“I Have But One Passion…

 

to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity…”

-Emile Zola

As a young woman, I devoured the books by French novelist, Emile Zola…they were soap operas; they took on the plight of the poor, the disenfranchised, women, anti-semitism… Today, in 1898, “In France, Emile Zola is imprisoned for writing his “J’accuse” letter accusing government of anti-Semitism & wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfushistoryorb.com Currently, there is a new movie out starring Jessica Lange based on Zola’s novel, Therese Raquin, titled, In Secret.  Zola fled to England and was not jailed and all charges against Dreyfus were found to be false.

Today, the brilliant educator, professor, activist, philosopher, W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. If you haven’t read his full length biography by David Lewis (just to name one), do so. Du Bois lived a very full life filled with many accomplishments.

Our Day Will Come,”  a beautiful song sung by Ruby and the Romantics entered the charts today in 1963 when I was 10 years old. Oh how I loved to sing that song and Ruby’s voice?   Silky smooth!!!!

Our Day Will Come means so many different things to so many different people. To Zola it meant the end of anti-semitism; to W.E.B. Du Bois, it meant equality among all people; to Ruby and the Romantics, it meant maybe one day getting the royalties they deserved from their huge hit.

 

 

 

“All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.”-Honore de Balzac

I never knew much about Honore de Balzac; knew I liked many of his quotes, read some of his writings, but that’s about it. I was fascinated by his life as I read about him this morning for this post. How sad it was to learn that when he finally found someone to love, he died 5 months later! I chuckled when I read his quote about lawyers from his novel, Le Notaire (1840): “…a young person in the legal profession sees “the oily wheels of every fortune, the hideous wrangling of heirs over corpses not yet cold, the human heart grappling with the Penal Code.” Relevant today, n’est -ce pas?  Balzac is recognized as one of the founders of a writing style called Realism, which influenced other writers such as Emile Zola. Now, Emile Zola I really know….I used to love reading his novels as a teenager! I admired Zola’s speaking out in defense of Dreyfus in his famous letter, J’Accuse. “Realism is a literary movement that attempts to describe life without idealization or romantic subjectivity. Although realism cannot be precisely timed or limited to any period, it is most often associated with a movement in 19th-century France (approximately 1840-1890).”-writershistory.com

Back to Honore de Balzac who was born today, May 20th in 1799. Balzac’s La Comedie Humaine , “…consists of a hundred short stories and novels written by Balzac during the early 19th century. They are compiled into different sections. The titles of these sections are: Scenes from private life, Scenes from Provincial life, Scenes from Parisian life, Scenes from Political Life, Scenes from military life, scenes from Country Life, and Philosophical Studies. Balzac wrote these stories because he wanted to study and examine every day life via the lives of individuals in different levels of Parisian society.”

More on Richie Havens…Though There Aren’t Enough Words…

Richie Havens…A Brooklyn Boy…A Citizen of the World and like Emile Zola once said: “I am an artist. I am here to live out loud.” Live out loud, Richie certainly did. I am at a loss for words and felt it necessary to do a 2nd posting for Richie. He is of my generation…a big part of my growing up years…a great musical and political inspiration. I was heartened to read some blogs by  much younger people who have discovered Richie Havens. It gives me hope that he will live on and be passed on to future generations. Some of my favorite songs by Richie include: Just Like a Woman, Follow, Handsome Johnny, Freedom, Mixed Bag Album (of course), High Flyin’ Bird, and just so many more.