They make house calls…



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Flowers and Fruit, 1899 - Louis Valtat
Flowers and Fruit par Louis Valtat, 1899 (

I apologize for not posting more frequently. First, someone is reading my posts as I write them. He or she may have the best intentions. Still, I have always worked alone. Although I have read and continue to read books and articles on Molière and insert quotations in learned articles, I usually present a significantly personal analysis of Molière.

It seems, however, that I may henceforth publish shorter posts. Last Wednesday, I tried to do some online banking. However, the company has created a new and safer version of its online tools. I followed the instructions, and a message appeared confirming that all was well. However, I could not log in.

So I phoned the company and waited for a few minutes until someone was available, but I started to cry when a young man answered. Technologies are a genuine obstacle, and technical problems may trigger a vulnerability. At any rate, within a few minutes, two large policemen were inside my apartment. I put on my mask, and we spoke.

I mentioned that my cat had died on 29 November 2019 and that it would soon be a year since he died. Moreover, I had been inside my apartment since March, avoiding the coronavirus. As well, in the space of three years, I had failed to settle in my apartment. Finally, Sherbrooke is now a red zone. One cannot call a carpenter, until a degree of safety has been reached. Who would help during a pandemic?

One of the policemen suggested I adopt a cat, and one offered to remove a heavy box from the hallway. They were good persons. I thanked them because I felt much better. It had been an accident.

One returns to life as usual, a narrower life because of Covid-19, but life.

However, I reflected that in the days of the coronavirus, if a citizen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, feels distraught, his or her best help could be the police. They are available twenty-four hours a day and they make house calls.

Love to everyone 💕

Afficher l’image source
Anemones and Green Jug by Louis Valtat, ca. 1926 (courtesy Art Resource, NY)

© Micheline Walker
20 November 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan



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I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.


The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn


Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020








Molière’s “L’Avare:” Doublings



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L’Avare by François Boucher (drawing) and Laurent Cars (engraving) (Photo credit: Pinterest)


  • Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BCE)
  • commedia dell’arte
  • French 17th-century misers: sources
  • Hellenic (ancient Greek) sources
  • French medieval farces and fabliaux
  • translations into English

As indicated in a previous post, Molière‘s L’Avare, The Miser, was first performed on 9 September 1668 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It is a five-act play, in prose, inspired by Roman dramatist Plautus‘ (254 – 148 BCE) Aulularia, the Pot of Gold. As we have seen, it is also rooted in the commedia dell’arte as well as Italian comedies and tales, and in France’s own medieval farces and the largely scatological fabliaux.

However, Molière also drew his material from La Belle Plaideuse (1655), by François le Métel de Boisrobert, which features a father-as-usurer, and Jean Donneau de Visé‘s La Mère coquette (1665), where a father and son are in love with the same woman.[1]

L’Avare is one of Molière’s better-known comedies and it was translated into English by Thomas Shadwell (1772) and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. However, it was not a huge success in Molière’s own days. It has been speculated that Molière’s audience expected a play written in verse, the nobler alexandrine verse (12 feet or syllables), first used in the twelfth-century Roman d’Alexandre.


L’Avare (

The dramatis personæ is:

Harpagon, father to Cléante, in love with Mariane.
Cléante, Harpagon’s son, lover to Marianne.
Valère, son to Anselme, lover to Élise, and “intendant” to Harpagon
Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father to Valère and Mariane, and 
Master Simon, broker.
Master Jacques, cook and coachman to Harpagon.
La Flèche, valet to Cléante.
Brindavoine, and La Merluche, lackeys to Harpagon.
A Magistrate and his Clerk.
Élise, daughter to Harpagon.
Mariane, daughter to Anselme.
Frosine, an intriguing woman.
Mistress Claude, servant to Harpagon.

The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.

Act One

We will be focusing on the manner in which the young couples featured in the Miser, L’Avare, manage to overcome the obstacle to their marriage. Short of a miracle, they are condemned to do as their father’s greed dictates. All the elements of L’Avare’s plot are introduced in the first act of the play, which reflects the Græco-Roman origins of comedy and tragedy. As a five-act play, Molière’s L’Avare is a ‘grande comédie,’ not a farce (Molière wrote both), and its plot is the archetypal struggle, also called the agôn, between, on the one hand, the alazṓn of Greek comedy, or the blocking character, and, on the other hand, the eirôn, the young couple and their supporters: valets, maids, zanni. In other words, it is a traditional blondin-berne-barbon plot. The young couples will succeed in marrying.

A Comedy of Manners and A Comedy of Intrigue

  • doublings: two young couples and two fathers
  • Harpagon is the father of Élise and Cléante
  • Anselme is Valère and Mariane’s father, which we do not know until the fifth act (V. v) of the comedy

L’Avare is both a comedy of manners, a form we inherited mostly from Greek dramatist Menander, and a comédie d’intrigue, a comedy where the plot prevails. As the portrayal of a miser, L’Avare is a comedy of manners (see the full text in Wikisource and eBook #6923). Harpagon’s greed constitutes the obstacle to the marriage of Cléante (Harpagon) and Mariane as well as the marriage of Valère and Élise (Harpagon).

