Happy Spring!


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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!

26 April, 2017

Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan) and Diverse Characterizations in The Missionary

From my book, pp. 33-34: 

In her 1811 novel, The Missionary, Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan) uses realism in conjunction with an icon to illustrate her views on cultural adaptation. In the following passage, she describes the realistic nature of Hilarion as a young, conflicted priest, who sacrifices earthly pleasures to honor his faith:
All that could touch in the saint, or impose in the man breathed around him: the sublimity of religion, and the splendour of beauty, the purity of faith, and the dignity of manhood; grace and majesty, holiness and simplicity, diffusing their combined influence over his form and motions, his look and air. (The Missionary, p. 82)
In contrast, Luxima, the Hindu Priestess, embodies beauty with spirituality as she interacts with the Missionary through her “dovelike eyes and innocent hands…raised in same direction, for gazing on the glories of the firmament, a feeling of rapturous devotion, awakened and exalted by the enthusiasm of the Missionary, filled her soul.” (The Missionary, p. 121) Not only do her characters contain realistic qualities that independently represent their iconic associations, but her setting this tale in India, provides the other realistic aspect of Owenson’s novel, for in the seventeenth century, India is the focus of European nations, who are seeking new economic and political territories to whet their imperial appetites. Moreover, the Catholic Church, having made so many dissenters from its powerful stance, needed to expand its philosophical territories, so the emergence of missionaries became a reality in India during the early seventeenth century. Portuguese missionaries do travel to India for the purpose of religious conversion of the non-Christian Hindus. Owenson draws upon observations from the historical documentations of Francois Bernier (1625-1688) to provide anthropological references as a means to create realistic characterizations, as she brings two people together in a Garden of Eden to form the genesis of a consciousness that alerts her audience to the possibilities of overzealous proselytizing of any stalwart community.
            Owenson represents iconic realism with the placement of Hilarion, the Franciscan Priest, an icon of Jesus Christ and European philosophy, physically and spiritually immersed with Indian culture through his interaction with an Indian Priestess, the icon of 17th century Hindu community and victimized follower of a faith and culture that is targeted for conversion. As Thomas Kavanagh points out:
The signified meanings, instead of being accepted as such, instead of taking us outside the text as text, become themselves the signifiers of the iconic signs, of a continuing movement, of a second temporality definable only within the parameters of the text.” [1] 
Hilarion is a Catholic Missionary because he is the nephew to the Archbishop of Lisbon. Although her description of his qualities is quite flattering, under his cloak of religiosity, his true nature is simply that of an ordinary man. As a true follower of Jesus Christ, he transfigures into a real person with real emotions and real anxieties regarding the bureaucracy of his organized religion. In Owenson’s portrayal of him as an icon set within the realism of seventeenth century India, he signifies two elements: the Catholic Church of the Inquisition period and imperialistic England, whose dogmatic government maintains its own mission to convert the Irish to the British consciousness. John Locke, in his essay on the “Powers of the Commonwealth” refers to this form of bureaucracy in government and religion:
For no man or society of men having a power to deliver up their preservation, or consequently the means of it, to the absolute will and arbitrary dominion of another, whenever anyone shall go about to bring them into such a slavish condition, they will always have a right to preserve what they have not a power to part with, and to rid themselves of those who invade this fundamental, sacred, and unalterable law of self-preservation for which they entered society. And thus the community may be said in this respect to be always the supreme power, but not as considered under any form of government, because this power of the people can never take place till the government be dissolved. [2]
Thus, the hierarchy of authority within human society creates significant conflict of interest for those whose consciousness differs from the status quo. Owenson demonstrates this conflict through her diverse characterizations.

[1] Thomas Kavanagh, “Time and Narration: Indexical and Iconic Models” in Comparative Literature, MLN, 86. 6 (1971), p. 832.

[2] John Locke, in Howard R. Penniman (ed.), John Locke: On Politics and Education (Roslyn, New York:  Walter J. Black, Inc., 1947), p. 152. 

18 April, 2017

Fractal Force

A few years ago, another blogger gave our poetry group a line prompt to use for our weekly poetry read. The line was as follows: "I am a crooked line." Well, the first thought that came to my mind was FRACTALS! To view more fractals and listen to some ambient music, click HERE.

