes discussion of the rights and wrongs of the case. But finally Effie's high spirits erupt in a manner particularly favored by Mrs. Spark. From stealing chocolate bars, Effie has graduated to planting terrorist bombs in supermarkets and department stores. Effie has joined the F.L.E., the Front de la Liberation de l'Europe. A policeman is killed in Montmartre, and Effie's group is responsible. Finally Effie herself lies dead in a Paris morgue, her turbaned head lying bent at the same inquiring angle as that of Job's wife in the La Tour picture in Epinal.

    Could this have been part of a script for staging and the writing of RN's? Could this have played a roll in the mind set of a mentally ill woman? If I play Perry Mason, could the acronym of the terrorist group be a hint? S.B.T.C Spark's Book The Comforters (1957) be a confession from Patsy?


    The typing ghost
    The Comforters, Muriel Spark's first novel, was a brilliant blast against the realist fashion of its day. It treats madness and evil with the mirthful lightness that would become the hallmark of her fiction, writes Ali Smith


    The novel's heroine rents a flat in Kensington, where other tenants knock on the wall if she's too noisy; in other words, she lives a life not unlike those of lots of heroines in

    British realist literary fiction. But Caroline, who is working on a book about 20th-century fiction called "Form in the Modern Novel" ("I'm having difficulty with the chapter on realism"), is about to be subjected directly to the mystery of reality, when she starts being plagued by regular visits from an invisible being she names the Typing Ghost. The Typing Ghost interrupts her with sounds only Caroline can hear, of tapping typewriter keys and a voice that's both singular and plural, "like one person speaking in several tones at once". The voice insists on her fictionality, and that of everyone she knows.

    "They speak in the past tense. They mock me." Caroline is, understandably, a bit hurt to be told that her present-tense life is already a foregone conclusion, and that she isn't real.

    Is it real, the voice? Is it a literary version of the Holy Ghost? Or, as all her supposedly helpful friends insist, is she "imagining things", suffering from a "mild nervous disorder"? The hearing of voices is an age-old manifestation of saintliness, or madness.

    Caroline is no stranger to madness; she is, as it happens, piecing herself together after a breakdown, "forming ... words in her mind to keep other words, other thoughts, from crowding in ... She had devised the technique in the British Museum Reading Room almost a year ago, at a time when her brain was like Guy Fawkes night, ideas cracking off in all directions, dark idiot figures jumping around a fiery junk-heap at the centre". But we know, as readers - because we've picked up the evidence and because the Typing Ghost, since this is a novel, is every bit as "real" as Caroline herself, and has unsettled our usual acquiescence to the prerequisites of the form - that Caroline is full of good sense. We know this particularly because of the way she challenges the frightful non-character, Mrs Hogg (the first of Spark's holy devils, whose name, whose selfish pride and whose foulness are surely glittering references to James Hogg's 19th-century Scottish fable of the Calvinist elect, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner). The Comforters is, after all, a book about the (literal) formation of character, and it's typical of Caroline that she bridles at the "attempt being made to organise our lives into a convenient slick plot", wholeheartedly arguing with the Typing Ghost. "It's a matter of asserting free will."
    It is all held so lightly, so playfully. But this paralleling of cheap smuggling mystery and Roman Catholic mystery, this mischievous, merry challenge to British literary realism, this blatant parody of contemporary cold-war surveillance plotting and paranoia becomes a life-and-death struggle in the end.

    According to Spark, the notion of the Typing Ghost came from hallucinations she involuntarily gave herself by taking Dexedrine: "I could see that to create a character who suffered from verbal illusions on the printed page would be clumsy. So I made my main character 'hear' a typewriter with voices composing the novel itself."
    "Is the world a lunatic asylum then? Are we all courteous maniacs discreetly making allowances for everyone else's derangement?" Caroline asks her friend the Baron, one of her "comforters". This novel takes its title from the useless friends who comfort Job in the long Bible poem that considers the questions of human suffering and patience, the Book of Job, a text Spark studied and wrote about in the 50s and one to which she returned in her later fiction (especially in her novel about terrorism and morality, The Only Problem, in 1984). Caroline's comforters in her suffering, like Job's, are convinced only of their own righteousness: Laurence is obsessed with the cheap smuggling plot; the Baron sees devils in the same silly way as Mrs Hogg "hears" the Virgin Mary telling her which job to take.