Cléante gambles and wins, which allows him to buy elegant clothes and court Mariane, but he does not have sufficient money to marry and must therefore go to a moneylender. Ironically, the moneylender happens to be Harpagon himself who demands no less than the now metaphorical “pound of flesh” (Shylock) as repayment. The moneylender episode—act two, scene two (II. i) [II. 2]—shows to what extent Harpagon’s greed is an obstacle to the marriage of our young couples. The plot advances in that Cléante cannot obtain a loan that might enable his marriage. Another “trick” must be devised. However, plot and manners (greed) are inextricably woven.

Obstacles to Two Marriages

  • “genre” art
  • a family tyrant

The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre arta depiction of ordinary people engaged in ordinary activities. Will G Moore has remarked that Molière’s characters

“[a]re concerned with everyday life; the stuff of which it was made was by tradition the doings of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings.”[2]

L’Avare is a five-act comedy, but it is written in prose, not verse, and Harpagon, our blocking character, is an enriched bourgeois. Although he does not feed his horse properly, he owns a carriage and he has servants. As depicted by François Boucher, the interior of his house is rather elegant. However, he is extremely greedy and he behaves as though he owned his children. He is a domestic tyrant. In act one, Harpagon states that he has arranged for his children to marry, but has not consulted them. Cléante will marry a “certain widow,” our tyrant has just heard of, and Élise will be “given” to Mr. Anselme, a gentleman who will not request the customary dowry, or “sans dot

Quant à ton frère, je lui destine une certaine veuve dont ce matin on m’est venu parler; et, pour toi, je te donne au seigneur Anselme. (Harpagon to Élise, [I. iv])
[As to your brother, I have thought for him of a certain widow, of whom I heard this morning; and you I shall give to Mr. Anselme. [1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Élise does not know Mr Anselme and refuses to marry him, threatening to commit suicide. As for Harpagon, he plans to marry Mariane, who loves his son (Cléante). For Harpagon, Mr Anselme is a perfect choice because Élise will marry at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. iv FR) (I. 6 EN) 

Harpagon’s Rigidity

Valère will attempt to save Élise from a marriage to a person other than himself. Valère, Harpagon’s “intendant,” begs Harpagon to free Élise. However, the objections he presents are followed by Harpagon’s “sans dot” (without a dowry). Molière’s blocking characters are inflexible or rigid. This rigidity is the feature Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) attached to the comical or comedic in his Laughter. Valère’s objections having been rebuked by a litany of “sans dot,” he is literally speechless. He simply repeats what the Harpagon, the miser, has told him:

Lorsqu’on s’offre de prendre une fille sans dot, on ne doit point regarder plus avant. Tout est renfermé là-dedans, et sans dot tient lieu de beauté, de jeunesse, de naissance, d’honneur, de sagesse, et de probité. (Valère à Harpagon, I. v)
[When a man offers to marry a girl without a dowry, we ought to look no farther. Everything is comprised in that, and “without dowry” compensates for want of beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and probity.] (I. 10[eBook #6923]

But there is some hope. As the story goes, Valère’s father, Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, is believed to have drowned when he and his family (his wife, Valère and Mariane) were fleeing Naples. It appears, however, that Dom Thomas has survived and that he is a man of means. Valère was looking for him when he met Élise. At her request, he decided to stay near her and made himself Harpagon’s “intendant,” but someone else is looking for Valère’s father.

Mais enfin, si je puis, comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. J’en attends des nouvelles avec impatience, et j’en irai chercher moi-même, si elles tardent à venir. (I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us. I am expecting news of them with great impatience; but if none comes I will go in search of them myself.] [I.1]

The curtain will then fall on an anagnorisis  (V. v) [V. 5], a recognition scene. However, when Anselme enters Harpagon’s house and hears that there is opposition to the contract he has come to sign, he tells Harpagon that he will not coerce a woman into a mariage, which frees Élise. He also remarks that he will not “lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself,” thereby allowing Mariane, his daughter, to marry Cléante, Harpagon’s son, rather than Harpagon.

Ce n’est pas mon dessein de me faire épouser par force, et de rien prétendre à un cœur qui se serait donné ; mais pour vos intérêts, je suis prêt à les embrasser ainsi que les miens propres. (Anselme to Harpagon [V. v])
[It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my own.] (V. 5) [eBook #6923]

Anselme seems a fine gentleman whom the anagnorisis (V. v) [V. 5], the dénouement (see Dramatic Structure, Wikipedia), will identify as Valère and Mariane’s father. A greedy Harpagon has chosen Anselme as the perfect groom because Anselme would marry Élise without requesting the customary dowry, or at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. v) [I. 5]


Qu’il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. (III. i)

A Comedy of Intrigue

  • a plot or intrigue
  • a chiasmus (a mirror image in a sentence)
  • a quiproquo (a misunderstanding)
  • the doubling of the father figure (mirror image)

Harpagon’s greed is enormous, so students are taught that Molière concentrates on manners rather than the plot. He does, but in L’Avare, although the plot is mainly episodic, manners and plot (intrigue) are inextricably linked. For instance, when Harpagon is having a meal prepared to celebrate the marriage(s) that are to take place that very day, Harpagon hears Valère say that il faut manger pour vivre and not vivre pour manger, that one should eat to live and not live to eat, Harpagon so loves Valère’s witty chiasmus, that he wants these words engraved in gold and placed above his fireplace. (III. i) [III. 1] It is unlikely that Harpagon would use gold to celebrate greed, but it is true to character and comical. A meal often ends comedies and may solemnize a wedding.

