Ash Wednesday (image from Google Images)

Introduction:

My photo
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!

Announcements

I will present or have presented research on Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan) at the following location(s):

October, 2019: Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts: "A Declaration of Independence: Dissolving Sociolinguistic Borders in the Literature of Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan)"

27 November, 2018

Artistry

An artist is a poet is an artist...Incorporation of art and poetry creates illumination of a human experience. 
photo from Google Images

Artistry of a Poet's Hand

A fine gold nib gently fits
into the intricately carved pen.
The well, made of clay accepts colorful ink,
carefully poured by the hand of a poet.

This artisan of words dips the golden nib  
into the well, slides it along the neck,
allowing excess fluid to gracefully drip
off its gilded edge.

The poet reflects on placement of each word,
and touching nib to parchment,
propels the filled pen to stroke left, then right,
forming each letter with deliberate flourish.

Ornate illuminations of richly hued designs
in crimson, amethyst, and beryl green,
penned along the borders of the page,
elegantly coalesce genius with beauty:
the Word, written.


© Jeanne I. Lakatos

01 October, 2018

Thomas Paine and Revolutionary Consciousness: A Lesson for Twenty-First Century Readers

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (photos from Google images)

Thomas Paine differentiates between natural and civil rights of man, with the latter originating from the former. He interprets the aristocracy’s use of language as a means of establishing a sense of power. Echoing the consciousness of the eighteenth-century philosopher, John Locke, Paine elucidates for his readers an emerging global consciousness in Rights of Man:

The progress of time and circumstances, which men assign to the accomplishment of great changes, is too mechanical to measure the force of the mind, and the rapidity of reflection, by which revolutions are generated:  All the old governments have received a shock from those that already appear, and which were once more improbable, and are a greater subject of wonder, than a general revolution in Europe would be now…. what we now see in the world, from the Revolutions of America and France, are a renovation of the natural order of things, a system of principles as universal as truth and existence of man, and combining moral with political happiness and national prosperity.[1]

Our politicians of the twenty-first century could do well to consider Mr. Paine's words. These fundamental beliefs authentically provide his readership with contrasting attributes of the narrow vision present in governmental hierarchy in contrast with those belonging to humanity in general. A correlation between humanity and nature formed the consciousness of revolutionary thought, which eventually fed into the elaborate (and beautiful) artistic, musical, and literary expressions of romanticism.

It's October 1, 2018. Are we on the brink of realizing free expression, found within the core of human creativity....or... are we on the brink of a constrained life experience, found in a contrived order as the result of total control of the human mind? 




[1] Quoted in Foner 536-37.

24 September, 2018

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.’

However...

 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,
consumed
from their lack of substance. 

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

15 September, 2018

Dusk

Below, I have written a poem based on a photograph, as an example of Ekphrasis.
My photograph is of the beautiful East Lake in Danbury, Connecticut, at sunset, just before dusk. 

I took this photo of East Lake in Danbury, Connecticut.

Dusk
Indigo pond
reflects
a hopeful, graying sky
shades of peach and blue
intermingle 
with soft, fleecy clouds
framing the Peace
that harkens my heart 
dreaming
 of possibilities
Dusk.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos


06 August, 2018

Mid-Summer Magic!

We are now in that dynamic aspect of the zodiac calendar known as Leo, which I am. Below is a little Southern recipe to quench your thirst. You need not add the bourbon if that’s not your cup of tea. ;)

Mint Julep Iced Tea

INGREDIENTS
8 mint leaves *
1 lemon, sliced *
1 lime, sliced *
1 cup bourbon
3 cups cold sweetened tea *
Cubed or crushed ice
* You can substitute Celestial Seasonings ‘Lemon Zinger’ tea, about 4 tea bags with 2 quarts of water in place of all these starred ingredients.

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher, pressing with spoon to crush mint.
Stir in bourbon and tea. Add ice.  Makes 2 quarts.


My Poems/Flash Fiction : 


Fairy Dust
Outstretched limbs
intricately ethereal 
interlace
a renaissance 
instantly transform
momentarily suspend
reality and fantasy 
ferried 
dust to dust.

*************************

Tea Lights

The tea trickles
through my throat,
settles in, and I surrender.

**************************


The End of the Rainbow

It was a beautiful day, the kind when we loved to play outside all day long, imagining wonderful childhood scenarios of superheroes and lands conquered.

But today, we were on a mission to the Tile Man's house. Mom and Dad needed to buy new tiles.We all hopped in the car, sat in our designated seats, Dad at the wheel, cigarette lit. We were ready. Dad drove to a strange place, down a wooded lane to a quaint, pastel painted cottage. My siblings and I were instructed,"Play quietly in the yard, while we go inside and choose the tiles." 

Soon, the sunny day turned cloudy, and I was given the task of going inside to alert the adults that "It's going to rain." And it did. It poured. But... as suddenly as the rain began, it stopped. The sun blazed brighter than before. That's when we saw it! Suspended in mid-air, were glistening medallions, golden, sparkling, glimmering! "What is it?!" we implored. 

Dad's voice answered in amazement, "Well, I'll be... We've discovered the Pot of Gold! There must be a rainbow nearby."
"Oh, Daddy! Can we go out and grab some of the gold?"
"Naw... you have to let it stay right there."
Our young, believing eyes widened. Dad smiled and drove down the lane toward home, as we silently dreamed of the many ways we could use that magical gold. I turned to look out the back window to get one more glorious view. But all I saw was a row of tall, evergreen trees, dripping from a brief, summer shower and a mysterious mist wafting through their branches.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

01 August, 2018

'Morning' from LUMINESCENCE

This morning, the birds were in their glory: singing, chirping, and busy with their daily activities. I live in an area of Connecticut that is blessed with much beautiful greenery and wildlife. Long ago, I looked at this photograph of an abandoned canoe, and the first thing that came to mind was the tranquility of an abandoned garden on a steamy day, much like the one we have here today and such as the one which is the subject of my operetta, Luminescence, an interpretation of the medieval French epyllion, Roman de la Rose. Below is an excerpt from one of the recitatives, 'Morning.'

Eugène Atget
Etang de Corot, Ville-d'Avray, 1900-1910
Morning 
(from my operetta, “Luminescence”)

The wind gracefully embraces
feathered wings of russet, crimson and blue 
that brush the highest branches of clustered trees.
Each bough gambols a synchronized dance
in rhythm with the singing birds in flight.
Their gaze intakes the scene below:

A cooling brook, purling through the twisted,
scented undergrowth, creating a reflective ribbon,
adorning this Eden with an elegant, colorful bouquet
embellishes fertile banks with mystical brilliance.
Soothing liquid-echoes honor an infinite presence.
Morning dew trickles over folded petals
and drifts down each stiffened stalk
to reach deeply into the nutritious soil.

Leaves unfurl to frame delicate flowers.
They gracefully position themselves
to receive pollen for the creation of new life
and shimmer in the morning’s glow.
Each flower silently waits
for that glorious moment of sweet surrender
in fulfillment of her quest.
As the flowers open their petals,
they attract the arrival of winged suitors,
destined to pollinate their yearning pistils.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

I extend much gratitude to the following brilliant musicians, who have transposed (or are in the process of transposing) an Irish melody compiled by Sydney Owenson (1804) into 5 musical genres for this operetta: Dr. Marjorie Callaghan (medieval) and Mr. Daniel Kean (baroque and classical).

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.


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.

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)