    But the Book of Job's real formal characteristic is its dialogue, which allows human and God to address each other, and The Comforters is a dialogue, too, a raging, vibrant argument held in a perfectly disciplined matrix, and a near-impossible blend, in the process, of subjectivity and objectivity. Probably the most exciting formal subtlety of the novel, carried off with such wit on Spark's part, is the way in which Caroline and the Typing Ghost pass beyond their loggerhead positions in a dialogue between character and form itself to an admittance of something much more fluid - to what you might call a compromise, even an interplay.

    The early and middle parts of the novel reveal Caroline's hurt feelings at the Typing Ghost writing off her reality - and also the Ghost's hurt feelings at Caroline's criticisms of its lack of writerly talent. When Caroline challenges the Ghost's power as author and decides to go her own way, regardless of the plot, the Typing Ghost's vanity is ruffled. "It was all very well for Caroline to hold out for what she wanted and what she didn't want in the way of a plot. All very well for her to resolve upon holding up the action. Easy enough for her to criticise." The Ghost, peeved, spins the car in which Caroline is travelling off the road and breaks her leg - which, as it happens, does hold up the plot, even splits the book in two. Only Spark could so slyly, so hilariously, bend her form so as to have, on one page, her main character criticise her author for being too unimaginative to describe a hospital, then to follow it a page later with a full and unnecessary description of a hospital. If Caroline is hearing voices, then the voice is also hearing Caroline. Their working together is the novel's creative triumph, as well as a revelation of its final benignity

    The Comforters is very much a book about what books do, about language and how we use it. It takes issue with empty media and literary and society chatter, it critiques empty-voiced English cliché ("jolly good!", "absolutely perfect!"); it opens the moral ear to codified social responses and their underlying truths and shamefulnesses, the unsayable beneath what's said out loud. With objectivity, the context assumes morality. What critics have called Spark's "aesthetic of detachment" is really a Brechtian mode of connection.

    Spark wants her readers to think rather than feel. A self-conscious work of aesthetic surface-tension, The Comforters involves its readers by revealing the mechanics of our involvement. It treats madness and evil with a disciplined, liberating lightness, in much the same way that Spark, throughout her career, would liberate her readers from the vicissitudes of history and reality simply by redefining, each time, the terms of this "reality".

    It's worth remembering the influence on her work of the Scottish border ballad form, in which terrible things are reported with a dispassion that's almost merry; Sparkian dispassion, like Sparkian humour, is always a liberating device, and practically all of Spark's subsequent fiction has something of this novel's "curious rejoicing" in it.
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

  6. #6
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    I have tons more to share tomorrow...
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agatha_C View Post
    YOU SHOULD READ THIS!!!!!!!

    For over a year I have been doing some heavy research on this very topic as well as its author Dame Muriel Spark and her other works. Folks Ive found my "AHA!" moment.

    Muriel Spark: The Only Problem (1984)

    Effie joins a terrorist group that incites violence throughout the region where Harvey & Ruth are living. Harvey can't reconcile the idea of the wife he used to love with the terrorist she has become; nor can he admit that while he doesn't want to live with Effie, he loves her and while he doesn't love Ruth, he wants to live with her.

    Ruth flees the police surveillance and media-frenzy

    [SNIP]

    The fallout from Effie's terrorist activities take over his life with everything from property searches, suspicions of wiretapping, constant police surveillance, lengthy interrogations, and a treatment by the media that makes him look more villainous than his terrorist-wife.

    Effie is indeed the reason for all the visitors (or comforters; This is a title of yet another important novella in my theory) who descend on him: Effie wants a divorce, Effie takes a lover, Effie has a baby. All of this provokes discussion of the rights and wrongs of the case. But finally Effie's high spirits erupt in a manner particularly favored by Mrs. Spark. From stealing chocolate bars, Effie has graduated to planting terrorist bombs in supermarkets and department stores. Effie has joined the F.L.E., the Front de la Liberation de l'Europe. A policeman is killed in Montmartre, and Effie's group is responsible.
    Some intriguing stuff, I never thought to look at some of Spark's other work for potential clues. Thanks AC.
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  8. #8
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    Cynic,

    I have found so much that boggles my mind. I truly feel as if Patsy love of Dame Muriel Spark, played heavily in the events of that night and/or those leading up to it.

    Take "The Comforters" published 1984.... Its titled after the characters that show up during and after the protagonists traumatic/major events. Sound familiar?

    In the "Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (the novella not the movie) we find that Miss Jean Brodie has died of cancer 7 years after being dismissed from teaching at the school.

    Most disturbing is how Miss Brodie was grooming one of her young students to take her place in the bed of her lover Mr Teddy Lloyd..

