Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Podcast- Wordsworth!

To answer your first question, it's called a Life Mask.  It was cast by sticking straws up a person's nose so they could breathe through the process and then creating a mold of their face.  All reports are that it was a remarkably unpleasant experience, but it gave future generations the opportunity to see the face of people pre-photography (when I was in Washington D.C. I was able to see Napoleon's life mask, as a traveling museum exhibit and my visit happily coincided.)  This was cast when Wordsworth was in the middle of his long life.  I've heard a rumor that while it was being cast, essayist Charles Lamb was in the room trying to make Wordsworth laugh.  I wonder if this surviving life mask was Take Four or Five or Ten.

Our podcast this week is a reading of William Wordsworth's Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.  It is a longer ode and a meditation on existence.  Wordsworth believed in pre-existence before birth, conception, and all that jazz and therefore believed that children had some wisdom that we forget in later years (if you're anything like me, you're thinking of a certain passage from a famous Louie Armstrong song now.)  I'll admit that the reason I've chosen this piece is that I've been struggling with this very thing.  I've been thinking heavily of late on the topic of my past splendid view of life being beaten by experience into a pragmatic cynicism.  How to recapture that ecstatic delight in existence?  Wordsworth may offer up a few thoughts on the topic, perhaps a personal conclusion one might find helpful.

As usual, you can listen to it here:

Or, you can go download it for yourself here:

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