Harp and shadow


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Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

05 July, 2018

Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan): Revolutionary

Sydney Owenson sheds light on the status of the common man and woman in mid-nineteenth century Ireland and incorporates semiotic structures within her works to communicate with her readers the various discrepancies in legislation, particularly the Act of Union 1801, decades after its enactment. Although inequity in governmental legislation exists internationally, by 1825, the imbalance within the legislative structures is unacceptable to intelligent women associated with the British or the Irish aristocracy along with the increasing numbers of female writers and readers.

For example, in the preface of her essay entitled, Absenteeism, she highlights the need for both the English and the Irish to be mindful of their patriotic responsibilities:

Notwithstanding the intense interest which is felt throughout all England concerning Ireland and Irish affairs, notwithstanding the frequent debates in parliament, and more frequent pamphlets and volumes published on points of Irish politics and oeconomy, the prevailing ignorance on these subjects still operates powerfully in maintaining prejudices the most unfounded and the most fatal, and in retarding those measures of wisdom and of justice without which Ireland can never be happy; or the British Empire secure. [1]

In this statement, Owenson demonstrates commonality between the authority, England, and the respective community of Ireland, as she begins with the phrase, ‘notwithstanding the intense interest which is felt…’ Thus, she engages in the use of negative phraseology linked with passive voice to unite the divergent intentions of England and Ireland.

[1] Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan), Absenteeism, (London: Henry Colburn, 1825) pp. ix and x. For future reference within this study, the work will be cited as Abs.

04 July, 2018

Mercy Otis Warren, Muse of American Revolution, 1776

Painting of Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren, given the title by some historians of Muse of the American Revolution, is often neglected in the U.S. historical memory. However, her motivation for contributing numerous literary works on the subject of independence  demonstrates virtues found in the common individual while pointing out the discrepancies in a non-representational government. In her 1773 play, The Adulateur, Warren describes the issue of individual rights through the speech of her main character, Brutus:

The change how drear! The sullen ghost of bondage

Stalks full in view—already with her pinions,

She shades the affrighted land—the insulting soldiers

Tread down our choicest rights; while hoodwinked justice

Drops her scales, and totters from her basis.

Thus torn with nameless wounds, my bleeding country

Demands a tear – that tear I’ll freely give her. [1]

Using the rebellious poetic format of blank verse, Warren creates an image of the capture of justice, illustrating the conception that human beings might be inherently good, but their thirst for power could cause a diminishing of spiritual truth, thus leading to contrived allegiances to governments and other forms of false leadership. 

We thank such brave intelligent writers as Mercy Otis Warren for their insights regarding historical perspectives of justice. 

~ Dr. Jeanne I. Lakatos 

[1] Mercy Otis Warren, The Adulateur, Act I, Scene I, Boston: New Printing Office, 1773.

17 June, 2018

My Joycean Journey

Quite a few years ago, on June 17th, yes, the day after Bloomsday, I intended to attend a conference held on the IADT campus in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Since I wasn't scheduled to present until the 19th, I thought I'd drive myself for the first day's activities. After carefully surveying maps and consulting Mapquest, I sat myself in the driver's seat and decided to drive myself. Since I'm left-handed, driving on the left side of the road comes naturally to me. I was set to go. FOUR HOURS later, I drove into the parking lot of IADT. The following days, I relied on the bus. 

Below is a photo I took whilst I was lost: 
Day After Bloomsday: 
My Own Odyssey in Dun Laoghaire

I pass by Davy Byrne's pub 
And think, “I must go there for a pint.”
It’s just off Grafton Street, ye know. 
And there’s the Ormond Hotel (Sirens chapter) 
But I must get on the M-50 to Dun Laoghaire.
It’s now 9:30. 

I get off the M-50 and drive along the highway,
I go through a town and find another highway.
Water is to my left. So beautiful! 
I take a picture and miss my turn.
So I ask for directions from a lovely garda. 
“Oh, I know exactly where ye want to go. 
I used to pick mushrooms there 
when I was a boy. Shame what they’ve done
To that land now. A real shame. It’ll take you
No time at all to get there.”
I follow his directions to the T…
And end up at the Martello tower.
The Coast Guard tell me I’m almost there.
10:30 I missed the first panels.

I drive around Sandycove 
And around Sandycove
And around Sandycove 
And around.... well, you get the picture...
I see cliffs in the distance. I want to jump….
End up back in City Center Dublin!
I pass the Gardai station again
in Dun Laoghaire... and keep driving
I see a little red pub: Dunpheys Pub
1:00 (I’ve missed Lunch.) 

I beg them to tell me where IADT is. 
“I’ve heard there’s a blue, boxy building,” sigh I. 
One kind gentleman says to another,
“Oh, I know where that is. 
Tom’s son goes there. 
Here, let me draw you a map.”
He proceeds to draw each traffic light, 
And tells me which lane to drive in.
I make it! Just in time for the 2:00 panel. 

When I return to my hotel room,
An email awaits me from my friend,
“Jeanne,” he says, “You MUST go to 
Davy Byrne’s pub, the Martello Tower,
(Opening Ithaca chapter-
where Buck Mulligan descends the stairwell.) 
Sandycove, the cliffs of Killiney… 
That’s real Joyce country.” 
I smile as my keys click the reply… 
Been there, done that. 