    "The Takeover" published in 1976...

    Muriel Spark, in The Takeover, suggests that since 1973, with the oil crisis and the onset of the new Dark Ages, the rich have lost even that insulated happiness. Sponged on, held up, ripped off, blackmailed, kidnapped, they have become an endangered species, their paintings, antiques, cash, and multiple international holdings mere invitations to swindle and looting; all their assets transfigured into liabilities. There has been "a change in the meaning of property and money," we are told….

    [There is a clear implication in The Takeover] that the rich and the crooked are birds of a feather, that the rich make the best survivors because they make the best crooks, and that the more sea-changes in the nature of reality there are, the more it's the same thing. The rich have the sufferings, to paraphase Auden, to which they are fairly accustomed.

    Spark enjoys the thought of charming larceny, and no writer of fiction, I suspect, can feel truly ill-disposed toward confidence men…. Spark's ironic sympathy for both victims and crooks (and especially for victims who become crooks) turns into a rather prim horror of promiscuous thieving and a too eagerly articulated notion that recently the world really has changed past all recognition. So she sounds, briefly, like the reactionaries in her own novel, who keep saying that things will never be the same again, and that "something is finished for always." She quickly picks herself up, though, and on the very next page remarks that if one of her characters had been able to envisage the reality to come, she "would have considered it, wrongly, to be a life not worth living."

    Wrongly is marvelous, it is the voice of the writer's sanity refusing to be left out of whatever world there is. It is striking that the only other sloppy passage in this brisk and brilliant book concerns "eternal life," which remains, Spark says, "past all accounting."

    Accounting too ambitiously ("a complete mutation"), or accounting not at all ("the whole of eternal life carried on regardless"), Spark momentarily loses her subject, which as the title of her novel suggests is neither money nor the pulsations of everlasting nature but greed and panic and the competition for limited space and a finite number of goodies.

    The Takeover is, strangely enough, a fake. Although it seems made for Hollywood … it is underneath all the glittering and showy details, a meditation upon the relation of art and religion. It compels us to search beneath the painted surface. Once we do, we see that it deals with the passing of eras, religions (save one!), pseudo-mystical concepts, prophecies, and earthly life…. The Takeover maintains that only one kind of truth can comfort us—to play with the title of her first novel [The Comforters]—and that heavenly wisdom can barely be glimpsed in earth-bound texts

    Patsy's favorite author wrote about terrorists, kidnappings, gruesome deaths, and inappropriate sex between young girls and older men...

    Keep reading as I have truck loads and I promise its very interesting stuff.
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

  9. #9
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    Jean Brodie.....

    Her sense of power originates from knowing her motivations, her strengths, her foibles and her desires. She acts on these instincts. Some of her power is maternal (though she is unmarried) and she nurtures the best of her girls, the "creme de la creme" as she calls them, as if they were her own daughters. She seizes opportunity for love, she rebels against anyone who tries to reign her in. But, does she over-reach herself or is she being unfairly treated as that most misunderstood of all creatures, a middle-aged, intelligent woman?


    Found above as part of a review on Amazon.com. I thought it was interesting. And also below:

    In a number of ways, the title character, a school mistress in an Edinburgh girls school, is a lot like two world figures she admits to admiring: Mussolini and Hitler. While being arbitrary and authoritarian herself, she exhibits contempt for all legitimate authority. While claiming to educate her students in the true sense of the word (i.e., to draw them out), she constantly labels and confines them by her preconceptions of what she believes their destinies to be. She also manipulates their trust, inappropriately shares adult information with them, and constantly tests their loyalty.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3UM6DJDN50OC1
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

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    Memento Mori: published 1959

    A case involving blackmail and intrigues over wills, multiple deaths and discoveries of secret scandals, almost a parodic update of a Victorian sensation novel. And she added to the mix an element of the uncanny, through which the existence of a transcendent, eternal and immaterial reality impinges on the lives of her ageing characters, reminding them of their mortality.

    This is the simple but brilliant device of an anonymous telephone caller who says, to all the principal characters at one time or another: "Remember you must die." They presume it is a nuisance caller, or suspect that one of their enemies or hostile relatives is trying to frighten them, but the caller speaks in different voices and accents to different people and has an unaccountable knowledge of their movements. Various explanations of the source of the calls are proposed, but none fits all the evidence. The police are baffled, and the retired Inspector Mortimer, himself a suspect in some eyes, concludes: "in my opinion the offender is Death himself" (ah the intruder). This, though literally absurd, is metaphorically as near as we get to a solution of the mystery.

