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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning (77 comments)

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  •  What I love about (13+ / 0-)

    "My Last Duchess" is that I can always hear the voice of the narrator in my head.  I taught it for years and heard William F. Buckley or some other lock-jawed Greenwich, CT rich vacuous guy.

    Thanks for the diary.  The poem is truly immortal -- in the sense of lasting to we kill the earth immortal.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:08:17 PM PDT

    •  William F. Buckley has the arrogance & uptightness (8+ / 0-)

      but, in his youth, had more humor and self-awareness than the Duke. I like Yankee/British for it: Cultured, with very sharp teeth.

      "The poem is truly immortal -- in the sense of lasting to we kill the earth immortal." Your own tales are none too shabby. Speaking of Chaucer . . .

      I went to boarding school at The King's School, Canterbury. One hot afternoon we were playing frisbee, barefoot, around a grass square. Where tarmac had recently been laid down. So my feet soon had blackened soles.

      The bell went, for afternoon lessons. Soon, the place was deserted. I set off, in full school uniform, but barefoot, for the carpentry shop (for turpentine). Walking around the huge central green court, the headmaster appeared, coming my way. I knew enough to continue forward, calmly.

      As our paths crossed, the headmaster looked down at my bare and blackened feet. Then he said, "Going on a pilgrimage, are we?"

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 08:27:49 PM PDT

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    •  Do you know who I hear? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest, gchaucer2, poco, Emmet

      Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the Tudors. I'm not sure this is much better than someone fusty. But he sure has the right crazy-eyes for the narrative voice.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:03:02 PM PDT

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    •  Someone told me recently ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, poco, RiveroftheWest

      ... that James Mason did a recording.  Now there's a  perfect voice for this poem!

      I memorized "My Last Duchess" years ago to do as a dramatic monologue and it has remained in my mind, and I can still do the whole thing.  That's a sign of good poetry.  

      The tone of it reminds me of certain Edgar Allan Poe stories -- the ones in which the narrators are so self-absorbed and insistent that they're NOT insane ... that they are oblivious to the fact that they're proving the opposite right in front of you.

      •  Poe is a shrewd comparison: writing at exactly the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        niemann, poco, RiveroftheWest

        same time; similar dark characters (though darker, with more gibbering, in Poe). Most of all, they both found a penetrating precision in their psychology, way ahead of their time; and they both revealed it perfectly, in oblique strokes, woven into their storytelling.

        I don't know much about Browning, but my sense is he peered into the abyss, while Poe lived there.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 09:44:47 AM PDT

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