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December 30, 2013


Dan Fallon

Dr. Metablog will remember the well-known Colorado artist, John Fudge, who also was thrown into whirling depression by the annual reappearance of contemporary U.S. Christmas. Fudge was famous for his large life-like paintings that some said resembled cartoons. Indeed, he provided captions for most of them. My favorite was a painting of a WWII German Messerschmitt fighter plane bearing down through clouds, with its Iron Cross and Swastika clearly visible, and the cannons under its wings blazing away with deadly fire. The pilot is clearly visible in the cockpit, wearing a white-fur lined red cap and sartorially bedecked with a large fluffy white beard, his red cheeks glowing, his eyes sparkling, as he bears down on his flight stick, his fingers squeezed tight on the cannon triggers. The caption of this painting is "You better watch out!"


I loved Father and Son when I first read it at Hunter College and again when I reread it. I also liked the fact that Edmund Gosse was one of Henry James's closest literary and personal friends.
For my Victorian Literature course at Hunter I selected the section taught by a new teacher, the noted poet James A. Wright. He was interested mainly in poetry, particularly Tennyson, and did not want to teach one of the massive novels of the period. So he selected Gosse's autobiography as the course's prose work. (The other section was taught by a professor who had often taught the course and always assigned Daniel Deronda as the novel. I was glad not to have to read that difficult and imperfectly balanced and constructed novel.)
I also liked Wright's comment that the Victorian Era for him was personified by W.C. Fields dressed as Queen Victoria. She without doubt would not have been amused, but I certainly was. Yipes!

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