    Jean Taylor, former servant and companion to Charmian, followed her employer into the Catholic church long ago just to be nice, but acquired from it a spirit of resignation which stands her in good stead as she lies in her hospital bed in the geriatric ward, racked with arthritis, and surrounded by other old ladies in various states of distress and decay – "the Grannies" as the nurses call them – who function as a kind of chorus in the novel, at once comic and pathetic. When her visitor, Dame Lettie, complains about the telephone calls, Jean recommends that she should try to do what the caller says. "It is difficult for people of advanced years to start remembering they must die," she says. "It is best to form the habit while young." The unregenerate Lettie concludes Jean must be getting senile.


    Memento Mori

    (is a Latin phrase translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die" or "Remember you will die".[2] It refers to a genre of artworks that vary widely but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their mortality, an artistic theme dating back to antiquity.)

    The thought came into its own with Christianity[citation needed], whose strong emphasis on Divine Judgment, heaven, hell, and the salvation of the soul brought death to the forefront of consciousness. Most memento mori works are products of Christian art[citation needed], although there are equivalents in Buddhist art. In the Christian context, the memento mori acquires a moralizing purpose quite opposed to the Nunc est bibendum theme of Classical antiquity. To the Christian, the prospect of death serves to emphasize the emptiness and fleetingness of earthly pleasures, luxuries, and achievements, and thus also as an invitation to focus one's thoughts on the prospect of the afterlife. A Biblical injunction often associated with the memento mori in this context is In omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua, et in aeternum non peccabis (the Vulgate's Latin rendering of Ecclesiasticus 7:40, "in all thy works be mindful of thy last end and thou wilt never sin.") This finds ritual expression in the rites of Ash Wednesday, when ashes are placed upon the worshipers' heads with the words "Remember Man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return."

    Prince of Orange René de Châlons died in 1544 at age 25. His widow commissioned sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, set against the painted splendour of his former worldly estate. Church of Saint-Étienne, Bar-le-Duc.
    The most obvious places to look for memento mori meditations are in funeral art and architecture. Perhaps the most striking to contemporary minds is the transi, or cadaver tomb, a tomb that depicts the decayed corpse of the deceased. This became a fashion in the tombs of the wealthy in the fifteenth century, and surviving examples still create a stark reminder of the vanity of earthly riches. Later, Puritan tomb stones in the colonial United States frequently depicted winged skulls, skeletons, or angels snuffing out candles.

    A version of the theme in the artistic genre of still life is more often referred to as a vanitas, Latin for "vanity". These include symbols of mortality, whether obvious ones like skulls, or more subtle ones, like a flower losing its petals.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori"]Memento mori - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
    Last edited by Agatha_C; 05-27-2012 at 09:10 PM.
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.


  11. #11
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    "Memento Mori" is also used to describe postmortem death photography, something that was very popular in the 19th century. Photos of the recently dead were taken, not only lying in bed or on couches, but posed as if they were alive. Photographers had special posing stands to prop up the bodies, and pupils were often painted on the eyelids to make it seem as if the deceased was alive. They did this especially with children because photographs were so expensive then that most people couldn't afford them. Often the "memento mori" was the only image of the child the family would ever have.
    THIS time, we get it RIGHT!

    This post is my constitutionally-protected opinion. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  12. #12
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    This was excellent! Ive included the link. its long and detailed a must read for those interested ......

    Snip


    GOD VERSUS THE AUTHOR (The Comforters)

    Mervyn knows, however, that his secrets are safe with Georgina, since she is not interested in reporting people to the police, but rather in getting hold of their soul:

    But he knew, she would never dissipate, in open scandal, the precious secret she held against him. He counted always and accurately on the moral blackmailer in Georgina, he had known in his childhood her predatory habits with other people’s seamy secrets.

    Most of all she cherished those offences which were punishable by law, and for this reason she would jealously keep her prey from the attention of the law. Knowledge of a crime was safe with her, it was the criminal himself she was after, his peace of mind if she could get it.

    Mervyn furthermore recounts: “It was not any disclosure of his crimes that he feared from Georgina, he was frightened of the damage she could do to body and soul by her fanatical moral intrusiveness”. Georgina tells him to “Repent and be converted”.

    The reader is informed about “Georgina’s lust for converts to the Faith” which is “terrifying, for by the Faith she meant herself.” Their confrontation ends with an argument about Andrew. Unfortunately, Mervyn is not only being blackmailed by Georgina.