Moreover, it is a quiproquo, a comical misunderstanding which, in L’Avare, leads to the anagnorisis. When Harpagon realizes his cassette has disappeared and may have been stolen, he loses his composure and accuses Valère, at the instigation of Maître Jacques. Maître Jacques resents the trust Harpagon has placed in Valère. If he could, Harpagon would have Valère drawn and quartered. Valère has not stolen Harpagon’s cassette, but he and Élise have signed a promise to marry another. Valère has ‘robbed’ Harpagon, but it is Élise he has taken, not a cassette. (V. iii & iv) [V. 3 & 4] [eBook #6923]

Anselme first steps foot on the stage as the battle rages. Given Élise’s promise, he cannot and would not marry her. However, Valère stands accused of a theft and wants to tell his story. The anagnorisis has now begun. To give himself credibility, Valère says that he is the son of Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, which Anselme hesitates to believe because he is a friend of Dom Those and, to his knowledge, all members of Dom Thomas’ family drowned as they were trying to flee Naples, which is not the case.Valère says that he was rescued by Pedro, a servant, and later adopted by the captain of the ship he and Pedro were allowed to board. He can prove his identity. As he speaks, Mariane realizes that Valère is her brother.

For their part, Mariane and her mother were also saved, but their helpers were corsaires, pirates, who enslaved them. Following ten years of enslavement, they were released and they returned to Naples where they could not find Dom Thomas d’Alburcy. They therefore picked up a small inheritance in Genoa and moved to Paris. Mariane’s mother is Valère’s  mother and Dom Thomas d’Alburcy’s wife. As he watches this scene, Dom Thomas learns that no member of his family died leaving Naples. He has just found his children and his wife. He would not stand in the way of Valère and Mariane’s marriage who wish to marry Harpagon’s children. Le sieur Anselme knows le sieur Harpagon.

Le Ciel, mes enfants, ne me redonne point à vous, pour être contraire à vos vœux. Seigneur Harpagon, vous jugez bien que le choix d’une jeune personne tombera sur le fils plutôt que sur le père. Allons, ne vous faites point dire ce qu’il n’est point nécessaire d’entendre, et consentez ainsi que moi à ce double hyménée. (V. v)

[Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father. Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and consent, as I do, to this double marriage.] [V. 5] [eBook #6923]


Molière’s L’Avare has an intrigue which resembles the intrigue of most comedies. A young couple wishes to marry, but a blocking character, or alazṓnprevents their marriage. However, Molière has doubled the young couple who are a brother and sister wishing to marry a brother and a sister, so Molière has therefore doubled the father figure which happens during the anagnorisis. As Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, Anselme is the eirôn who allows the young couples to marry.

The anagnorisis, the recognition scene, does not take place unannounced. As mentioned earlier, as he despairs,Valère tells Élise that he hopes to find his father who may still be alive. Act one (I. i) [I. 1] has prepared the reader or spectator:

Mais enfin, si je puis comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. (Valère à Élise, I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us.] [I. 1] [eBook #6923]


Der Geizigue, Harpagon & La Flèche by August Wilhelm Iffland, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In L’Avare, Molière does not use a deus ex machina. He simply introduces a second father figure who will allow the young couples to marry and will pay all costs. L’Avare‘s young couple are in fact very resourceful, but one cannot marry without money. Mariane (Dom Thomas) recoils at wishing Harpagon’s death, feelings that are reciprocated by Cléante (Harpagon).

Mon Dieu, Frosine, c’est une étrange affaire, lorsque pour être heureuse, il faut souhaiter ou attendre le trépas de quelqu’un, et la mort ne suit pas tous les projets que nous faisons. (Mariane à Frosine, III. iv)
[Oh, Frosine! What a strange state of things that, in order to be happy, we must look forward to the death of another. Yet death will not fall in with all the projects we make.] [III. 8] [eBook #6923]

Que veux-tu que j’y fasse ? Voilà où les jeunes gens sont réduits par la maudite avarice des pères ; et on s’étonne après cela que les fils souhaitent qu’ils meurent. (II. i)
[What would you have me do? It is to this that young men are reduced by the accursed avarice of their fathers; and people are astonished after that, that sons long for their death.] [II. 1] [eBook #6923]

When his father falls, accidentally, Cléante is worried:

Qu’est-ce, mon père, vous êtes-vous fait mal ? (III. ix)
[What’s the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?] [III. 14] [eBook #6923]

Critic Northrop Frye states that “[t]he tendency of comedy is to include as many people as possible in its final society: the blocking characters are more often reconciled or converted than simply repudiated.”[3]

As for Harpagon, although he may he has been tyrannical, when Dom Thomas and the young couples leave to bring good news to Dom Thomas’ wife, Harpagon is off to see his dear cassette. His cassette, a casket, his vital to Harpagon.

