I have yet to recover from pericarditis. It was diagnosed on 4 October 2021. Other problems were diagnosed later: an inflammation of the rib cage muscles and broken ribs. However, the initial diagnosis remains valid. It is pericarditis, and it is harrowing. I have undergone several tests, but I cannot say that I have been treated. Life in Magog is better than life in Sherbrooke. I have a friend who looks after me and is good company. If I can use my left arm – I am left-handed – we sit at the dining table and work at our computers. I can barely use my left hand. I am now in Sherbrooke looking after domestic matters. The co-owners of this building were told to get rid of their thirty-year-old whirlpool tubs because they could leak. I was not prepared for this.
Life goes on despite the pain. Canada is spending billions on its healthcare programme. I could choose my doctor in Canadian provinces other than Quebec, but one is lucky to have a doctor in Quebec. It could be that, by now, matters have also changed in the rest of Canada. At any rate, some people are going to private doctors. It may be my only recourse, which should not be the case.
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.
Pierre Louÿs(Dec. 10, 1870, Ghent, Belgium – June 4, 1925, Paris, France), was a “French novelist and poet whose merit and limitation were to express pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection.”[i]
In 1894, Louÿs, who was born Pierre Louis, published Les Chansons de Bilitis(1894), prose poems about Sapphic love. According to Wikipedia, The Songs of Bilitis were written by a woman of Ancient Greece called Bilitis, a courtesan and contemporary of Sappho. As for Sappho, who could be Bilitis, she was an ancient Greek poet, a woman, born on the Island of Lesbos between 630 and 612. She was very gifted as a poet and was, therefore, included among the Nine Lyric Poets. Pierre Louÿs translated the mostly lost Sapphic, i. e. lesbian poems of Bilitis or, possibly, Sappho. So it would appear he invented many of them, showing talent, “stylistic perfection,” and providing himself and his readers with an opportunity to indulge in both exoticism and eroticism.
Exoticism and eroticism are very effective marketing tools, which may have motivated Louÿs to “fill in the blanks.” As we know, many of the “Bilitis” or Sappho’s poems, were Louÿs own poems. He was therefore able to deceive many readers, which is quite an accomplishment on Louÿs part, but somewhat humiliating for those readers who thought they were reading what my students would call “the real thing.” Given the artful eroticism that pervades “Les Chansons de Bilitis,” let us be a little forgiving with respect to those who were deceived. According to Britannica, Louÿs’s finest achievement isLa Femme et le pantin (1898; Woman and Puppet), which is set in Spain. More exoticism!
Sapho: the seventeenth-century France
In seventeenth-century France, the famous salonnière (from Salon) and late précieuseMadeleine de Scudéry (15 November 1607 – 2 June 1701) nicknamed herself Sapho. Madeleine de Scudéry isthe author of Le Grand CyrusorArtamène, arguably the longest novel ever written. She is also the main cartographer of the Map of Tendre, a map of love included in Le Grand Cyrus. Madeleine de Scudéry was Georges de Scudéry‘s younger sister. So the memory of Sappho linguered in the mind of erudite salonnières. Not to mention that the Greek Sappho wrote love poems. But did they know that Shappic love was lesbian love?
The Daughters of Bilitist
The Daughters of Bilitist[iii] is a gay rights movement, active since the middle of the twentieth century. We have little information on Bilitist, who wrote in the manner of Sappho, but we know Sappho was born in Lesbos and, although she is purported to have given birth to a daughter, Leïs, Sappho’s mother’ name, even Ancient Greeks doubted Sappho’s heterosexuality. She may of course have been a lesbian, but this mattered little to the citizens of Ancient Greece. She may also have had an affair with Thracian courtesan Rhodopis, which is fascinating as Rhodopis would be Cinderella. This, however, I must investigate. I must also investigate the reason why Sappho was exiled to Sicily? It would have been a short exile as she lived in Lesbos for most of her life. She probably died around 570 BC.
Sappho as a Poet
Sappho was an extremely talented poet, one of the Nine Lyric Poets, not a trivial achievement. However, most of her poetry has been lost. What is left is mostly fragments. Moreover, Sappho wrote in Aeolian Greek, a lesser–known Ancient Greek dialect of which there were several. She therefore had fewer readers.
George Barbier illustrated Pierre Louÿs’ Chansons de Bilitis and did so discretely and tastefully. I have therefore included a video or his illustrations, hence the above information.