    The main manipulations Caroline has to deal with are, first, her presence in a novel and, second, Georgina’s desire for control and interference. These two are clearly connected, as Ruth Whittaker asserts, Caroline struggles with the problem of exercising free will in a divine context, and her role as a Roman Catholic convert has frequent parallels with her role as a character in a novel. An audible, authorial voice exercises its omniscience over Caroline’s actions, and she has to come to terms both with the voice and the dictates of her faith. (1984, 91)

    Evidence of both tormentors are in the text when Caroline says, “the fact of the author and the facts of the Faith […] are all painful to me in different ways.” Caroline even links the novelist with Georgina; thus she connects her lack of artistic free will with that of the limitations of uncritical religion: “It stuck within her like something which would go neither up nor down, the shapeless notion that Mrs Hogg was somehow in league with her invisible persecutor.”

    In other words, Muriel Spark’s personal issues at the time of writing – the loss of independence and being bound by either God or a novelist – are also the principal theme of her first novel: [T]he difficulties experienced by the heroine on her conversion to

    Roman Catholicism are paralleled by the resentment she feels at being a character in a novel. Both roles entail a loss of freedom, or rather, a redefinition of freedom as part of a divine and structural coherence.” (Whittaker, 1979, 167) When Georgina disappears, Caroline is finally released of the burden of faith, in that she is now able to be content with her religion but at the same time remain critical of it. At the same time, when she “finally identifies the voices she hears as messages prompted by creative pressure rather than schizophrenic phantoms”, she realises that she can write a novel.

    In a way, The Comforters can be regarded as a bildungsroman, since “Caroline’s awareness of the novel’s coming into existence can be compared to her awareness of God’s ordering of human affairs, including her own life.” (Page, 12) The difference with Georgina is prominent. Not only is she being killed off as a character, she is also described as not having a life when not present in the book: “[A]s soon as Mrs Hogg stepped into her room she disappeared, she simply disappeared. She had no private life whatsoever. God knows where she went in her privacy.”

    It is clear that Muriel Spark wants to show the reader that manipulators who play God are always punished – a similar fate to be suffered by her later manipulating characters. These “plotmakers who (with authorially implied blasphemy) take upon themselves the roles of creators” are penalised by a higher authority, either the novelist or, in real life, God. (Whittaker, 1979, 168)

    Thus, the power of a novelist is almighty, just like that of the Creator. The novelist knows how everything is going to end, and so does God. However, the novelist – or any artist – “is only a shadow or imitator of the Creator, and in some sense we are all ‘characters’ in a ‘novel’ plotted and written by God.” Here we can conclude that Spark does not regard the novelist as equal to God, as that would be in total opposition to her faith, but as a creator in the world of the novel, which itself belongs to the world God has created.


    http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/00...10_0001_AC.pdf
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

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    This is just some random things I found interesting

    Quotes by Muriel Spark.....

    “...it never really occurred to her that literary men, if they like women at all, do not want literary women but girls.”
    ― Muriel Spark, The Girls of Slender Means

    “It is difficult for people of advanced years to start remembering they must die. It is best to form the habit while young.”
    ― Muriel Spark, Memento Mori

    “Beware the ire of the calm.”
    ― Muriel Spark

    “She wasn't a person to whom things happen. She did all the happenings.”
    ― Muriel Spark, Aiding and Abetting

    “Final perseverance is the doctrine that wins the eternal victory in small things as in great”
    ― Muriel Spark, Memento Mori

    “If I had my life to live over again, I would form the habit of nightly composing myself to thoughts of death. I would practice, as it were, the remembrance of death. There is not another practice which so intensifies life. Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life.”
    ― Muriel Spark, Memento Mori

    “Remember you must die.”
    ― Muriel Spark, Memento Mori

    "Lucrezia Borgia in trousers" was how Muriel Spark once described herself.

    Heres an odd fact (not saying this is a big deal, just erie)

    April 13, 2006, Tuscany
    Muriel Spark, Died

    June 24, 2006, Atlanta
    Patsy Ramsey, Died


    Okay, back to her writings and after some biography
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee249 View Post
    "Memento Mori" is also used to describe postmortem death photography, something that was very popular in the 19th century. Photos of the recently dead were taken, not only lying in bed or on couches, but posed as if they were alive. Photographers had special posing stands to prop up the bodies, and pupils were often painted on the eyelids to make it seem as if the deceased was alive. They did this especially with children because photographs were so expensive then that most people couldn't afford them. Often the "memento mori" was the only image of the child the family would ever have.