Et moi, voir ma chère cassette. (I. vi)
[And I to see my dear casket.][1. 6] [eBook #6923]


I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions.[4] Harpagon is a miser and will remain a miser ready to sacrifice his children. It is a sad reflection on humanity but perhaps less sad than the intervention of a deus ex machina. Dom Thomas d’Alburcy is a  major member of the play’s society, the intervention of a second father figure allows the happy ending the play demands. An anagnorisis may not be as dazzling a dénouement as the intervention of a deus ex machina, the prince in Tartuffe and a godlike figure in Dom Juan, but all’s well that ends well. 

Love to everyone



Commedia dell’arte


Sources and Resources

The Miser is a Wikisource eBook (Charles Heron Wall, translator)
The Miser is an Internet Archive publication EN
The Miser is a Project Gutenberg publication [eBook #6923] EN
The Miser, Henri Fielding is an eText EN
L’Avare is a publication FR
Molière21 is a research group
Le Salon littéraire FR
The Miser is a LibriVox text publication (YouTube)
Laughter, Henri Bergson is an Internet Archive publication EN

[1] L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968.
[2] Will  G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 [1949], pp. 69-70.
[3] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1957]), p. 165.
[4] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope, ou la comédie éclatée, » in David Trott & Nicole Boursier, eds. L’Âge du théâtre en France (Edmonton, Alberta: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988 ), 53 – 63. (papers from a conference held in Toronto, May 14 – 16, 1987) ISBN 0-920980-30-9 — PQ527.A33 1988

The Miser


L’Avare by Jean Degrassi, 1955 (

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2016

Remembrance: Anamnèse


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William Blake’s Newton (1795), depicting him as a divine geometer. Image Credit: William Blake Archive/Wikipedia (

No, you have not been forgotten. You are precious to me. I have been occupied and preoccupied. So, I do not have an article ready, but I would like to mention the concept of anamnesis, anamnèse, in connection with the Bibles moralisées. I will, however, exclude the word moralisées. I do not have a facsimile of one of these Bibles, which means I have not read them.

Anamnèse is a term used in medicine primarily. A doctor researches a patient’s history to make a correct diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment.

However, an anamnèse may occur elsewhere. In Catholic liturgy, it refers to a prayer which, in the Mass, follows the Consecration and evokes the Redemption (une “[p]rière qui, dans la messe, suit la consécration et rappelle le souvenir de la Rédemption). This prayer is relatively recent. I could not find it in my ageing missal (See Anamnèse, and Parts of the Mass.)

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus was incarnated: « le Verbe s’est fait chair » (John 1:14). God the Son, of the Holy Trinity, a mystery, was made flesh. He is the Word, la parole, or logos, but He is God the Son and incarnated. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree and were driven out of Paradise. They were redeemed. That is the Biblical account and it is also John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Catholics added an anamnèse to the Mass, referring to the Redemption.

Jesus was born to Mary in a humble crêche where He was visited, first, by the shepherds and, later, by the Kings of Orient. He was crucified and died, but he was resurrected and remains the Redeemer. For many Christians, although Jesus is invisible, He is still among us. Christians pray to him and they pray to his mother, Mary. The Virgin Mary is viewed as a kind woman who may speak to her son Jesus and ask Him to help us in times of grief, such as pandemics, wars, or social upheavals.

I asked theologians if Jesus had left a message. Jesus Himself did not. He did not write a text. Jesus’s disciples told his parables and that He taught unconditional love. But the Sermon on the Mount was told by his disciples, Matthew to be precise. Moreover, Jesus did not found a Church. Christianity was founded by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (CE 306–337).

Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine (centre), accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for our thirteenth-century Gods, they may have satisfied the medieval mind and my rather childlike mind. Not only does God use the compass, which has yet to be invented, but he also looks like the human beings he is creating. He created us in his image. This history called for other accounts of Creation, such as the Big Bang (le Grand Boum). But the Bible, the Quran, Epics, Mythologies, Sacred Texts, and the disputed Totemism are anamnèses that explain the human condition somewhat naïvely at times but also ineffably. These provide proof that we need to know where we come from and that we wish to ennoble ourselves.

So, there was a great deluge, but Noah’s Ark saved humanity and its animals. Jonah, a prophet, was inside a whale that protected him. Moreover, although there was no compass before man[1] was created, humans themselves have created extraordinary machines. Man has travelled to the moon and man has created works of art, works of literature and music we call divine. We cannot create an autonomous human being, but we have been creators.

There is a measure of godliness among mortals.[2]

[1] Man includes women.
[2] This discussion is to be continued.

Love to everyone 💕

Micheline Walker
5 March 2021

On the Bibles Moralisées


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Die Schöpfung from Europe a Prophecy, by William Blake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Pierre Séguier owned the French collection (Paris) of the Oxford-Paris-Londres Bible. Pierre Séguier was one of a handful of individuals who ruled France in the seventeenth century. He purchased the Paris selection of the Bible moralisée. However, he also conducted the trial of Nicolas Fouquet, France’s Superintendant of Finances (1653- 1661). (See RELATED ARTICLES.)

A Portrait of Pierre Séguier, Chancellor of France, by Charles Le Brun, 1655 (Photo credit: Larousse)

In the same post, I described our four Bibles as paradox literature. That paragraph is no longer part of my post. I may have erased it mistakenly or it may have been removed. It could wait. Paradox literature is defined as follows:

In literature, the paradox is an anomalous juxtaposition of incongruous ideas for the sake of striking exposition or unexpected insight. It functions as a method of literary composition and analysis that involves examining apparently contradictory statements and drawing conclusions either to reconcile them or to explain their presence.