© Jeanne I. Lakatos 

Media Arts Building, IADT, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, where mushrooms once grew.

07 June, 2018

Thomas Paine and Revolutionary Consciousness

     Thomas Paine derives his insight of revolutionary consciousness based on traditions and historical practices. In his pamphlet, Common Sense, directed toward the “American Inhabitants,” Thomas Paine describes monarchies in general in this fashion:

Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.

      Here, Paine empathizes with the common individual in his simple analysis of physical and moral distinctions of humanity, and he refers to the British aristocracy as “a new species.” He boldly reaches out to the consciousness of his readers, inspiring them to act on their natural right of the pursuit of happiness. In the words of Harvey Kaye, “As Paine saw it, American unity and vitality were themselves revolutionary imperatives - but not just for Americans” (65).

Kaye, Harvey. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. New York: Hill & Wang,

28 May, 2018

Cognitive Revolutions: Creative Revelations

Photo by me, Full Moon over Danbury

We learn to recognize aspects of our lives that create impressions, unaware of the cognitive variations that our minds and bodies interpret and reinterpret. Yet, we continue to gracefully move through our personal universes. How often have we affected others? How often have others affected us?

Revolution of thought is inclusive of awarenss within the mind, the body and their inter/intra-connections. Very simply, as we perceive and cognitively organize our environment, we slowly create the opus that is only ours to share. To consider this concept in a positive way, that opus can move humanity to a higher consciousness.

Just think! If individuals elevated their thinking to those matters that pertain only to the goodness and creative genius that dwells within, how generous we could be with each other! How marvelous this experience could be!

As we concentrate intently on our thoughts and their influences, we affect our reality, and thus, we open the possibilities of  individual connection with the Divine.

05 May, 2018

Dandelion Wine Recipe

2018 is shaping to be an excellent year for the dandelion crop. Below is a recipe for dandelion wine I copied from my mother's recipe box many many years ago, but I've no idea of the origin of this recipe: 

Dandelion Wine Recipe
1 quart dandelion blossoms- packed solidly
1 gallon water, boiled for 10 minutes
Add blossoms to water and cook for 10 more minutes. 
After cooking, strain off the blossoms
Add 3 1/2 lbs. sugar to juice and 2 packets of dried yeast
Add about 4 oranges whole and 5 lemons whole
Add 1/2 lb. raisons
Soak one week with raisons. 
Stir well at least once a day while soaking during the 2 weeks.

01 May, 2018

Imre Madach's "The Tragedy of Man," Revolution and Knowledge

Photo: Illustration from website: http://www.wga.hu/html/z/zichy/index.html 

In The Tragedy of Man (1860), Hungarian playwright, Imre Madach, reveals the inherent spirit within humanity to resolve differences through knowledge. This play, consisting of fifteen scenes, depicts the first couple, Adam and Eve, in paradise whereby Eve questions the validity of the Lord’s request to deprive the couple of all knowledge. In her exchange with Lucifer in Scene II, she philosophizes:
Why should he punish? For if he hath fixed
The way that he would have us follow, so
He hath ordained it, that no sinful lure
Should draw us otherwhere; why hath he set
The path athwart a giddy yawning gulf
To doom us to destruction? If, likewise,
Sin hath a place in the eternal plan,
As storm amid the days of sunlit warmth,
Who would the angry storm more guilty deem
Than the life-giving brightness of the sun? (Scene II)

After leaving the garden of Eden for tasting of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve fall asleep in their new home and experience a number of historical events to become aware of the many ways humanity has grown into self knowledge, beginning in Egypt, where the couple learn of personal glory. Adam then longs to learn of humanity’s struggle for the good of nation, through experiences in ancient Athens, Greece. They discover hedonism in ancient Rome, Christianity in the form of knighthood of the middle ages, where he also discovers medieval fanaticism. This leads to his search for sense in the sphere of Johannes Kepler. However, in the world of Emperor Rudolph, Adam moves on to the French Revolution, where he encounters the deceit of Danton and the ultimate failure in humankind’s ability to execute a lasting revolution. He becomes disenchanted with humanity at the London Fair. In the final scene, Eve tells Adam of the upcoming birth of their second child. She foreshadows:

If God so will, a second shall be born
In sorrow, who shall wash them both away
And bring upon this wide world, brotherhood.

Well, we all know what happened with that relationship, so Imre Madach, who places the burden of man’s struggle at the hands of the woman, also illustrates that humanity has within its grasp the ability to seize control over its destiny as the heavenly choir of angels sings:

…Yet in the glory of thy road,
Let not the thought thee blind
That what thou dost in praise of God
Is wrought of human mind.
Think not the Lord hath need of thee
His purpose to fulfill,
And thou receivest from Him grace,
If thou mayest work His will.

The Lord responds: O Man, strive on, strive on, have faith; and trust! (Scene XV)

Therefore, Imre Madach reveals, through the artistry of his writing, his intense belief that within its own consciousness, humanity has the ability to advance harmonic relevance from dissonant experience, for he presents Eve as the mother of humanity with the conviction that her children will move humanity forward in their quest for true knowledge. (Lakatos 2007)