Photo from Bing Images

Fractal Force
I am a crooked line.
My course
parallels spirit
weaves between
giving and receiving
on the fringe of

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

09 April, 2017

Easter: Renewal

Pysanky eggs that I hand-painted... Whew! a tedious, but rewarding process.

Easter Tridiuum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday)

A Joyous Easter to You!

I took this photograph of a flower growing in the sidewalk on NUI campus, Galway, Ireland.


moments conceived 
meiosis of human spirit
into a vision of rebellion 
open a festering wound
to hasten the quickening 
toward conscientious

         © Jeanne I. Lakatos

03 April, 2017

Sydney Owenson, Intellectual Thought, and Positive Change

From my book, Innovations in Rhetoric in the Writing of Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan, 1781-1859), pages 52-53: 

In her 1840 book, Woman and Her Master, Sydney Owenson makes the following observation:

As the acquirement of a physical elevation, in expanding the sphere of vision, and opening new and vast regions to the sense, obscures and diminishes the individual details comprehended in its grasp; so that intellectual and moral elevation, which has opened to the mind’s eye the wider fields of scientific research and of social combination, has caused the relative value of the smaller facts presented to its apprehension to be either overlooked, or mistaken. Society has become complicated more rapidly than philosophy and legislation can follow; the actions of man upon man, and those of the species upon nature, have multiplied faster than observation can co-ordinate, or reason control; until a positive advance has assumed the appearance of a relative retrogradation. (Woman and Her Master, p. 15)
The global network of intellectual thought feeds upon innovation within the consciousness of humanity. As one notion spirals to form a new idea, the resulting awareness creates new perspectives on issues not perceived within the current reality of some communities. Knowledge gained from sharing this new awareness provides more communities with intellectual capabilities to affect a positive change. 

26 March, 2017

Ode to Skunk Cabbage

With the first day of Spring having already come,  I just had to submit this little ode to one of the harbingers of Spring, the Skunk Cabbage, as an illustration of the connection between artist and nature.

photo of skunk cabbage from Google Images
Ode to Skunk Cabbage
Bursting forth from its ruddy milieu,      
it erects from its hooded spathe.
This courageous prophet boldly faces
the chilly air with unique confidence, 
guided by a mighty force.
Radiating silently, as if to say,
“Come to me, for I offer
the nourishment you need now,”
his sweetness within calls upon
the daring creature to receive its warmth.
And she responds, and she comes:
the beetle, the spider, the queen bee,
warmed by the generosity 
of Spring’s first.
Odoriferous, proud, protective,
he inspires the fragrant flora
to engender beauty.
Now, Spring has arrived
with the burgeoning
of the exceptional skunk cabbage.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos, Ph.D. 

16 March, 2017

Upon Viewing the Bog Bodies Exhibit at the National Museum of Ireland

On one of my research trips to Ireland, I visited the National Museum and viewed an exhibit of Bog Bodies. These were individuals who had been discovered buried for centuries within the bogs throughout the country. I was struck by my own emotions as I viewed these remains. At one point, I just wanted to place a warm blanket over their leathered remains and wish them a safe journey to be with our Lord. 
I took this photo of the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, 
whilst sitting on a bench just outside the National Library.

Upon Viewing the Bog Bodies of Ireland
the exquisitely sculpted rotunda,
behind exhibits of gold and amber adornments,
exposed in tombs of plexiglass,
lay remains of people
who once held hands,
smiled gently to their loved ones,
kissed softly on moonlit nights.

Centuries pass,

and as her silent witness meets theirs,
she senses a tear's warmth
and whispers a prayer
that their spirits are far away
and at peace.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

07 March, 2017

The Slug: "Fortune Favours the Brave"

"Fortes fortuna iuvat!" 
(Fortune favours the brave!) 
~ Latin Proverb

Sometimes, with certain 'green-eyed (envious) slugs,' we have to take defensive action; other times, it pays simply to observe the power of Light.

The Slug
Hypocritical green-eyed slug
compulsively feeds upon
the entrails of authenticity.

Vomiting truth along its way,
its impish, soul-less self
solely thrives on
cunning insults and ineptness.

It binges on fictional fervor
slinking in slimy skin,
 blinded by its own limitations.

It lurks about for its next victim
to entice with fabricated promises,
while other small, spineless creatures
easily fall prey to its ‘virtue.’


 the Truth that this slug rejects
soon takes on a life of its own,
swirling through the air with sweet fragrance,
fusing with my fortitude.