(See Paradox in literature, Wikipedia) [1]

Yes, there is a paradox. God used an instrument that man would create: the compass. The artists who illuminated the Creation depicted tools that would make sense to their contemporaries, not to mention the artists themselves. In fact, these examples showed that man was creative. God Himself had to be recognizable. The four depictions of God we have seen could be understood by the humblest among us. Northrop Frye writes that:

Present things are related to past things in such a way that cognition becomes the same thing as re-cognition, awareness that a present effect is a past cause in another form.

Northrop Frye [2]

So, we have created myths, stories (mythoi) of causality.


[1] Rescher, Nicholas. Paradoxes:Their Roots, Range, and Resolution. Open Court: Chicago, 2001.
[2] Northrop Frye, Creation and Recreation (University of Toronto Press, 1980), p. 59.

Love to everyone 💕

Haydn: Die Schöpfung Hob. XXI:2 / Erster Teil – 1A. Einleitung: “Die Vorstellung des Chaos”

© Micheline Walker
1st March 2021

Bibles moralisées: 13th-century France


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Our four Bibles are the following:

1. Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (Vienna)
Only one of the Bibles moralisées listed above shows God working. It is Codex Vindobonensis 2554. The illumination we saw shows God in the process of creating the world. Each folio has a recto-verso arrangement. In other words, when opening the Bible, one sees the Old Testament (Ancien Testament) on one side and the New Testament (Nouveau Testament) on the other side. All represent the Book of Genesis.
God or Christ is represented on f 1v.
« Ici crie Dex ciel et terre, soleil et lune et toz elemenz ».
He God created heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, and all the elements.
It was made in France in approximately 1215 – 1230.
The text is in Old French, not Latin.
It contains 246 folios (bound)
Illuminations measure 34.4 x 26 cm (h & w) (haut & large)
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

Dieu, architecte de l’univers, f 1v 2554 (Vienna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (1)
Dieu, architecte de l’univers, f 1v (Vienna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Codex Vindobonensis 1179
Codex Vindobonensis 1179 is also housed in Vienna. Scenes are represented on both sides of the book and represent the Old Testament, on one side, and the New Testament on the other side. Images represent the Book of Genesis.
God or Christ is represented on f 1v.
It was made in France in approximately 1225
It contains 130 folios (bound).
It is the smallest of our four Bibles.
Illuminations measure 43 x 29.5 (h & w) (haut & large)
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

The St. Louis Bible – The Pantocrator, God the Son, as the Creator of the universe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (3)

3. The Bible of St Louis or the Toledo/Pierpont Morgan Library de New York, M. 240.
Under the illumination depicting God, we La Bible de Saint Louis – Christ en tant que Créateur de l’Univers (The St. Louis Bible – The Pantocrator, God the Son, Creator of the universe).
Images represent Genesis.
God the Son is represented on f 1v.
It was made in France between 1220-1230 or 1240.
It contains 224+222+31+153 parchment folios bound in four volumes.
Illuminations measure 34,4 × 26 cm (h & w) (haut & large).
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

4. Bible moralisée Oxford-Paris-Londres  
Under the illuminated portrayal of God, one reads Christ en gloire. Le frontispice du volume d’Oxford.
It is a copy of the Toledo/Pierpoint Bible moralisée or the St Louis Bible.
It is classified as Bodl. 270b, Lat. 11580, Harley 1526-1527
It was made in France between 1230 and 1240
Illuminations measure 40 × 27,5 cm (h & w) or (haut & large)
The volumes belonged to John Thwayte in the 16th century and later to Sir Christopher Heydon (1561-1623). Sir Christopher Heydon gave the folios to the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Its French owner was Pierre Séguier, who bequeathed his illuminations it to his grandson Armand du Cambout. The folios were then housed in the abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Since the French Revolution, the French folios have been kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Oxford has folios from the Book of Genesis up to the Book of Job, which constitutes 1728 miniatures in medallions. The Bibliothèque nationale de France is home to 1776 miniatures, from the Book of Job and the Book of Malachi. The British Library houses 1408 folios from the Books of Maccabees and the New Testament.
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.


The Bible of Toledo/Pierpoint is considered the superior Bible. However, unlike the Vienna Bibles, it shows God the son as Creator of the Universe. It, therefore, reflects the dogma of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Vienna Bibles show God, the architect. In this respect, Vienna Bible Ms 2554, God seems to be at work. This depiction of working is often shown. It may seem literal and naïve, but it is convincing. In Ms 1179, God’s face resembles the face portrayed in Ms 2554. F 1v of the Toledo and Oxford manuscript depict a Christ en gloire, a Majestic God Who nevertheless holds a compass and a world resembling the world of related depictions. It is clearly stated that Christ, as One in three Gods, has created the world.


Blanche de Castille ordered Bibles 1779, 2554 for her husband, but Louis VIII the Lion, born on 5 September 1187, died on 8 November 1226. He reigned for less than four years. The Bible of St. Louis/ToledoMorgan were bought for Louis IX, France. The Oxford-Paris-British Library Bible was ordered for Marguerite de Provence, Louis IX’s wife.


