Each June, I review my blog posts as well as the stats of my blog at http://www.frenchquest.com . There are several reasons for this: 1) WordPress recommends this exercise in order to keep current and relevant in the “blogosphere”; 2) to see which of my blog posts are being frequented and read around the world; and 3) the most important, to revisit my journey through the year of consuming literature, art, and language.
So, what does one write about during a world-wide pandemic? How important is blogging? I love writing blogs. I love sharing information that I have discovered through reading and studying about topics of interest to me and hopefully to my readers. It is similar to studying for a class in college and then meeting with a study group to share your notes to aid in the learning experience. I also love connecting with other bloggers from all over the world who hold the same interests and help me discover new insights and truths about these passions.
Therefore, I decided to stay the course this past year by writing about my passions of English, French and German Literature, including works by Homer, Longfellow, Goethe, Sartre and Verne. Here are some highlights of writing my blogs this year:
- One of the found treasures I referenced for my Longfellowquest is The Poets and Poetry of Europe, a collection of poetry from the rich histories of these European countries. Each chronological section of Europe is introduced by Longfellow with cultural and linguistic history that, in most cases, he observed personally during his travels. Through these blog posts, I examined the origins of the English language from these essays of Longfellow starting with The Runic language of Iceland, the Danish language, Swedish, German, Dutch, and ended my journey with the French language.
- For my Goethequest, I continued with my study of Goethe’s poems on nature, romance, and science, in 2020. Through this study, fortunately, I discovered his brilliant essays on art and literature in which he examines the great architectural works of Europe. This led me to see how his diverse interest and studies in the Arts and Sciences influenced his writings. Two of my favorite essays, the Strasbourg Cathedral and Leonard da Vinci’s Last Supper, gave new insights to these incredible works of art which I have had the privilege to visit in the past years. In examining the works of the architects, Goethe stated, “Consider, too, the genuineness of whatsoever he did ; his hearty, idiomatic way; simplicity with loftiness, and nobleness, and aerial grace”(Goethe Essays on Art and Literature, John Gearey, 1986, Translated by Ellen von and Ernest H. Nardroff).
- In my Vernequest, I came upon Jules Verne’s handwritten manuscript, with his own corrections, of Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) on Gallica BNF website. What a treasure! I immediately began a quest with my downloaded (and printed) copy of Verne’s manuscript to compare with my French edition of Vingt Mille to discover what changes were made from the original text and why were the changes made. For this seasoned reader, I have continued my Vernequest with my French edition Voyages Extraordinaires par Jules Verne: Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers (collection Hetzel) and look forward to comparing it with the 1993 The Definitive Unabridged Edition Based on the Original French Texts!!
- In addition, I published several blogs synthesizing the lectures of an Art History course I am teaching at a Seminary. The purpose of this course is how the Christian view of beauty and truth meets form and content within the arts. This has been my tenet for many years as an aficionado of all Liberal Arts: poetry, architecture, literature, painting, and art history (French, Dutch and German). Experiencing these arts has brought me much joy over the years; especially this past year as I have been recovering from a stroke, due to the Covid virus. I try to spend a few hours each week immersed in one or more activities of: copying a masterful works by the Impressionists; reading prose and poetry from nineteenth century authors such a Longfellow, Verne, Hugo, Melville, Goethe; discovering and translating the traditional languages of past centuries such as Greek, German, Russian and French which have not been available in English; or digging deep into the Scriptures in the original language of Greek to find hidden nuggets of truth. These are my happy places that renew my mind and spirit.
How important is blogging? For me, this year, blogging has been a respite. Writing has kept my brain challenged, my heart inspired and my Quests moving forward.
Finally, one of the great bonuses this year has been the support and responses from my readers in the blogging community. Through this community, I have discovered some very rich literature to complement my studies as well as encouragement to dig deeper into some themes that I have begun to explore: The Writer’s Voice, The Connection between the Reader and the Writer, are my most recent.
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Copyright 2021. May be quoted in part of full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (www.frenchquest.com)