    Creepy stuff..... Heres a small snip from Memento Mori

    Lisa Brooke died in her seventy-third year, after her second stroke. She had taken nine months to die, and in fact it was only a year before her death that, feeling rather ill, she had decided to reform her life, and reminding herself how attractive she still was, offered up the new idea, her celibacy, to the Lord to whom no gift whatsoever is unacceptable.
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

  15. #15
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    Here's some background info on Spark....


    People say my novels are cruel because cruel things happen in them and I keep this even tone. I’m often very deadpan, but there’s a moral statement too, and what it’s saying is that there’s a life beyond this, and these events are not the most important things. They’re not important in the long run.
    http://thoughtcatalog.com/2010/murie...otes-obituary/

    Spark abandoned her 6 y/o son in Africa during WWll. Though he was brought to England a year later, where she was at the time, she was to involved with herself and her writing, so his grandmother raised him. He would feel her abandonment for all the rest of his life. The two were never close and in fact made no bones about their contention quite publicly through the press.

    There are, in several of her books only six chapters, the one that comes to mind at the moment is TPOJB... 6 seems to be a reoccurring theme...

    In her writing, evil is never far away, violence is a regular visitor and death is a constant companion. Her themes were generally serious but nearly always handled with a feather-light touch.

    It is this lightness, and a contrived detachment toward her characters, that became the target of the harshest criticism of her work, which at her death included more than 20 novels, several collections of short stories, poetry, criticism, biography, plays and a handful of children's books.

    Some accused her of coolness and even cruelty toward the characters she invented and then sent — sometimes quite merrily — to terrible deaths.

    "People say my novels are cruel because cruel things happen and I keep this even tone," she said in an interview in The New Yorker. "I'm often very deadpan, but there's a moral statement too, and what it's saying is that there's a life beyond this, and these events are not the most important things. They're not important in the long run."

    She traced the seeds of "Memento Mori," her third novel, to her childhood, when she learned about old age and human frailty at close range, caring for her dying grandmother. Although the novel is steeped in death and deception it is at times unabashedly hilarious. In the book, one elderly person after another in a close circle gets a mysterious phone call with a simple message: "Remember, you must die." This slim novel about confronting mortality, packed with sex, blackmail and mystery, was adapted for the stage.

    While Ms. Spark's books cover a broad territory of plot and character, some central similarities can be found in many of the novels and short stories.

    Michiko Kakutani, in a review of Ms. Spark's novel "Reality and Dreams" )published 1996) in The New York Times in 1997, described the author's approach as a recipe: "Take a self-enclosed community (of writers, schoolgirls, nuns, rich people, etc.) that is full of incestuous liaisons and fraternal intrigue; toss in a bombshell (like murder, suicide or betrayal) that will ricochet dangerously around this little world; and add some allusions to the supernatural to ground these melodramatics in an old-fashioned context of good and evil. Serve up with crisp, authoritative prose and present with 'a light and heartless hand.'

    This recipe appears with variations in novels including "The Ballad of Peckham Rye" (1960) , in which a truly devilish young man who calls himself an industrial analyst insinuates himself into the life of a community and goes about creating suspicion among neighbors, delving into personal secrets and destroying lives.

    It reappears in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," which provides a memorable example of a small and controlled community — a girls school in Edinburgh in the 1930's — in which the imperious teacher molds lives in a way few educators can.

    "Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she will be mine for life," intones the elegant Miss Brodie, who does not care whether her charges know their history or arithmetic as long as they have an appreciation of the finer things: art, Mussolini, proper care of the complexion, Franco.

    She captivates her students and enriches their lives while exerting unnatural control, grooming them to serve her will, whether in the bed of one of her lovers, as her personal spy or as a martyr to one of her political causes. Her single-mindedness in devoting her "prime" to her students has consequences for every life she touches, from the men who love her to the student who is the author of her undoing.

    No other book by Ms. Spark has received the widespread popular acclaim and exposure of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," but in subsequent interviews, the author expressed a firm preference for dwelling on the future rather than the past.

    In "The Driver's Seat," published in 1970, a woman embarks on a wild search through Europe for the man who will kill her. With "Hothouse on the East River" in 1973, she moved the locale to New York, and the next year she responded to the Watergate scandal with "The Abbess of Crewe," her own tale of burglars and stolen secrets set in yet another type of institution — a convent. "The Only Problem," in 1984, returns to the book of Job for inspiration. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/wo...pagewanted=all
    Last edited by Agatha_C; 05-27-2012 at 11:57 PM.
    There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

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