"So we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies." ~ William Shakespeare
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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) or my semiotic theory of iconic realism at the following location(s):

April, 2022: American Conference for Irish Studies, virtual event: "It’s in the Air: James Joyce’s Demonstration of Cognitive Dissonance through Iconic Realism in His Novel, Ulysses"

October, 2021: Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT: "Sydney Owenson’s use of sociolinguistics and iconic realism to defend marginalized communities in 19th century Ireland"

March, 2021: Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, North Carolina: "Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan): A Nineteenth Century Advocate for Positive Change through Creative Vision"

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

03 August, 2022

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)

29 July, 2022

Thunder and Lightning, Then the Flood

'Tis the season...


I took this photo of lightning in Danbury, Connecticut.

Thunder and Lightning, Then the Flood

Flash!
An enlightened moment
of photon intensity
blinds the eye
and elicits the waiting
for thunderous rumble
that rattles a frame;
its invisible command
churns, collides, erupts.
Hellish and healing,
emptied tears
cross a parched terrain:
Flood!

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

07 July, 2022

'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).

04 July, 2022

A Yankee Doodle Dandy

A dear friend was like a surrogate Mom to me and just about everyone else in town.  Every 4th of July, she could be seen in the town parade, riding the back of a motorcycle. (See photo below.) She was the mother of several children now living across the U.S., grandma and great-grandma to oodles more, and just a love. If you have the time, click (tick) onto A Patriotic Wave  to visit my other blog and another poem. 

Happy 4th of July from Connecticut, U.S.A! 

A Yankee Doodle Dandy
She's everybody's Mother.
She 'owns' the third pew
 at Mass on Sunday and daily, too,
just to be sure the priests stay true.
 She's an early bird all right
this merry widow dressed in red.

Prayed for the man for whom she wore white
50+ years ago
whispered one last "I love you!"
Sang the blues.
Then...
hopped on the back of this one's bike,
held on tight to save her life. 

Waves, smiles, stories to share,
filling up on love
feathered boa in mid-air
This yankee doodle dandy
in red, white and blue!

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

27 June, 2022

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.


16 June, 2022

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
Eventually,
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.

11 June, 2022

BLISS is my word

Quite a few years ago, one of my professors asked our class to choose a word from Spenser's The Faerie Queene that particularly intrigued us. I chose the word, bliss. I have resurrected a poem that explains my perspective of this word, for I had a blessed week and thought it would be appropriate to post this today.




Bliss

In the O.E.D. resides the little word,
Bliss
So many entries for this little word:
bless, blessed and even bleche!
Heavenly gifts juxtaposed
with human expression.
Humans have this responsibility
to emulate higher levels of existence
to elevate human consciousness,
for each of us has been blessed
with gifts that enhance the living
presence surrounding us
moving humanity forward
in peaceful bliss.

My bliss originates in the glorious* way
we human beings speak to one another.
I scrutinize my fellow humans,
make mental notes of their paralanguage,
spiritual linguistics
where the core of truth generates
the coexistence of 
benevolence and deceit, dissonance!
Sometimes, this confuses me…Bleche!
so I retreat
to my place, the voice within, the Glor
where music of eternal, natural peace
and soothing sound waves of passion
form consonant harmonies,
my personal bliss.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos    

*Glor: the Irish Gaeilge word for voice, sound

09 June, 2022

Prayer of St. Columba of Ireland

 

          
               

               The Prayer of St. Columba

Be a bright flame before me, O God

a guiding star above me.

Be a smooth path below me,

a kindly shepherd behind me

today, tonight, and for ever.

Alone with none but you, my God

I journey on my way;

what need I fear when you are near,

O Lord of night and day?

More secure am I within your hand

than if a multitude did round me stand.

Amen.