God the Architect (19 February 2021)
The Bible of Saint Louis, Toledo (22 February 2021)

Sources and Resources

Wikipedia, Britannica, Facsimiles of the Bibles

List of the Bibles Moralisées

  • Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis 1179 (1220-1226)
  • Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (1220-1230)
  • Oxford-Paris-London (ca. 1233)
    • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Bodley 270b
    • Paris, BnF, Ms. Latin 11560
    • London, British Library, Harley Ms. 1526-1527
  • Toledo-Morgan (ca. 1233)
    • Toledo, Cathedral of Toledo, Bible moralisée (Biblia de San Luis), 3 volumes
    • New York, Morgan Library and Museum, M. 240 (fragment)

(See Bible of St Louis, Wikipedia)

The Bible of St Louis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
27 February 2021

A Forthcoming Post


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Christ the Pantocrator in the Bible moralisée Oxford-Paris-Londres

Aove is a fourth God pancreator. vI have been researching our Bibles moralisées. But my work isn’t finished. Blanche de Castile ordered ob. The Vienna manuscript and the Bible of Saint Louis. It may be allow of them.There have been interruptions. Hence my being a little late with my posts. I sense a will to control my life. This I cannot allow. Ageing is not easy. I do not want to land in a nursing home. I’ll be back shortly. The Oxford-Paris-London bible is considered a close rival to the Bible of Saint Louis, housed in Toledo and New York.

Christ the Pantocrator

© Micheline Walker
25 February 2021

A Strange Experience …


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A 1st-century fresco painting from Pompeii, Italy, depicting the poet Sappho holding a stylus. Photograph: Mimmo Jodice/Corbis (The Guardian)

Most of yesterday’s post was written online. It was quite the adventure. It was published before I had finished writing it. I had a copy in Word, but it was not complete. Moreover, I am not the only person writing my posts. Parts of my posts can be and have been removed by someone else.  

Yesterday’s post lacks a formal conclusion, but it is fine as it is. Missing from the post is the name of a Danish scholar and a link to his publication: a booklet.

This morning I added links. One needs a link to Blanche de Castile and Louis IX.

We know that four Bibles moralisées were realized in France in the 13th century and that they constitute paradox literature. You may have noticed the feet of our depiction of Gods. They are nicely depicted if the side of a foot is drawn, but not if the front of the feet is depicted. Dimensionality had not been fully explored when our Bibles were illuminated and it remains somewhat problematical.

On a more personal but interesting note, I would like to tell you that I have recovered from myalgic encephalomyelitis after 44 difficult years. The problem started when I caught a virus in 1976, but ME was not diagnosed until 1991, after I underwent a SPECT scan at Mount Sinaï hospital in Toronto. I was told that my brain was damaged and that I could no longer lead a normal life. I chose to remain intellectually active as a university teacher.

ME disappeared quietly during the last eighteen months to two years. I cannot tell how it went away, but I can tell when my life started to change. It did after a strange three-month flu and voice extinction that triggered advanced emphysema. I had never smoked, not even one cigarette, and I am feeling quite well.  

I apologize for rebuilding my post online. It took a long time because older versions would eliminate changes. Life can be strange.

Loreena McKennit sings Greensleeves by Henri VIII
Sappho (1877) by Charles Mengin (1853–1933). One tradition claims that Sappho committed suicide by jumping off the Leucadian cliff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
23 February 2021

The Bible of Saint Louis, Toledo


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fr_BSL_XI_10.indd ( (PDF)

Four Bibles

The Bible of Saint Louis is housed in Toledo, Spain and the Pierpoint Library (Ms M 204) in New York. It was commissioned by Blanche de Castile, who had it made for her son, Louis IX, King of France (1214-1270). It is one of four Bibles moralisées made in France in the thirteenth century and is considered the superior Bible. The Oxford-Paris-Londres Bible would also be a finer illuminated Bible than the Codex Vindobonensis 1179 et 2554. As listed above, our four Bibles are the Bible of Saint Louis, the Oxford-Paris-Londres Bible and two Bibles housed in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. These are the Codex Vindobonensis (1179 and 2554.) The Codex Vindobonensis 1179 (246 folios) is a larger Bible than the Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (129 folios). The Codex Vindobonensis 1179 is written in Latin but the Codex Vindobonensis 2554 is written in French. La Bible de saint Louis was made in Paris.

Ici crie Dex ciel et terre, soleil et lune et toz elemenz
Here God creates heaven and earth, the sun and moon and all the elements.

Blanche de Castile
Saint Louis

Allegories and Paradox Literature

However, all four Bibles show an anachronistic and allegorical God.

Northrop Frye discussed what he termed a “continuum of allegory”, a spectrum that ranges from what he termed the “naive allegory” of the likes of The Faerie Queene, to the more private allegories of modern paradox literature.

Allegory, Wikipedia

As I wrote on 19 February, the image I showed awakes in me a feeling I cannot describe adequately, but this discrepancy has a name: paradox literature. The name does not make a God using a compass less mysterious. However, it lifts a veil on the mine of our Medieval ancestors.

In literature, the paradox is an anomalous juxtaposition of incongruous ideas for the sake of striking exposition or unexpected insight. It functions as a method of literary composition and analysis that involves examining apparently contradictory statements and drawing conclusions either to reconcile them or to explain their presence.[1]

Paradox (literature) Wikipedia

Bibles are creation myths one looks upon as true or less true, depending on cultural factors.


Sources and Resources

Sainte Église Cathédrale Primatiale, Tolède.
Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
John Pierpont Morgan — Wikipédia (
Date: XIIIe siècle.
Format : ± 420 x 320 mm.
Trois volumes, 1 230 pages (fac simile).
4 887 scènes historiées enluminées de la Bible.
Édition unique et limitée à 987 exemplaires numérotés et certifiés par notaire.
2 volumes commentaire en couleur
(Vol. I 511 pages; Vol. II 496 pages)
The Great Architect of the Universe (2554)

Love to everyone 💕

[1]  Rescher, Nicholas. Paradoxes:Their Roots, Range, and Resolution. Open Court: Chicago, 2001.

Bible moralisée de Vienne (Ms 1179)

© Micheline Walker
22 February 2021

God the Architect


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God the Geometer
Ici crie Dex ciel et terre, soleil et lune et toz elemenz

Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. Since God created the universe after geometric and harmonic principles, to seek these principles was therefore to seek and worship God.

Great Architect of the Universe – Wikipedia

We are looking at an enluminure from an illuminated Bible manuscript. God the Geometer is from a Bible moralisée made in 13th-century France (1250). God is viewed as a geometer. Yet, geometers could not have existed before God created the world. So, ironically, God is borrowing an instrument that men will create after He has created “heaven and earth, the sun and the moon and all the elements.” Moreover, the instrument reminds me of the Masonic Square and Compasses. (See Great Architect of the Universe, and Freemasonry, Wikipedia)

Discrepancies such as using what has not been created, knowing events before they happen, Jesus redeeming Mary before He was born, awake in me feelings I cannot describe adequately: the ineffable infinity.

This Bible Moralisée reminds me of The Bible of St Louis (13th c., Paris) – V. English – The Bible of St Louis (13th c., Paris) – V. English – – YouTube

Sources and Resources
God the Geometer (Wikimedia)
The Bible of St Louis (13th c., Paris) – V. English – – YouTube
Great Architect of the Universe – Wikipedia
Freemasonry, Wikipedia
Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (French, ca. 1250)
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
Galerie des Enluminures

Love to everyone 💕

William Blake God (Fine Art America)

© Micheline Walker
19 February 2021

October 1837


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Discours de Louis-Joseph Papineau à Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, en 1837 (fr.Wikipedia)


The post I published on 16 February 2021 was shortened. Therefore, the title of the song Les Voix du Nord performed was not explained. Moreover, we were not in a studio listening to the recording of a song. We could not hear the words clearly, which was unfortunate.

The song is entitled October 1837. It does not tell a story, but it refers to historical events. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 are its main event. In 1837-1838, the citizens of Upper Canada and Lower Canada rebelled against the Crown. Their leaders were William Lyon Mackenzie, in Upper Canada, and Louis-Joseph Papineau, a Seigneur, in Lower Canada. I suspect that French-speaking Canadians being a conquered people, the dynamics of the Rebellions were not the same in both Canadas. The Rebellion was more serious in the largely Francophone Lower Canada than in Anglophone Upper Canada. More patriotes than patriots were hanged or deported to penal colonies. Both leaders fled their respective Canada. The song that expresses the profound grief of exiled patriotes is Antoine Gérin-Lajoie‘s Un Canadien errant.

With the help of American volunteers, a second rebellion was launched in November 1838, but it too was poorly organized and quickly put down, followed by further looting and devastation in the countryside. The two uprisings [in Lower Canada] left 325 people dead, all of them rebels except for 27 British soldiers. Nearly 100 rebels were also captured. After the second uprising failed, Papineau departed the US for exile in Paris.

Britannica [1]

However, both Canadas wanted a more responsible government, or more self-rule, which was achieved in 1848. No sooner were the two Canadas united by virtue of the Act of Union, proclaimed on 10 February 1841, than its Prime Ministers, Robert Baldwyn and Sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, designed a government that could accommodate English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians. In 1848, a United Canada was granted a responsible government and, contrary to Lord Durham‘s recommendations, French continued to be spoken in the Assembly and in Canada. Lord Durham investigated the Rebellions.

Upper Canada and Lower Canada (fr.Wikipedia)

Le Grand Dérangement

But one can also hear the words, le grand dérangement, the great upheaval. The great upheaval is usually associated with the deportation of Acadians beginning in 1755. Families were not exiled together, except accidentally. Members of the same family were separated and put aboard ships that sailed in various directions, including England. In 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published Évangéline, a Tale of Acadie, commemorating the deportation of Acadians. There may not have been an Évangéline, except Longfellow’s character, but there were Évangélines, betrothed women who were separated from their future husband, or vice versa. For Acadians, Évangéline is real, un réel absolu.

Some ships transporting Acadians away from their home sailed down the coast of Britain’s Thirteen Colonies, but Acadians were not allowed to disembark until they reached Georgia. They were Catholics. One could theorize, as I have, that they socialized with the Blacks before walking to Louisiana. Joel Chandler HarrisThe Tales of Uncle Remus may have introduced Reynard the Fox to North America, but the inhabitants of New Orléans may have known Le Roman de Renart or the Sick-Lion Tale, a fable told by Jean de La Fontaine and his predecessors. Several Acadians are today’s Cajuns, a contraction of Acadians, and live in Louisiana.

The October Crisis, 1970

October 1838 also refers to the October Crisis of 1970 when members of the Front de libération du Québec, the FLQ,  kidnapped British diplomat James Cross, on 5 October 1970, and Pierre Laporte on 10 October 1970. Pierre Laporte was Deputy Premier of Quebec. Then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau declared the War Measures Act, on 15 October. The deployment of the Armed Forces was criticized by civil libertarians. Civil liberties had been suspended. On 17 October, Pierre Laporte was executed,but James Cross was not harmed. He was detained for 59 days by the Front de libération du Québec (the FLQ). The FLQ ceased to be active after the October Crisis.

Sadly, James Cross died of Covid-19 on 6 January 2021. He was 99. My condolences to his family and friends.



On 16 February, we heard an accomplished fiddler, but the song told a very long story.

[1] Foot, Richard and Buckner, P.A.. “Rebellions of 1837”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 Sep. 2016, Accessed 17 February 2021.

Love to everyone 💕

Le Vieux de ’37, gouache sur papier, peinte par Henri Julien en 1904

© Micheline Walker
17 February 2021
revised 17 February 2021

Le Vent du Nord: Celtic Roots


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Le Vent du Nord performs Octobre 1837, recorded by the BBC

Quebec Music’s Celtic Roots

I enjoyed listening to C’est dans Paris … The melody is so soothing. I do not think that album or CD is on the market at this point. It was recorded in December 2020, during the Covid-19’s pandemics. Moreover, C’est dans Paris is French folklore. The very last sentence of the song, C’est dans Paris … reads as follows

 C’est pas l’affaire d’une servante … de se farder.
 [It is not a servant’s business to wear makeup.]

Equal Temperament

However, three of the musicians I featured in my was post were in Britain in 2015 performing Celtic music. This time, the ensemble has a fiddler, a violoneux, or violinist/fiddler. Certain performers play with different ensembles. You will notice that at the very beginning of the group’s performance, the violineux/fiddler plays consecutive notes that span less than a semitone. Using a string instrument, such as the violin, and certain wind instruments, a musician is at liberty to play two consecutive notes spanning less than a semitone. On a piano, one plays a semitone by moving from C (white on a piano) to C sharp (the next black key). There are smaller units than the semitone, but a piano cannot produce these smaller units. Were it not for the development of equal temperament, an arbitrary division of the scale into semitones, instruments could not play together. When I was a student of music, the European music theorist who developed equal temperament was Vincenzo Galilei, Galileo Galilei’s father. More research has led to new findings.

Celtic Music

The piece we are hearing today is Celtic music, or it has been influenced by Celtic music. Our fiddler is sitting on a chair and uses podorythmie. Podorythmie is not step dancing. Our fiddler is emphasizing the rythmic pattern of the piece the group is interpreting. Until research proves underwise, podorythmie originates in Quebec and Acadie. As for step dancing, it occurs in many cultures, including Quebec. Podorythmie is a technique that was not used when I was a child in Quebec. Its use or revival dates back to the 1970s. As well, in the Quebec of my childhood, before 1960, there were fiddlers, but the piano was the instrument of choice. We have heard Jean Carignan, an accomplished fiddler, perhaps the best ever, play with the legendary Jehudi Menuhin. They played a piece composed by André Gagnon who died in December.

Le Vent du Nord

Many of Quebec’s Irish population came to North America at the time of the potato famine. My great-grandmother was Irish. These immigrants were very poor, as were many French Canadians. The McGarrigle sisters also had ancestors who moved to Quebec in order to eat. Owners evicted tenants who could not pay the rent.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-vdn-trans-header-200px.png


© Micheline Walker
16 February 2021

C’est dans Paris …


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Les Voix du Vent perform C’est dans Paris

I have been looking for French Canadian folklore and traditional music. These sites do not appear immediately. Moreover, I was far from Quebec for forty years and I had been trained to be a concert pianist, which means I was learning Bach’s Preludes and Fugues. There was very little time left for learning folklore and I wasn’t hearing any music from Quebec on the radio. In 1960, the French-language CBC, Radio-Canada or Ici Radio Canada, had yet to reach the West coast.

Les Voix du Vent are also known as Le Vent du Nord. Le Vent du Nord plays Celtic music. However, I am featuring a French song that tells a story.

The Story

The story is about a servant girl who wanted to be as beautiful as her mistress (as in master). She went to the pharmacist, l’apothicaire, to purchase makeup, du fard. He prepared a powder and told her not to look at herself in a mirror after applying the fard. The next day, le lendemain, she met her cavalier, a boyfriend, or a man she wished to attract. He told her that her face was black, black as a chimney. She was barbouillée (smeared). She returned to the apothecary who explained that he sold her coal. Servants should not try to look like their mistress.


Les Voix du Nord
Tom Thomson's Pine Island
Tom Thomson, Pine Island (National Art Gallery of Canada)

© Micheline Walker
14 February 2021