O.Wilde, Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...)
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...)

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...)
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...

O. Wilde (1854-1900),
Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

All Souls' Day

All Soul's Day purposely follows All Saints' Day to shift the focus from those in heaven to those in purgatory.
Before the Reformation, poor Christians used to offer prayers for the dead in return for money or even food (Soul Cakes) from wealthier people.
Traces of this tradition can be seen in the 19th and 20th centuries when children used to go 'souling' that is, they used to go around the houses singing the song which follows here below and then requesting alms or souls cakes. Each cake eaten represented a soul freed from purgatory.

A Soul, a soul, a soul cake
Please good missus a soul cake
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry
Any good thing to make us merry
Up with your kettles and down with your your pans
Give us an answer and we'll be gone
Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate
Crying for butter to butter his cake
One for St Peter, two for St Paul,
three for the man who made us all!
        Old Folk Chant,
Unknown Author

[ PS: enjoy Sting singing 'Soul Cake' on youtube ]

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