Yet still, slinking along, the slug
slowly attempts to cross my path…
I lift my elegant boot
to squish it! Squish it good!

Ah, but there's no need to squish,
for below me, I witness:
evaporating in the powerful Light,
slimy innards,
from their lack of substance. 

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

23 February, 2017

Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan): 19th Century Awareness of Cultural Change


From pages 17-18 of my book: 

    Revolutionary philosophy of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries provides momentum for the transformation of consciousness, circuitous pathways of innovation and circularity within societal parameters, creating awareness of cultural change, often through literary articulation. 

     During the long eighteenth century, Sydney Owenson constructs her national tales by configuring lexical combinations of Irish, English and European colloquialisms, drawing upon the historical and philosophical perceptions of René Descartes, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant to transform her romantic tales into narratives of political inquiry. 

     Her voice maintains a necessary fortitude in terms of her feminine perspective, placing Irish ideology into the center of English culture at the onset of the Ascendancy, while she illustrates foresight in challenging the political stance of the United Kingdom in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

16 February, 2017

A Sonnet: Four Soles, Soulful Foursome

The photo below is one on which I've based my sonnet, written in a Spenserian Sonnet format.

For fun, click onto: Billy Collins, former United States Poet Laureate, to read his satirical view of sonnets, cleverly entitled, "Sonnet."

Four Soles,  Soulful Foursome
Idyllically, they travel with an aim
and quickly learn that truth rests in a friend, 
for surely, they’ll discover life’s no game. 
A splendid road will definitely bend. 

These traveling souls of four know not of end, 
for they rely on trusting gifts of love: 
one pulls with strength, one’s job is to attend 
two brothers with one mind, blessed from above 

with dreams conjoined like wings that lift the dove. 
Four souls of spirit and vitality
advance with might and shared awareness of
their vision for determined liberty.
A humble vessel pulled by four strong soles,
transporting dreams, fulfilling simple goals.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos 

01 February, 2017

Heart and Consciousness

In her book, Patriotic Sketches of Ireland, Sydney Owenson observes:
 Political philosophy is an extension of the mind’s eye to the whole great scale of civil society, and demonstrating the close-linked dependencies of its remotest parts, affords to the benevolence of the human heart, and the comprehension of the human understanding, a social system, gratifying to the feelings of the one, and ennobling to the faculties of the other. (33)

The human heart and 'comprehension of understanding,' which I will identify as consciousness, are two distinct entities, for the heart, aside from its organic characteristics, contains the essence of human emotions. On the other hand, comprehension of understanding involves the assimilation of intelligence and critical analysis as they interact with the psycho-physiological structure in a wondrous flow of human experience. I reflect on this concept in the following poem:

Flow I

Passion creates verve
whose song desires voice;
now boldly sing
radiate stillness
encircle fear: enflame!
This fervor flows
with molten resonance
angled benevolence
evolution through revolution,
illumined by the intricacy
of simplicity adorned
with interlacing

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

26 January, 2017

My Hands, a poem

Below is a poem with the theme of my use of hands, 
which some may think is archaic in this current era of technology:

My Hands

weathered pages of a centuries old book,
my fingers touch a piece of history
for this page was once turned by gloved fingertips
of a lady sitting by candlelight on a blue velvet chair
her cotton dress, flowing around covered ankles.
the strings of a vibrating harp, melodic echoes, soothe
the mind of my precious dog who lives to protect me
love me, comfort me. It's the least I can do for her.
dough that clings to each finger until I apply 
one more dash of flour to create 
the soft ball that will miraculously rise
to form into the sweet, aromatic sustenance of life: 
bread, feeding my family and friends.
a needle with just the right length and colour 
of waxed cotton,
slowly I turn remnant pieces of cloth
into a quilted memory to comfort 
through the warmth of artistry and pragmatism.
into rich, brown soil I plant a seed
water, nurture, protect until one day it grows
into a savory food, the source of my love's smile.
an extended hand, I feel the presence
of a life force, strength, our fingertips, touching
then brushing the tear from a child's eye
warm today, cold tomorrow
fond memory of the gentleness.
palm against palm, I sing a song
of praise.
I give thanks to my Lord
knowing His Love as undying, strengthening,
guiding my every step as I fulfill His Purpose for me.
from hand to heart.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos